My first Airbnb experience. Helen, Georgia, the alpine town in the mountains tucked in the northern part of the state. It’s some 90-miles from Atlanta and well worth the drive to escape to a world outside of the U.S. I’m not sure who created the idea of this German-inspired town but boy did they do it right. It is a true escape from life in the city. All you need is Hansel & Gretel to walk out in costume; it’s that’s authentic.
Pretty distracted by my day to day hustle, I knew it was time to make the sacrifice and go away. I was in search of somewhere quiet and outdoorsy to copyedit and write. I had been romancing Airbnb for quite some time. Either the price or availability was always off. And at a last minute chance, I took the risk and booked one night in Helen in a trolley caboose. I really didn’t have a clue what I was getting myself into.
Excited about the chance to stay in a tiny house of sorts, I failed to do camping homework. The grounds were a part of a zip line course, tucked behind a winery all owned by the same folks. There was the main house to check-in, with the use of the bathroom and shower. Oh, how I had not completely prepared. My car would stay parked by the main house, but I’d have to hike or rent a golf cart to get to my resting quarters for the night. The manager was kind enough to let me use a golf cart for the evening. It was at least a quarter of a mile away. We’d drive up then down an unpaved road, avoiding puddles every so often and passing bear signs. “There’s the outhouse,” he said. Duh, I thought. Of course, there is an outhouse you’re in the wilderness. We pulled up to the caboose and a gyspy bungalow. The caboose wasn’t isolated at all, and he offered the bungalow that would better suit me. It was cute and perfect for one. We’d ride back to the main house, and I returned to my “hotel”. I worked a bit by a creek, and then it hit me, there is no electricity! I stopped and drove into town to get supplies.
I grabbed a battery operated clock, flashlight, and a lighter for my candle. That’s all I could think of at the moment. I’d have to watch the use of electronics to preserve the charge. I have no idea why I’d assumed there would be electricity. I rushed back from the store parked and hopped on the golf cart before I lost sunlight. My visibility was limited, and I was a bit scared as I passed the “Do not feed the animals” signs, dipping and dodging the puddles I made it back in time to light my candle and set everything up.
I was the only guest on the grounds that night. Adventure is my middle name but for a while that night I wished it wasn’t; I was scared. I had food. Would a bear smell my food and hunt me down in my little bungalow? One could certainly shake it and tip it over. I managed to calm my nerves and relax. I got a bit more work done by candle and flashlight. And then it started to rain. Well, at least a bear might not venture off to come get me, I thought. I dosed off.
I woke up in the middle of the night freezing. It was a cold night, after all, it was the beginning of March in North Georgia. Temps hadn’t started warming up on a consistent basis. I couldn’t get comfortable. I added layers, but it wasn’t enough. I stayed up the rest of the night. I did have enough battery on my iPad to watch a movie. I’d have to be back in town in the morning so as soon as the alarm went off, I was up and out. I returned to my car frozen with ice.
I have to say that despite freezing temperatures, no heat or electricity, my first Airbnb experience was as adventurous as I am. I was really happy I didn’t invite anyone to weather the storm with me as they might not sign up for a future excursion. I will return to my little gyspy bungalow, prepared and when temperatures are mild. I will also read and ask more questions if necessary before I rent from Airbnb. You never know if you’ll like something unless you try. The next adventure is calling you.