Mama Shelter

I had set out early, with a plan to arrive at Bayonne in the evening, in preparation to travel to St Jean Pied de Port the next day. Instead, I found myself in Paris, seeking a safe and comfortable room at Mama Shelter, designed by Phillpe Starcke.

There are worse things than being stuck in Paris although it did not feel like that at the time. A technical issue with the SNCF (French rail company) site meant that my ticket had not been issued and I was unable to purchase a ticket beyond Paris on the train. When I attended the train station to resolve the matter, I was informed that the train actually departed from Montparnasse, a twenty – thirty-minute ride away – I missed the last train to Bayonne.

Exploring alternative options of an overnight train to Toulouse or Bordeaux, I found myself craving the comfort of my apartment – wifi – give me access to the net to resolve this problem.  Ten years ago I would taken the overnight train or at least carried Lonely Planet and followed a map to walk to a near by hotel. What happened to the spirit of adventure I had as a student?  I now found myself completely disconnected without wifi and the only hotel that I could recall in Paris was the boutique line, Mama Shelter that I had stayed in four years ago in Marseille.  Wanting a hot shower, wifi and a safe space to refocus, I jumped in a cab which turned out to be an hour ride due to a ‘manifestation’ (about changes to labour / employment laws) unfolding on the streets of Paris.  While pleased to learn that liberte, egalite, and fraternite are still alive, I was almost in tears.  I used my yoga practise to find out what this experience was teaching me and in that moment of despair realised three valuable lessons:

#1 – Don’t rush: life, or any precious moment – I had set out so excited to arrive at my destination that morning I risked not enjoying the journey. In fact, the next morning when I returned to Montparnasse, there were no tickets for the early train, forcing me to explore the streets, much quieter on Sunday, where I found a hotel (by designer Rive Giueche) just minutes from the station!  Had I been present and calmer the evening before, I probably would have saved myself 40 euros and the anxiety!

#2 – Let go of comfort and attachment – getting used to a certain lifestyle it is easy to become anxious when we no longer have access – for example a warm, comfortable bed or social media, the internet, that allow us to be constantly on and connected.

#3- Be a change agent – under pressure I sought the familiarity of a hotel that I had stayed at, of good repute and style.  Maybe the same reason I started the walk in Milan and was intent on avoiding Paris. Had I explored I would have found something new and stepped outside of my comfort zone, a massive lesson because the experience made me see that maybe I had actually gotten to comfortable with my own life and I wondered where else I may have resisted change and missed something that could have been right in front of me, due to my rigid thinking or attachment? I suppose that is the reason I am doing the camino and I am sure that there will be more lessons to come.

What have you learned through adventure or misadventure in your travels?

Clean and Collect - Making your Airbnb guests feel at home

Real estate has faced a downturn in Australia, particularly Perth and Queensland as a result of the decline in resource sector and over supply of apartments in Brisbane CBD. This has seen rental prices, particularly for apartments decrease and higher vacancy rates, particularly in Perth.

While some property owners may be considering dropping their prices to avoid vacancy rates, others are cashing in on the lucrative short term renting options through Airbnb, which has disrupted hotel accommodation and is about to disrupt the short term property market, yielding short term accommodation a higher rate than traditional periodic or fixed term leases.  Investors are also covered by Airbnb’s insurance and can screen their tenants by reviewing profiles and reviews.  Airbnb also allows investors to build international relations for their own travels abroad.

When my property suddenly became vacant – I thought I would test the market trend for short term accommodation on Airbnb and was surprised to receive a number of enquiries, within minutes of listing it.  

I saw Airbnb as an untapped opportunity, however living in Canberra, I had no way of managing the interstate property myself. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if I could engage a business to do it for me? However, after extensive research, I could find no company that offered such a service.

Maybe others were in my position and - not everyone wants to manage their own property on Airbnb. So I started Clean and Collect - an innovative, Australia wide business, that manages your Airbnb listing for you for a monthly subscription fee or one off rate, allowing you to earn a higher rate on your property and saving you management fees.

Clean and Collect offers property owners an option other than traditional property management. If you live interstate or simply want someone to manage your Airbnb listing, Clean and Collect will arrange cleaning of your apartment, key collection – welcoming your guests and collecting your keys when they leave.  Clean and Collect hosts can also arrange recommendations of local attractions and where to eat in the area.

Clean and Collect is an Australia wide service and the first business to offer this service for Airbnb listings in Australia.  To list your property or find out more about the services offered and pricing, contact Belinda Coniglio – or 0450903610.