I’ve had to roll with the punches a little bit more than normal this last week, and YIKES has it been a headache.
Once we got things mellowed out it was fine, but genuinely, the last week has been a whirlwind and a half, and not in any way the kind that we expected.
Since things opened in the UK on the 17th of May, and I was having internet issues at home, Luke and I thought it would be safe to get a few bnbs and go to where the internet was. It happened to line up with my birthday as well, so it was a nice little gift to myself after being in essentially one 3mx3m room for 15 months (but ya know, who’s counting.)
We figured we would get out, get refreshed, stay away from people, and have some nicer views than our back garden.
But oh, oh how we underestimated the changes to the bnb industry during 2020.
Or rather, the changes to individual bnbs themselves.
The First BnB
You see, our first stop was Manchester, so that we didn’t have to do a 5 hour drive in one day. We planned to stay there for a few nights, see one of our friends (who has been religiously Covid testing, and is vaccinated on top of that), and then head up to Newcastle for a week after that.
I booked a bnb with a company I’d used before (they list a ton of their properties on AirBnb, and I LOVE AirBnb) – I had LOVELY stays with them. Absolutely wonderful. Gorgeous properties. But as I told their support team when we arrived…. the property we booked was sub-par. Significantly so.
Luke says the first sign should have been the mound of rubbish out front with the bins, but I held out (pointless) hope until we got inside. There was a radiator leaking into a mug in the living room, none of the promised amenities in the kitchen, and the beds were so awful I contemplated sleeping on the floor. And not only that, but the “high speed fibre optic” internet promised in the listing was not only NOT fibre optic, it was slower than our USUAL internet (which as you all know, is slow as it is.)
So after one night at the nightmare of all nightmare bnbs, we had to move to another location, because I couldn’t work there, the internet was too slow.
I met a lovely AirBnb representative named Elaine, who we laughed with about the whole situation – it wasn’t her fault, and honestly it seemed like the only possible option in my never ending comedy of errors, right? We try to get to where the internet is… and end up moving further away from it.
Thanks to Elaine, we spent our last night in Manchester at a lovely bnb in a college area, with truly lightning fast internet, which allowed me to get a ton done.
Aaaaannnddddd then we were headed up to Newcastle – my favourite city.
In Newcastle though, we encountered an entirely different bnb related problem. The original property I booked, with another provider that I knew personally, was no longer available due to the long-term tenant testing positive for Covid and needing to quarantine when he was supposed to be on holiday freeing the place up for a temporary stay.
So we’re placed in another bnb, and it’s……. again, sub-par. The internet was slower than home, the kitchen was missing a kettle (for shame) among other things, and it just wasn’t somewhere we were willing to stay for our first time out of the house in over a year.
Which meant (you guessed it) we found another property. We spoke with my Newcastle acquaintance who usually sorts my accommodation here, and explained… he sorted out a refund so that we could put our funds toward the next property.
This one, was gorgeous in the listing – so pretty that it made me think twice, since ALL of these properties had been pretty in the listings, and only one of them had panned out so far.
It was booked solid from now until mid August 2021 – a good sign.
Turns out, they’d had a cancellation – for EXACTLY our dates of stay. I snagged it as quickly as I could, and we were off.
And this bnb, after all of the others, is perfect. I can work on the balcony with a view of the Tyne river, we can walk by the river without encountering any other humans, and there’s delivery of everything we need so that we don’t have to worry about going places (since this is, after all, a significantly isolated trip.)
So that’s the story of this past week, where we’ve been, why we didn’t have internet for a stretch, and how things have been since.
But of course, I don’t want to leave you with just that story. Because there are little bits in there that matter.
Most of the bits that matter?
They’re about how we responded.
It would have been thoroughly reasonable for (both of us) to be upset about our accommodation-situation. Upset that the listings for bnbs we were staying at weren’t accurate, and dejected overall that our first stay away from home in however-many-months was not panning out to be the magical getaway we had expected. We could have proverbially rolled over, spent our time being sad, and just not done anything about it.
But fuck that, right?
Fuck spending time being upset about things that you have influence over.
Fuck feeling sorry that things aren’t going the way you expected.
Do I wish I hadn’t spent hours on the phone sorting two additional bnbs for a trip that was only supposed to have two in the first place? Of course.
The Power of Resilience
But if I hadn’t, I would be typing this from a ground floor apartment with no kettle, and constant noise from the road behind it. Not from a balcony with a view of the Tyne river, watching all the little people on the road down below us.
When things get all fucked up, change your PERSPECTIVE, not your EXPECTATIONS. Figure out what can be done, instead of focusing on what can’t. Don’t deal with it – DO something about it.
Spend your work-iday (ya know, like holiday, but work with) in a flat with a view.