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Lauren Santos


Two Firsts: AirBnB & Sleeping in the Car


It’s been a minute since we last traveled.

In the silence since our last post, we’ve slowly built a lifestyle that will more readily pay for travel. Namely, we now produce video and occasionally write for a Southern startup news organization. And we launched a hoodie business that donates to help children around the world study abroad. These professional moves brought us the following travel story:

Our Monday morning began with a request to suddenly be in Charleston, SC, that night – 2 days ahead of schedule. With very little time to plan, we looked at the cheapest potential housing: AirBnb. The first one we tried declined our request, with acceptable reason. We were asking to stay in their space with only a few hours’ notice. Our second try, a guy even cheaper, accepted our request.

When we say cheap, we mean next to half less than most of the other listings. From this price, we expected a very casual experience. Our host, instead, all but embodied the classic bed and breakfast personality. Warm, caring, thorough, organized to the extreme – he seemed to breathe the role of perfect host. Host was a quiet man in his 50s, who programmed computers before we were born, volunteered with Make a Wish and Habitat for Humanity, and found pleasure in giving to people. At night, he sat with us and listened to our idealisms, our past, and spoke of his own. It was an especial joy to see his old manuals, a used role of punched tape, and his Radio Shack TRS-80.

Both mornings, he baked for us cinnamon rolls and biscuits with jam. On our first morning, we had the pleasure of company from the other guest couple who hailed all the way from Valencia, Spain. Their travels of the U.S. put both of ours combined to shame. With a month and a half of vacation, they had landed in Los Angeles, traveled to the major spots of California, made their way by train and Uber down the southern borders, and were bound next for Boston. They passed along recommendations for where to travel in their country (Barcelona most of all), and when they asked for our U.S. travel recommendations we fell dismally short of experience.

On that Monday, before we were bogarted, the plan was to spend our one Wednesday night in Charleston using Couchsurfing. But it wasn’t till the morning of that we applied. Throughout the day, each of the several hosts declined us. So we instead had the pleasure of spending the night in the car – something we both had done proficiently separately but never before together.

It was not comfortable.

We both found sleep very quickly in a parking lot in Hampton Park. However, it was only an hour before a friendly policeman tapped on the window and told us to move on. From there, we went from a closed and buggy KOA to a couple of parking lots, trying to find a private enough place to rest. One of us (the very pregnant Mohawk) did not rest easily, and so decided to drive to the Isle of Palms and get lost till 4 in the morning.

It was in the public parking lot bordering the beach that both of us slept again, with salt water air blowing through the open front windows. There was a comfort in the location, as both of us thoroughly love sleeping on beaches. In the same parking lot were also two other cars with sleeping people inside, so the spot felt safe to rest in publicly. We woke at dawn, admittedly bedraggled, but as fresh as one can be from a few-hour nap in the car.

The 4 days spent in Charleston was a mixture of hurrying, excitement, discomfort, sweat, and solidly good experiences. And we’re thankful for our two firsts shared together, in the home of the best host on AirBnB and in the car on the beach.


Afro and Mohawk