Our vacations, at one point, largely resembled the pattern of birds. The young ones were packed, we flew south for the winter and north for the summer. With a little bit of sightseeing added to our seasonal hibernation periods, we checked into a typical nest of white, comfy sheets, enticing bathtubs with tiny bottles of luxurious bath products or posh shower cabinets and even a sprawling pool in the compound. At some point in our lives, this ‘family vacation’ changed to a kind of travel that is more about who you are as a person. This is where things like needs, moods, fantasies and personalities started to reveal themselves and good Samaritans like Airbnb swooped in to our rescue. Now, we believe that there’s more Airbnb than chicken soup for every kind of soul. But check out for yourself the types we’ve covered and pick your own therapy.
Your (artist) mom
All that time the family was too busy closely observing the offspring for aptitude or talent, nobody noticed that mom, here, had a gift that she’d waved off as a hobby years ago, to raise a family. If she secretly pens those deep verses or those engaging stories with that pretty stationery in those lovely notebooks, take her to the quaint cottage that is John Steinbeck’s studio in Pacific Grove, California or at any other legendary writer’s home. Writers need peace, books and possibilities around them, a few vistas, intellectually stimulating conversations and a little papering couldn’t hurt. So you could also gift her a retreat to either The Library House in the Red Woods in Soquel, California (with a hot tub and citrus trees) or the Parks-Bowman Library Mansion in New Orleans, owned by a filmmaker and a novelist. If she can have a canvas auctioned for millions by the time she’s finished with it, take her to Walkerworld Organic Artist Retreat in Castle Hayne, North Carolina. In this bohemian rhapsody, surrounded by artworks, she’d be compelled to soil that smock she’s hidden away. Meanwhile, Van Gogh’s bedroom in Chicago, created painstakingly straight out of his painting, will have her coming back home covered in paint and grinning like a child who’s just played in mud. If she can hold a note till the cows came home or rocked the bass in college, you could send her to the Recording Studio in Redwood Valley, California, in the lap of nature, or The Musician’s Retreat at the sunny, coastal Mornington Peninsula, Victoria. Unless she was so crazy about it that she’s actually one of the lucky ones to get to stay at the Abbey Road Studios. Yep, that’s possible!
Your (chef) brother
Growing up, you’ve been the lab rat for your brother’s kitchen experiments and you’ve hated him for it. But now you long for the times when he feels generous enough to whip up something for you on weekends or for work day lunches. And you secretly believe that he’s got a shot at Masterchef but you’d never admit that to him. Well, you can always take him for a vacation to the modern farmhouse style Airbnb kitchen at San Francisco or the ultrachic one in Mexico City. So you get to enjoy the place AND inspire him into feeding you. If you send him and his girlfriend to Porto, Portugal, where she can feast her eyes on him slaving in the mostly rustic kitchen or to Tuscany, where he can gently admonish her for interrupting his cooking in that oh so romantic kitchen (sorry for the mental image), you will find lunches of gratitude in your tiffin on some really tiresome weekdays. However, if you send him to the House of the Chef in Positano, Italy or La Pitchoune in France, the house built by Paul and Julia Child, to discover himself, you will be a happy eater for life.
Your (posh) dad
Now, there was something about those fluffy hotel sheets and towel, that bathtub and that pool that made your dad take you to the same kind of locations everywhere. He absolutely loves the luxury. He loves being King and would even get pampered at a spa if your mom wasn’t cocking eyebrows at him distastefully. Give the man a break at the Private Retreat with Spa and Pool at California. He could also find his Zen at Elrod Villa in Palm Springs or Aegean Villa near Athens. If you want to send them together, Entourage Villa at LA is where they would feel like celebrities.
Your (animal loving) cousin
She was a vision on horses and it was always cute to watch her with wrestling with puppies or playing with kittens. But now, all you can think of is that horrifying time you all were on a trip and you saw her getting a little too affectionate with an Iguana. It’s rude to shudder before her, so send her packing off to The Real Animal House near Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks or the Butterfly Hill Home in Pequea, Pennsylvania, and then you can shudder all you want… in her absence.
Check the Airbnb site regularly, especially for these:
Your (sports-obsessed) girlfriend
She screams so loudly at the games you take her for, that you can’t help but feel a bit emasculated. She controls the remote back at home, chugs beer and swears at players, while you’re so sick of it that it would be nice to watch a chick-flick once in a while. Help her become one of the lucky ones to get to stay a night at The Home of The Chicago Bulls, Brazil’s legendary Marcana stadium or Fenway Park, Home to the Boston Red Sox. Let’s just say you’re going to score more than those players she’ll be watching.
Your (adrenaline junkie) grandmother
She shows you the (sometimes creepy) heirlooms that she’s going to pass on to you, tells you stories and teaches you her secret recipes. But those hands ladling the soup are just dying to scale the depths of the ocean, those eyes wan to light up with the rush of adrenaline and that frail, wrinkled body wants to feel the thrill of being thrown off a cliff once again. Adrenaline junkies don’t know ‘too old for adventure’. At Airbnb’s new #Nightat series, she could get lucky (not that kind of lucky) by spending her night in a cabin in the Shark Aquarium at Paris or trade in a ski resort for a cable car suspended at 9000 ft above the ground at Courchevel.