The Art of Sharing
As Airbnb hosts, we are well practiced in sharing our space. Every weekend, we host guests in our guesthouse, which is on our property, near our own house.
When we tell people this, we are inevitably met with the same response. Fear. “You host people who you don’t know? Really?” They wait with baited breath to hear horror stories of horrible guests and damage. That is literally people’s first reaction. Which is interesting. When did we start fearing people? Or rather, when did we stop trusting people?
On the contrary, hosting & sharing our space has been a very rewarding experience for us. It has reinforced the idea that 99.9% of people are inherently just good people. People like you and I. People looking to relax, get away, and enjoy nature.
We have met people we would otherwise never have met. We’ve shared stories, swapped recipes, talked travel, and shared a drink and a laugh around the fire. We have connected over wedding stories, kids, workplaces and pre-COVID travel stories. Sharing our space has led to sharing much more than we imagined.
When we are asked why we choose to share our little piece of paradise, the better question may be - why wouldn’t we? The simple joys of sharing mean we get to give someone an experience they can’t get anywhere else. Because our space is unique to us. As is our hosting. When people enjoy our space, we can see it with new eyes, and learn to appreciate it all over again.
Remember when you were young, and did your stint overseas - whether it was living in London, or roaming through Europe? There was always a mate with a family, or a mate of a mate with a family - and they took you in for Christmas, or another holiday, because you were an Aussie orphan with no family close by? You never forgot that kindness, and that warm hospitality. They welcomed you in, simply because you were away from home, and they could. And 20 years on, you remember how it felt.
And that’s why we do it. We pay homage to the many families who took us in over the years, when we were far from home, and we bring that feeling to our hosting. Luxury accommodation is one thing - but kindness and hospitality is what people remember.
While in India a few years ago, my umbrella, which had been left outside a restaurant along with everyone else’s umbrellas and thongs (it was monsoon season), was missing when I went to leave. My thongs were also missing. Annoyed, I waited, and soon enough, they reappeared. Someone had borrowed them to duck down to the village, and then put them back where they found them. I was perplexed by this. “Oh, yeah, Westerners don’t share.” - was the comment from the locals, remembering that this was the case. This stayed with me. Because they were right. We don’t share.
But alas, times are changing. The sharing economy is here to stay, and we are all learning how to share again. Spaces, accommodation, rides. All up for sharing. And through sharing comes connection. Neighbourhoods. Community. Trust.
It is well and truly the time to rediscover the art of sharing - and the simple joys it brings with it.