It started simple enough.
First I should admit, I am an avid P2P (Peer-to-peer) sharing and general technology fiend. I have been interested lately in the growing P2P sharing economy and how it’s affecting our everyday lives.
We’ll call her Sarah for the sake of privacy. Sarah and I “swiped right” as it’s become known in the virtual dating world. We started talking and hit it off rather quick. As quick as one can using symbols that make words to form sentences with implied understood meaning. Ugh, texting is the downfall of our existence for sure, ha ha.
Either way, not long into the conversation she explained that she was in town for the weekend only. Picking up furniture from IKEA. I am from Atlanta, and she is from Chattanooga. About a 2.25 hour drive. She frequents Atlanta since she has friends here, so it makes for a reasonable enough excuse for me to gain a healthy amount of interest.
We both agreed that we should meet at some point, but damn, when would that be? Am I supposed to drive to Chattanooga to meet this dame?
A week passes by and we had already been friends on Facebook and followed each others Instagrams. One night I’m think to myself, “It’s time to escape again”. This is NOT an uncommon thought for me when it comes to exploration and seeking out something fun. Passively in this mind set for several days, I toy with some ideas, and it turns out most of my friends are busy this weekend. Perfect. I wanna get the hell outta this city.
“Sarah, what are you up to this weekend? Want to grab a drink?”… “Definitely”. Thanks, Sarah, for quite the affirmative response.
I have used Airbnb once before and I know it’s a great alternative to hotels. In fact, it’s much better. Meet Jim and Debbie… My hosts (more made up names for privacy).
Jim is an avid tinkerer and maker of things while Debbie is a like minded person who happily celebrated the Maker Faire from this weekend. A “Maker Faire” is a new concept to me (look it up, it’s cool). It’s is a place where inventors, thinkers and tinkerers bring their “garage of gizmos” to show the world. Oil stained and quite vibrant, so I hear.
I am greeted under a 1-800-DIVORCE awning, which is the entrance to my alternative hotel for the night, by a friendly guy. He pointed out that there were nearby clouds of fluttering birds in the sky and described them as amoebas that move and pulsate through the wind much like a school of fish or drying laundry on a line blowing in the wind. These birds, beautiful and oddly fascinating, were in the hundreds. To my surprise they all roost in one street-side tree which has barely enough room to host it’s own leaves.
The loft couldn’t have been any better. “Hell yeah, I’d pay for this every time over a hotel”, I thought. Not only that, but I get free conversation and advice from a knowledgeable resident on the local shit.
Airbnb has it’s value outside of simply “a place to stay”.
- Warm – you arrive to a room that’s dressed just for you
- Informative – get the low down on the nearby happenings and local culture
- Safe – these are people just like you and I who are risking their privacy and lives to a stranger based on a set of ratings on an app
I should explain that I am a frequent user of other services like Lyft and Uber as well. Last time I visited Jacksonville, FL. I took Lyft everywhere to everything. I met cool people and learned enough about the city in 3 days to enjoy myself thoroughly.
Sarah decided on Community Pie, a pizza joint where you get, well, Pizza. But, included was also the presence of a lovely lady and a great start to a fun night. She knew where I was staying because it was previously discussed. I was able to walk to this restaurant and, while on the way, I started to understand the charm of the city. Every good city looks better at night and this city has a nice glow to it. I dodged some long-boarders and over heard a group of, I’m assuming, German tourists.
Boom, I had a chauffeur. Not only are locals like Sarah friendly, I was able to score a ride to the next couple of stops. We first went to Clyde’s and ended the night at Flying Squirre Bar. Flying Squirrel was awesome, Clyde’s was, eh, I donno, just too damn bright with an equally annoying wait time. The former had just the right amount of people, mixed patio and interior bar, enough rain to stain the nearby street made of brick to make it reflective, a cool breeze on an unusually warm October night, good micro-brewed pilsners (which I am severely into right now…Pilsners, not microbrews. Not that I’m not into micro brews, I’m just saying that I’m really into Pilsners right now. Especially Pilsner Urquell), and, of course, good company.
Early morning endeavors included a trip to Brash coffee. I’m freaking in love with this little shop. It’s rustic, authentic, and one more thing. There was no counter separating barista and visitor. Only a floating island where the barista (also the owner) will diatribe into all sorts of blah (in a good way) while standing, like an accommodating host, across the decorated counter top. I enjoyed that he was standing across from me, interested in fulfilling my addiction for palpable atmosphere and indulgence. Dude, I like my coffee black. I care more that it’s not instant coffee than I do what makes it taste so good, if that makes sense. I’m not picky, just want to enjoy that shit. Brash did this. And they did it well. COME TO ATLANTA! ha ha.
I was in Chattanooga only once previous. This was, of course, to see the fish. I had gone on some field trip type of thing with my grandma of late and mom. This time I wanted to make it high enough to look over the river. Sarah, who couldn’t resist my eerily asymmetrical smile, was kind enough to take me to the top of the mountain, called, “Lookout Mountain”. You’d expect a blue sky and rolling green mountains with a layer of ebullient smoky fog. What instead transpired was a haunting mixture of fog and houses with green moss creeping up in between the cracks of the brick driveways of the neighborhood of multi-million dollar homes in this vicinity. With a little bit of random Spotify magic, we had an atmosphere not common to anything I was expecting. In a way, something normal wouldn’t have cut it for me on this trip.
Quick trip to Chattanooga for the night
Lastly, we went to the riverside restaurant, Boat House. Cool spot to overlook the water and enjoy a memosa or one of their color sorted dishes. I had the Lotta Lotta Garlic Chicken. My breathe smelled fine after.
Chattanooga has Gigabit internet which is cool. If you’re near by, check it out. It’s fun and they have an interesting amount of young people mixed with entrepreneurial types. Of course, you are going to run into those damn tourists, but just avoid the Applebee’s and Chili’s there. God, I hate those places.