Never Normal Newsletter

Home-as-a-Service? Living in Airbnb vs Buying a House for 1 Euro

Airbnb co-founder and CEO, Brian Chesky, tweeted: “Starting today, I’m living on Airbnb. I’ll be staying in a different town or city every couple weeks.”

As longtime readers know, this is something that I started doing in 2012. Since then, I’ve lived in Airbnbs (as well as other short-term rental apartments and the occasional hotel room) in hundreds of cities across 50 countries.

I replied with a video saying as much and it ended up getting ~70k views:


Brian’s tweet comes on the back of another recent announcement that lots of people are now living in Airbnbs.

It’s not hard for me to understand why:

You can live anywhere. Stay as long as you want. Move whenever you want.

For example…

Have you always wanted to experience what it’s like to live in the big city? Rent a place in New York or London for a month and see what it’s like.

Want to share a giant house with five friends? Great! Do that for a month.

Or maybe you need some peace and quiet to write the next great novel? You can book a house in the woods, surrounded by beautiful nature for as long as you need.

Thinking about moving to Austin or Miami? Go stay for a month first and beta test the move before you commit.

Are you a huge fan of skiing or snowboarding? Spend a season living near the slopes. Same goes for surfing and the ocean.

The possibilities are endless.

What’s the Catch?

Most people assume that living like this is probably super expensive and out of their reach, but it doesn’t have to be.

My friend Justin, who became digital nomad last year, keeps telling me — with surprise and delight — that he’s saving money by traveling the world, compared to what his typical expenses were back home.

After nearly 10 years, I’d like to think that I have the process down to a fine art at this point (here’s my guide on How to Find and Book the Perfect Airbnb Apartment as a Digital Nomad), but living in Airbnbs can be challenging.

Especially if you work from home, like I do. Then you have to find a nice place to live and a good workspace too.

I find that the Achilles heel of most Airbnbs is the lack of a comfortable desk and chair for working. Most homes simply weren’t designed for someone to be sitting in front of a computer for hours and hours at a time.

But as Confucius said, “One man’s sore butt, is another man’s business opportunity”

Welcome to Wander

Wander, a new player in the short-term rental industry, aims to address this need by offering high-end homes that are designed with remote work in mind.

Each Wander home includes an ergonomic desk and chair and ultra fast Wi-Fi (500 mpbs – 1 Gbps), as well as all the other tech amenities you might want (4k camera, 38″ monitor, external microphone, etc).

Remote work desk in a Wander home

Wander only has a few homes available so far, and they’re all in the Western U.S., but it’s exciting to see innovation in this space. I expect much more to come…

Remember those €1 Houses?

Back in 2019, I wrote about cities and states in America that are paying people to move there and villages in Italy that are giving away homes for just €1 in an effort to reverse population decline.

Whatever happened with all that?

I came across this interview, published just a few days ago, about the ongoing “One Euro Homes” program in Cammarata, Sicily.

Wouldn’t it be cool to buy one of these houses, take a year or so and remodel it top to bottom into your Italian dream house?

Of course, commitment-wise buying a fixer-upper house in Sicily is just about the exact opposite of living in Airbnbs fulltime.

So why do I mention the both in the same email?

Because a) they’re both unconventional (aka Never Normal) options that most people never even consider, and b) I don’t think there’s one perfect way of living for everyone.

As much as I love the digital nomad lifestyle, I wouldn’t dare tell anyone else that, “they’re doing it wrong” if they don’t want to live the same way.

Instead, for me it’s all about having the freedom to choose. Exploring all the options and finding what works best for you (and knowing that your answer will likely change over time).

Do you want to have more freedom and adventure in your life?

In the next couple of weeks, I’m going to announce an opportunity to work directly with me to find your freedom, so you can travel, try living in different countries, and experiment more. Stay tuned…

Speaking of travel and adventure, I just got back from week away with my family, exploring the Royal Palace at La Granja (the Spanish equivalent of Versailles), Segovia, and the surrounding mountains and pine forests.

That’s all for this week. More soon…

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I write occasional emails to share what I’m thinking, learning, and doing. It’s all related to the idea of breaking free from the “default plan” in life.

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