I’ve been traveling the world for over the last 4 years now consecutively which means lots of hotel rooms and now, Airbnb rentals. Airbnb is a website that allows travelers to book rooms or stays at private apartments and houses all around the world.
It might sound like a rosy picture, the de-regulated hospitality sector and added consumer choices in picking a place to stay, but just like Uber and customer service from their drivers, as a customer a lot of times you’re dealing with people who have very little experience in hospitality or even running their own business.
1. Dirty apartment or home – Many people complain that the place smelled so bad they couldn’t stand being there, and I’m sure I’m not the only one to discover dust and cobwebs in places where they shouldn’t be. Keeping your Airbnb as clean as a hotel room should be your minimum new standard.
Remember, you’re competing with actual hotels now, so your potential guest could just as easily thumb their way over to a different app on their phone and make a reservation.
2. Bad Wi-Fi – Lots of folks work from their computers or stream movies online while traveling. To be honest, I rarely watch TV when traveling internationally, mostly because I don’t understand the local language well enough to enjoy a program or movie and because the cultural nuances are lost on me.
It’s the 21st Century and most countries have pretty strong Wifi. If you are not providing a way for people to do everything they need or want to do online, then you are on par with a cheap motel! Plain and simple.
3. Communication issues- Often times you cannot get a hold of an Airbnb host in order to access the property or they are late. Then, a host may be slow to respond or provide an inadequate solution to a problem that arises during your stay.
As an Airbnb host, even if you don’t have the solution to a problem readily available, you should communicate swiftly back confirming that you understand there’s an issue and let the customer know you’re addressing it.
The other side of not communicating enough is communicating too much. Pestering your guests or “checking up” on them is also unacceptable. Demanding they use text apps on their phone or sending them texts is unnecessary when you can use Airbnb, protecting yourself and your guest in the process.
Pro tip: To cut down on unnecessary communication or people who expect you to show them around town, make a copy/paste email that you send whenever someone books with you that links to 3 – 5 tourist worthy sites to visit, as well as keep the directions to your place accurate by copy/pasting a link from google maps.
4. Missing amenities – If you advertise in your listing that you have a kitchen for your guests, then ensure that you have basics like salt and pepper, vegetable or cooking oil, and pots, pans, and a sharp knife with a cutting board so that people can actually use the facilities.
At a recent Airbnb stay I found no plates, only bowls. Another one didn’t provide a knife. Would you live without plates or a cutting knife for meat or vegetables in your own home? Most people wouldn’t, especially not people with enough money for a second property they use for just renting out as an extra income stream.
Additionally, an easy way to impress your guests is by having one or two unique, memorable decorations or even a fun gadget that most people would enjoy. Remember, people pay more for premium experiences like hotel rooms with more perks and the same goes for your rental as well. Head on over to https://charmingwares.com for some luxury decorating ideas at discount prices.
5. Deceptive practices on photos and listing info – I’ve stayed at some places where the host owned or managed several different properties in the same area, and I started to get a sixth sense when one belonged to him just by the descriptions he used in the title of his listings. Just like the old marketing tip, you shouldn’t call your listed home “perfect” or “beautiful” unless it actually is, which it probably isn’t!
Using more accurate descriptors and photos, as well as managing expectations carefully in how your write out your listing will lead to a less jarring discovery experience for an Airbnb customer, and they will be less likely to feel like they’ve been had.
6. Don’t ask for reviews – If you have to ask for reviews, then there’s probably something wrong with your listing or customer service. Most of the reviews I read on Airbnb are very careful to not verbally destroy a host’s chances at future business. Keeping that in mind, most people who aren’t happy with your Airbnb rental will simply not leave you a review and go about their way, never to return.
Find ways to first accomplish the necessary basics, then consider ways of adding small touches here and there to your property to wow the guest. It could literally be anything, a short hand-written note and a few pieces of candy all the way to fresh flowers in a vase on the table. You won’t spend a lot of money, but used tactically on long-term guests, it can result in a positive, thoughtful review- which means more business for you in the long run.
Creating Happy Airbnb Guests and Experiences, Not Customers
Most Airbnb hosts do not have the first clue about guest or customer service.
Owning a home and renting it out makes you no more a hotel than my buying an NFL jersey makes me the starting Quarterback for the Detroit Lions.
Treat customers like guests, and you’ll automatically take care of the rest. Don’t cut corners because it will come back to haunt you. You can fool some people some of the time, but you can’t fool all people all of the time.
Your income potential on Airbnb is dependent upon the service your provide as a host.
You have to ask yourself: “What is the value that I’m creating with my listing?”. Again, people can stay just as easily at a hotel, so what more are they looking for that you can give them?
You have an imagination, use it! Small accents and touches are all you need once you’ve got the minimum accounted for.
In many ways which the intrigued and unknowing public either fails to recognize or seems to forget, it is a lifestyle that requires constant work and long hours on a laptop computer, working from anywhere you can to accomplish successful e-commerce and manage online income streams.
That means a daily grind all its own that demands your focus and concentration, often leaving little room for error. In addition to this, it requires being financially savvy or even shrewdly budgetary with consideration to the ever-changing world travel situation.
The Digital Worker’s Survival Guide
What most of us have discovered viscerally when opting to work completely online is that you have to be your own Chief Financial Officer. That means thinking of all of your assets including your gear as a long-term investment, and liability.
#1: Protect and Extend the Life of Your Laptop Computer
Your computer should be viewed the same as your car or your house. Without your laptop computer to manage your online work and business, it would be difficult if not impossible to maintain a digital nomad lifestyle.
Factor in buying a computer in a foreign country, and you’ll understand why I unexpectedly have Russian letters on my keyboard as well as traditional English characters as I currently type this. And no, buying a computer in Moscow was no walk in the park.
While carrying my laptop computer around places with me, I usually keep it in my front backpack and then cushion the bottom and the corners of the device with some workout shorts or t-shirts in case my bag gets dinged.
And yes, of course clean your laptop regularly with water and a paper towel. These things will get gross after a while without wiping down the keyboard, screen and mouse sensor area occasionally.
#2: Cut Down on Expenses While Increasing Productivity
While we’re on the subject of saving money, it’s important to understand for people who travel that you may not always have access to a quiet, cozy place to work or a nice desk or table and a comfortable chair. This might seem like a non-event at first, but consider this:
Budget hotel or hostel rooms often do not include a desk and a chair, so you might be working on your bed at times. Also, if you don’t have a proper work station in your room, you may be tempted to go to the local cafe to work.
This often results in spending an extra $5 / day or more just to use a local establishment’s WiFi and a comfy seat. That comes out to $150 / month just by visiting the cafe everyday. It may cost even more if they serve beer and you’re easily tempted too 🙁
#3: Reduce Reliance on Travel Booking Apps Like Hotels.com and Airbnb
In my opinion, online hotel reservation apps like Expedia, Booking, and Airbnb offer a traveler a great way to get a bird’s eye view of the offerings for places to stay for any given location.
For convenience and to keep your travel transaction on your debit or credit card since many locals demand cash only, you might use an app to get to your destination.
For myself, I know I do a lot better when I exercise regularly and eat lean proteins, complex carbs, fresh vegetables and fruits.
When traveling, you don’t always have access to a kitchen, or sometimes you do and they don’t have everything. That’s why it’s great to keep a knife handy to cut cabbage, tomatoes, onions, and anything else you enjoy to ensure you’re getting those much needed vitamins and minerals.
It’s so easy when you’re self-directed and focused on all your online work to disregard healthy eating habits, which results in weight gain, feeling sluggish or lethargic, getting sick more often, and again- raises your daily operating costs.
Positive Energy = Digital Work and Life Success
Another massive thing is ergonomics. Since you’re constantly working on your computer, you can tend to let your posture go over time as well, resulting in aches and pains, reduced personal productivity and health issues, and slumping or slouching tendencies which negatively affect your personal appearance and energy levels.
Energy must flow freely through your body in order to function at its most optimal state.
Make sure you are practicing healthy seated and standing posture habits throughout the day, and that you are exercising at least 3 days a week. This will ensure that you can breathe properly and have a healthy circulatory system, which will improve your mental and cognitive abilities while increasing your immune system.
Meditate, do breathing exercises, and take breaks! For the love of life man don’t over-do it 🙂
Related Products: Adjustable Travel Laptop Desk for Digital Nomads Working from Home or Online
I woke up one morning on the top of a hill in the coastal city of Rijeka, Croatia. My first night of sleeping in the woods in a tent had more or less gone to plan.
Sure, it had rained the night before and I had gotten soaked. There had been strange noises and racket from nearby teenagers sneaking into the forest to congregate for covert, late-night parties. I hadn’t even gotten more than a few hours of sleep.
But everything was more or less good to go. That was August 15th, 2020. I would walk down the hill and head south for the next 2 months, spending most of my time sleeping in a tent along the way, seeking out well-hidden, secret camping spots near the coast.
I would go the entire way on foot, which would amount to about 600 kilometers, and I’d be carrying 30+ kilograms of gear comprised of an Osprey hiking rucksack on back and a Rip Curl backpack draped over my front. The natural weight balance would mean no need for trekking poles.
Yes, I would hike Croatia, and while I was at it, I figured I might as well write a book about it too.
Why the heck not? Which answers my next question:
Why Did I Visit Croatia, of All Places?
There’s many reasons to visit Croatia. It is a sort of budget traveler’s version of Italy with lots of sunshine and a great panoramic view of the Adriatic Sea, along with many islands stretching out to the horizon. Prices are a bit lower than the typical Western European destination, and they allow Americans to visit for up to 3 months at a time.
They also required no negative PCR reading for Covid-19, and getting there by train to Zagreb was pretty easy, though explaining why I’d overstayed my Visa in the EU due to the lock down on the way out seemed to be confusing for the cop checking my passport.
Right now, there’s not a lot of places where you can visit in the world as an American. Officially. But in my opinion, traveling during 2020 has been marked by selective enforcement of incredibly arbitrary undemocratic decrees. This means, you can often just show up and your fate will be decided by a government bureaucrat who may just want to pass you through without creating a hassle for themselves.
Croatia: Sights to See, Things to Do, Options to Eat
Croatia offers a long sea coast with numerous beaches and crystal-clear water. The beaches are almost always made of pebbles and small rocks, so flip-flops or aqua socks are probably not a bad idea.
During the summer, a good swim is usually possible from nearly almost any point. If you can get down the cliff side safely, then you will often have your own private watering hole. The water’s so salty, if you just take a large breath, you’ll float without having to try very hard.
When swimming, however, you will want to watch out for sea urchins. They are everywhere. These are little purple balls with lots of fine, thin needles protruding from them.
If you step on one or touch it with your hand, the little needles can and will easily break off into your skin like splinters, causing risk of infection and pain until you remove them with tweezers.
If you are into fishing, you will find lots of ways to do this, whether hanging out a line off the edge of just about any marina in Croatia, or chartering a boat with a local service. While I’m not much of an angler myself, it seemed that not many people caught big fish just standing on the shore and trying. My guess is fishing out in the sea from a boat would yield better results.
Popular tourist destinations in Croatia
Some of the more popular cities to visit include Rijeka, Senj, Novalja, Zadar, Split, Biograd na Moru, Primosten, Sibenik, Makarska and Dubrovnik. There are also lots of islands to visit which you can usually catch a ferry to quite easily from many ports located throughout the coast. Most of the larger cities have the typical sights for visitors ranging from unique 15th Century old city walls to the ruins of palaces for Roman Emperors.
If you want to get lodging or accommodations, AirBnB is an option I used. Other hotel apps may provide higher end hotels in greater abundance than budget options, and many of the budget options are not so great. Just driving or walking about town, you will see many signs with a phone number offering rooms, “sobe” in Croatian, or apartments, called “apartmani”, to rent.
The typical Croatian fare is much like that of other Mediterranean countries. They enjoy lots of grilled vegetables and fish, as well as some select meats. Everywhere you go you will see a sign for a “Konoba – Grill”. If you’re not willing to commit to a large scale meal with lots of grilled specialty items due to cost or maybe you want something smaller, then a dish known as Cevapi might hold you over.
Cevapi are little sausages served with a few slices of fresh onion and french fries. It’s not really my thing but if you’re hungry and you don’t want to eat pizza, it’s always there for you.
Eating out is not always an enjoyable experience though, in my opinion. I felt a lot of anti-tourist resentment from the locals. The customer service level is definitely lacking as a whole for the country as well, even when you just go to a cafe to order a cup of coffee.
Good budget options for food include stopping in at the Plodine Supermarket, probably the biggest supermarket chain in northern Croatia, and visiting the back of the store where they have lots of hot items to purchase including potatoes au gratin and grilled chicken, as well as vegetables and salad options.
Hiking, Camping, and Backpacking in Croatia
There are lots of places to camp officially in Croatia. There are quite a few auto-camps and paid sites for people in camping vans. I personally wanted to save a buck and have an adventure so I camped off the beaten path.
I encountered some wildlife during the journey from bears to snakes, as well as sheep roaming the hills. Croatia is home to a few very venomous snakes and I was constantly encountering them during my hike along the highway, though thankfully they would always try to dart away from me. One night, the local town’s somewhat independent and possibly stray dog came and stayed with me in my tent during a bad rainstorm.
Hiking down the coastal highway was a pretty major task. You do really have to be careful and know what you’re doing to avoid causing a public safety risk. So I’d advise you to only attempt the feat if you are very aware of your surroundings and are familiar with the concepts of “defensive driving”, since hiking along any roadway carries inherent risks.
Hiking during the day and camping by night would usually leave me quite dirty, so I would take a bath in the sea. By September and October the water was starting to get a little cold, but nothing life-threatening. Many beaches offer showers to clean off with as well, but these are not frequent outside of large population centers.
There are also lots of places where you can take off all your clothes and go for a swim. While it’s not my thing, there’s lots of “FKK” beaches there for the self-proclaimed “naturists”. If you’re lucky, you might just see me taking a bath in the sea too.
Just kidding, I kept my pants on for that.
For hiking and nature, there is Velebit National Park which stretches 100 kilometers not far from Senj and Zadar. I have read online that there are land mines from the war in the 1990’s in some places, but I never saw signs or heard of things being too big of a problem.
But, there’s also lots of places where you can simply go for a short day-hike around town or up a nearby mountain too.
One more thing. If you’re walking across a crosswalk, don’t expect Croatian drivers to slow down much for a pedestrian.
Is Croatia Ideal for Digital Nomads?
For people who work online or make money from their laptops while traveling, I have a mixed opinion of Croatia. In many places I stayed, the Wi Fi signal was not every strong but in addition to this, Croatia does not really have an online business culture.
While on the surface that should not matter much, it definitely gets old having people devalue your trade and income streams when you tell them what you do. It’s also probably a reason why they’re not a leader in technology or the worldwide web, and why the government is creating an e-visa program right now for “digital nomads”.
I don’t think I saw but maybe one Croatian sit in a cafe and open a laptop computer the entire time I was there, and I saw every city from Rijeka, Croatia down to the country of Montenegro. Many of them view the idea of an internet business as a form of sorcery or carnival barking, a scam, or something that they just have no interest in learning about.
It’s the kind of attitude you could expect from a former Yugoslavian nation, one where communism overshadowed an interest in or need for innovation and self-starters for half a century. As someone who’s traveled through Eastern Europe, I know the stale vibe of mediocrity when I encounter it.
Patrick is an online entrepreneur who has been traveling the US and the world for over 6 years. He served in the US Navy and obtained a degree in political science before starting his own business and leaving America in 2017 to live abroad.
His interests include music production, writing, running sprints, cannabis, and meditation. He speaks English, Russian, Spanish, and some Thai, and loves spending time outdoors and with animals. He’s been camping off-grid ever since he went out to the desert one night in Nevada.
It’s true, I’m a dog lover. To be honest, I prefer dogs to people, and I’d say a lot of times, dogs are actually the best people. This is dedicated to the ones I’ve met and spent time with along the way.
First there was Rocky, the Boxer from my childhood. We were about the same age growing up together. We would sometimes hide under the table together when I was around 3 – 5 years old, and I always remember him being there until we had him put to sleep due to serious medical issues, pain and suffering when we were both 10 years old.
I didn’t have a dog for a long time after that, it would actually be 25 more years until I’d have my own, so the next dog I’ll have to mention’s name is Billy. Billy was a little Jack Russell Terrier in Los Angeles who got picked up as a stray, and the young lady I would eventually end up seeing took him in.
The first night this young lady and I were making it together on the couch, Billy ran up behind me and bit me straight on the sack, not too hard but then not too soft either. I naturally jumped out of pain and surprise, but continued my process with a weary eye after that, which he never tried again. I guess for a dog, seeing the rear-view of a spectacle like that could be interpreted as some type of attack, and he was going straight for the perceived source to end it.
In the couple of years I saw this lady, we’d go to the beach together and Billy always really enjoyed it. The waves of the ocean rolling up, he’d run around like a crazy and of course I’d join in and try to race him. To be honest sometimes I would take Billy to run uphill sprints with me as part of one of my workouts, and he always did a good job.
One day at the beach a big German Shepherd ran over to me near the water and started barking at me. Billy came from out of nowhere and ran in between us and jumped at the other dog and started barking, and the big dog backed off and left. Billy was a fearless protector and I admire him greatly for it.
After I ditched my apartment in Los Angeles in September of 2014 and decided to just go camping and live out of my car to save money and work on my online business, I started to get pretty lonely and depressed, traveling from town to town, camping in state parks and getting a hotel room when it was winter or if it was too cold, even one time finding a temporary roommate in Washington State on CraigsList.
I stayed for a week in the mountains just south of Palm Springs in California in the state park there. One day I walked into the local feed supply and pet store to inquire if they had any diatomaceous earth for use on bugs, as at the time I was doing internet marketing and learning all about this natural insect killer for its use on bed bugs. Apparently that’s a big thing and a major issue for people these days so it’s a high-demand market and industry.
When I was walking into the store, a white dog with a big brown spot on his side jumped up at the outside gate next to the store’s entry and barked at me. It was a nasty and startling bark. I stepped back a little bit apprehensively. I looked over and this dog was staring right at me, but he appeared to be smiling and he had a sparkle in his big dark eyes- the look of a benevolent pirate.
The shopkeeper told me they didn’t have any diatomaceous earth, so I said “ok, well how much for the dog out there?”. The lady was a little shocked at the question, but we started to talk and before you know it, I found out the dog was a stray and had been picked up by the business owner, whose main business was making organic beef-based raw dog food.
The owner had been picking up strays and keeping them in his spare room/garage of his shop, since he was a dog lover too and also a former Marine. I met him later that day and we chatted. He agreed to let me have the dog if I agreed to feed him raw dog food (raw beef or chicken) and came back the next day, so I did. He gave me about a week’s worth of his special food which was awesome.
He was very knowledgeable about dogs and what they should be eating. He explained to me that years of working in the veterinary field produced an understanding in him that most store-bought, dried dog food was garbage. It was unhealthy and the cause of a lot of health issues that dogs face, especially in old age.
The funniest part was when he was explaining that raw food for dogs produces the best, most natural dog poop (without odor or lots of gross texture), he picked up some chalky white pieces of something off the side counter and said “see, this is what a dog’s poop looks like when they eat raw” as he held the dog shit up to me. I had to contain myself to keep from busting out laughing, but it was cool to see the guy so enthused and I truly believed in what he was saying.
So, my newfound dog and I left that day, hopped into my white 3 series BMW and headed down the mountain. My new dog was not fond of the car ride, sitting in the front seat and bouncing around as we headed down the mountain. I would eventually name him Printz, a play on words for the word Prince and Prints, as he had a few distinct markings on him, being part Dalmatian and part hound, and I thought well “we’ll leave our footprints all over the world” which is a song I was listening to at the time by Tiesto,. Also, technically by calling him Prince that would make me King, so it all sounded good to me.
What’s really interesting is that Printz and I would eventually end up back in the first coastal town of California where I tried out my voluntary homelessness that first night in late in September 2014 in Arroyo Grande, and while driving along the streets there, I saw a street named Printz and thought it was an apt conclusion to a chapter in my life.
When I lost Printz in May of 2018, I spent several months after that on drug benders and basically coming a thread away from giving up on life altogether. I had lost my best friend and my brother, who in many ways was even like a son to me. He was my world. All my plans of escaping what I believed (turned out, correctly) to be a coming social upheaval/unrest situation in America came to a crashing end as I lost whom I considered was my only real family in this world.
I believe that I will see Printz again and be with him for eternity, so for now I just had to find a reason to live life again and realize even my own life is not my own, and that I have no right to end it because it didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to.
I could probably write books alone on my adventures with Printz: the good times, the bad times, the fun times and the hard times. Maybe I will someday, but for now, that will have to wait.
After Printz’s disappearance, I found myself looking for reasons to live, to help anyone, to feel better, to feel something- anything. I eventually created an opportunity where I gave my time and energy to visiting and creating resources for language study as well as buying school supplies for a bunch of kids at a very small school on the outskirts of Phnom Penh.
For the next few months, I tried to help out the best ways I knew how, and the teacher at the school was able to use the learning materials I produced to sell to her students as well as hang the reference materials up in her classroom. I was proud that the educator at a school saw the value in it- and used it to make money off of too in order to support her school and keep it open.
Some time went by but my travels in Asia had concluded and I set off to Russia. In Moscow I looked up animal shelters and saw there was one located about 5 miles from my hotel/apartment and very close to their main media center there, where the “Telecenter Tower” is located. I went there to volunteer one day hoping I could get to walk some dogs and show them some love.
Volunteering at the dog shelter in Moscow was tough psychologically and emotionally, but of course it is a million times worse for the dogs there than it was for me. This is simply the nature of locking up stray dogs and putting them in little holding cells most of the day. They may rarely see grass or trees. All they know is that they were locked up and are being confined. Some are angry, most are scared and confused.
I couldn’t help but feel strong sadness for these dogs. I wanted to express to them “You did nothing wrong to be here. There’s nothing wrong with you.” So I just tried to show them as much love as possible, walking up and down the lines of dogs and talking to them, saying hello, giving them treats and petting the ones who’d allow it.
The animal shelter being Russian, the dogs had some interesting names. In one cell there was a big dog named Beethoven who looked just like the dog from the movie Beethoven. Beethoven’s cell mate was a Dobermann Pinscher named, can you guess? Shakespeare. Shakespeare rarely came out of the cell even when the door was open as he was afraid- understandable. Beethoven would come out but he didn’t like me too much after one day I tried to give him a hug on the trail when I was walking him. I think he thought I was a perv or maybe going to try to harm him, but we never got along after that.
There was another dog, a pretty old black and grey wiener dog mix named “Baba Ninu”, and she always had a sweet countenance and appreciated treats and being petted, but she didn’t want a collar and didn’t want to go for any walks. Another dog’s name was “Hercules” but he was one of the dogs that was really too scared of most people, but I worked on trying to reach him until he’d eventually let me give him treats and pet him.
My favorite of all was Bart. He was a midnight black dog of mid size, his breed I honestly have no idea but he looked like a small wolf. Bart, who I would later refer to as “Chernij Bart” (Chernij meaning “black” in Russian) because it sounded cool and it was like calling him “Black Bart” (the pirate), was one of the most special dogs in the whole shelter.
Bart was very reserved, as he was scared and not very trusting too. But he was one of the dogs there that could tolerate going for a walk out in the nearby park and he really enjoyed it. Many of the dogs at the shelter won’t even go for a walk outside even if you tried because they either don’t have a collar and/or won’t tolerate being put on a leash because it scares them too badly. But Bart, a complex soul, would go for a walk with you and his demeanor would totally change from quiet, scared and reserved to free and happy.
I’d take Bart out and we’d walk, but there was this one portion of the park where there was a long line of ground in between two parallel rows of trees, usually covered in fallen leaves so it was nice and soft. I’d always bust out into a sprint when we got to this part and Bart would happily race next to me, running fast until we got to the end and started walking again.
I think one of the tragedies of modern day dog ownership is that owners don’t run with their dogs enough. Dogs are great runners and will show you up with just how far and fast they can run, and they also make fantastic training partners.
One day after a run, I took Bart back to his cell and just chilled a moment. Bart started gulping down water as it was a hot day and Bart was not short on fur by any means. I knelt down to pet him and sweet talk him a little. He was sad but appreciative.
One of the paid workers there, mostly migrants from Kazakhstan who looked to be a few hundred years behind the rest of civilization and actually lived on-site in makeshift mobile home/bunk rooms, was sitting about 10 meters away, looking at me and Bart. He started snickering arrogantly and laughing at me, or Bart, or both of us. I guess in Kazakhstan they think it’s silly to love dogs, and this guy was throwing off some bad vibes. I didn’t appreciate it, but Bart appreciated it even less, and Bark started growling and barking at the guy.
Amazing. Bart was telling the guy to f*ck off basically, that Bart appreciated me hanging out with him and the friendship we had. It’s cool how dogs are able to feel compassion more than some humans and tell someone where they can go if they are hating. It was a sad day for me when I had to leave Bart.
Another dog I met that actually lived outside of the main dog cell block and with the handicapped or severely injured was an elderly dog whom the older lady volunteers at the shelter would eventually re-name in my honor- or maybe it was to make fun of me a little- Patrick.
Patrick was quite old and had trouble walking but he could do it, though it took him some time. I don’t know what kind of dog he was, but he was maybe the Russian version of some type of Labrador/Shepherd mix, orange-brown in color, and very pleasant and peaceful in demeanor.
I’d give Patrick lots of petting, treats, and hugs. I’d even take him for a walk in the park and he could manage, though sometimes after a short walk he’d be ready to return to base. That’s okay, I’m just glad I got him out of the house.
I did that for a little over a month before I had to leave onto St. Petersburg. My main goal was just to show the dogs some love. I didn’t have a dog any more, but maybe I could still make life better for a dog in a shelter. My hope was just to make them feel a little more normal and a little better, and maybe bring them some cheer.
Leaving was sad for many reasons, but especially the idea that I’d tried to help these dogs but now I had to go. For me life would continue, but for them they’d be stuck and have one less friend there advocating for them and trying to make them feel better. It was a depressing thought.
I was very surprised when about 3 months later, I woke up in Lithuania to an email from one of the volunteer ladies from the shelter. She informed me that Bart had found a home and been adopted. I was so surprised and grateful. You think when you leave after volunteering at an animal shelter, “Did I really do anything to make a difference? Did I really help the dogs or do anything real?”
But then one of the coolest and most deserving dogs at the shelter gets a forever home, and you understand that maybe you did help to make one dog happier, more peaceful, less stressed and maybe help bring them back to life, and that on days when you’re one of the only volunteers there, you’re helping the dogs maintain sanity, and eventually a person will come by and see a special guy like Bart and want to adopt him.
If all I did was help one dog, then it was worth it. I’m really grateful to God and the adopting family, may they be blessed. I hope Bart will hang out with me and Printz in Heaven. I think it will be a good time. Oh yeah, Beethoven got adopted too, even though he hated me.
In October of 2019, I was staying in a hotel on the east side of Minsk, Belarus in the area known as their version of Silicon Valley, which at the time of this writing, is under a bit of pressure considering the political climate in the country. The hotel was just like one of the others I had previously stayed at, same floor plan, layout, and everything- probably a relic of communism. You’ll find that in former communist countries some of the buildings, the toilets, and the rooms in the buildings are all the same.
The hotel had a nice inclusive breakfast of hard-boiled eggs, oatmeal, cold cuts and sliced vegetables and fruits, as well as unlimited coffee. The coffee machine even worked some of the time. To be honest, the paid fare in the evening from the kitchen was best, and more than a few times I ordered the “Dranniki”, which are potato pancakes with grilled meat, mushrooms, and plenty of gravy.
One morning I went outside in the adjacent parking lot with my jump rope for a workout. I did my usual routine of 10 sets of 1 minute reps wearing 2 pairs of socks, no shoes (believe me, it’s easier that way). When I was finished I walked over to the sidewalk and sat down to stretch. When I looked up, there was a large dog sitting about 10 yards from me, interested in my presence and looking at me curiously, but alertly.
Well sh*t, I’m screwed, I thought. The dog hadn’t quite signaled friendly intentions, but I stretched out my arm and lifted my hand up, still seated on the ground, fingers facing down and palm towards me, to let it know I was friendly and going to let it give me a sniff.
It approached very deliberately and slowly. I didn’t know if it was going to bite me or be receptive. Fortunately it came up to me, sniffed, still looking a bit solemn, and decided that I wasn’t a threat. She was a large shepherd type dog, blackish-grey in appearance, and appeared to be very independent, meaning the type of being who has been on their own for a while, if not mostly psychologically and emotionally.
I tried to get her to play a little bit, but she didn’t seem all that interested. Like many dogs who are strays or who balance their time outdoors and sleeping in a parking lot with a security guard shack, she seemed to have been through some hard times.
I made it a point to bring her some food out a few days later after breakfast, sneaking out some hard-boiled eggs with me. I fed them to her, but she spit out the egg whites and was only interested in the yolk. Well, it wasn’t much, but I decided I’d bring some cold-cuts next time. We walked around the area a bit, exploring the slightly wooded area in the rear of the hotel.
We walked over to the parking lot and I met one of the attendants, an older man who was pretty friendly and cool. I asked what the dog’s name was and he exclaimed “Princessa”. That was a nice name for her, I thought. Seeing how she liked to just sit or lay on the ground between cars in the lot, I thought she could use a blanket or something so I bought her one when I was at the Belarussian equivalent of Wal Mart that week and bid farewell when it was time for me to jet.
In November of 2019, I was in Kiev, Ukraine staying at an interesting hotel, to say the least, on the west side of the capitol of the country. You had to walk through a practical maze, both up stairs, then down stairs, within the same building, just to get to your room. There was no 24 hour front desk either. Before you actually got to the building’s entry, you had to walk down an alley way that fed into a back parking lot where there was a garage that would be open during the day for car repair, with a small security guard post in the corner. At the opposite end of the lot was a dog house and a large dog chained up who stayed outside every night, even during the freezing cold, did not get walked or much attention from what I could tell, and would bark angrily at anyone who passed by. The security guards, a couple of old guys, would treat you like a criminal when you walked by.
I felt really sorry for the dog so one day when I was shopping for food I bought him a big long sausage/salami roll. When I arrived in the lot near the hotel entrance, I stopped and started reaching into my bag as the dog barked at me, but then he stopped curiously when I told him “I got something for you”. One of the old men ran out and started yelling at me, questioning me. I can’t remember what I told him, I might of half-ignored him and half-smarted off to him, but I took the metal retaining piece off the end of the roll of meat and slid it all the way across the lot like I was bowling, and the dog looked to be as surprised as can be. He slowly walked up to the meat and began eating it. He never really barked at me much after that, but I felt really sorry for him anyway and made sure to point out on my hotel review of the business that someone was guilty of animal neglect and I didn’t recommend anyone else to stay there since they are ok with animal cruelty.
In January of 2020, I found myself just outside of Belgrade, Serbia in Zemun staying in a small 3-room house on a family’s property. The house was very small and not well-insulated or heated so I usually wore long pants, 2 pairs of socks and 2 jackets on top of 2 shirts while I was there.
Sure, it’s winter in Serbia and I’m freezing my butt off in this house, but at around $24/night it allowed me a lot of privacy and a place where I could work on music for a month.
A large, golden-colored Labrador/St. Bernard mix named “Medo” and a husky from next door would come and visit me regularly. The female Husky was hyper aggressive and likely insane, and she would constantly bother Medo to the point where she wasn’t playing at all, but just trying to attack and bother Medo to the point where she could get all the attention. She would also snap at me and would escalate if you tapped her on her nose for being too aggressive, so I would try to avoid dealing with her when possible.
I would let Medo into the small house I was staying at to get away from the Husky and to hang out with him a little. There was also a screen window on the large kitchen window in which a hole had been partially scratched or chewed out, and the hole only got larger in the month I stayed there. See, I had to open the window whenever I cooked meals because the kitchen had no other ventilation, so sure enough just about every time I made food old Medo would show up and perch his front paws up on the window sill and bark and look in, trying to get a sniff and hopefully a bite.
Me being a softy, I would throw a few bites of the egg, ham and chees omelette or the hamburger in the cheeseburger and Brussels sprout casserole I would often make out to Medo, and he would eat it quickly with delight.
What’s funny is the hole time, I didn’t even know it was the neighbor’s dog. I thought it was the property owner’s dog, but nope it belonged to the household next door. The fence on the property was only partial, and the property owner let the dogs run free back and forth to do as they chose. The owner’s dog would sometimes come down, an older, medium-small sized dog, but it would constantly get attacked and bothered by the crazy Husky most of the time.
Medo would check on me when I woke up, as I’d often share bits of a banana with him which he really enjoyed, and he’d come back in the afternoon to play some fetch with a stick. Then of course he’d make an appearance at dinner when he could smell what was cooking.
I started calling Medo “Honey Bear” as in Serbian, “medo” means honey and he was about as big as a bear, plus he was always up for some banana slices and he was pretty affectionate, though play time usually resulted in him wanting to gnaw anything in his face’s vicinity. This usually included the blanket on the bed in the spare bedroom of the house when I would sit with him and chill in there, and of course my arm when my hand was near his chompers.
One Saturday night he came over late and I was drinking Scotch. I am not really a big drinker but usually once a week in Serbia I’d down a bottle of Johnny Walker Red between a couple of nights as my only real form of partying. Old Honey Bear showed up and we hung out all night drinking, snacking away and just goofing off outside in the patio. Ok, I drank, he didn’t, but still.
3 am came around, and I was sleepy and tired so I just stumbled into the main bedroom to turn in for the night. Medo followed me in, but I said “sorry buddy, you can’t sleep in here”, so Medo just went to the spare bedroom and got into bed and went to sleep all by himself. It was funny because I woke up at about 6 or 7 am and thought maybe I should let him out of the house to go back to his family because they might be wondering where he was. Still it was humorous to me that Medo and I had been hanging out drinking all night and he just crashed at my place like a couple of regular dudes when it was time to sleep, and there was no lengthy decision making about sleeping arrangements, it was just sort of normal and happened.
It was sad the morning I left Serbia too, as Medo came around early that morning when it was still dark and my ride was picking me up to take me to the airport.
Dogs are incredibly sophisticated and sensitive, he saw me packing up my bags and getting ready to walk out the door and I could tell he knew I was going away, or that this was different from all the other times I had left the grounds and gone through the gate only to return a few hours later. There was something about his spirit that morning that revealed his concerned awareness of me leaving which touched my soul.
I got down and gave him a big hug and told him “I gotta go. God bless you buddy, I’ll see you in Heaven, Honey Bear.”
That’s right, the all-knowing media whom we have grown to love and trust (sarcasm intended) are now saying that bed bug populations and bites have increased, because, if you can believe them, people are more reluctant to let professional pest control into their homes at a time when fear is reaching a fever pitch.
Bed Bug Bites Keeping People Awake at Night
Often times, people have no awareness that they’ve been bitten, as the bites usually cause no pain and are not dangerous. They’re usually discovered when people awake to large red bites in groups of 4 or 5 on their exposed skin from the night before, frequently bringing a nasty rash with them to wreak havoc on the epidermis and a bed bug victim’s mental health.
In addition to the discomfort they cause, they can cause unsightly welts, marks, and even leave scars if scratched and cause allergic reactions and an infection, though you won’t likely feel them biting you when it happens.
What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?
Usually bed bugs look brown but they can also appear to be black or white. If they appear white or clear in complexion, there’s a chance they just haven’t eaten a blood meal from a human host. They can bite your pets like dogs or cats, but it’s usually uncommon as they prefer waiting in your bedroom under your mattress or bed frame, then come out during the night to feast, preferring a nocturnal lifestyle.
They can come in all sizes, big and small. The large bed bugs, usually no bigger than the fingernail on your pinkie finger, are developed adults who have likely already bitten you, and finding them is the easiest, though it still requires a diligent search. The bed bug eggs are much harder to discover, and you’ll have to closely examine your bed and surrounding area, carefully inspecting for clusters in hard to reach- and see- areas.
Their bites are not contagious, but bed bugs will definitely hitchhike from one host to another, or travel between the shared walls of apartment buildings, making them extremely difficult when it comes time to effective removal and treatment. This is part of the reason why the cost of getting rid of bed bugs averages $900 – $1200 if you choose to go with a bed bug exterminator.
Immediate and Cheap Relief from Itchy Bed Bug Bites
First, you’re going to have to wash all your clothes and dry them on high heat. Some people even keep their affected clothes in trash bags and set them outside for a period of time. Then, to save money, you might want to consider a DIY bed bug solution, as this can potentially save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars in the long run.
While the best cure for bed bugs is preventing them in the first place, something people often turn to in the interim is an anti-itch bed bug gel or cream.
Bed Bug Sprays Don’t Work to Kill the Eggs
Just be careful not to invest too much time in a bed bug spray that only kills on contact, as you may gain a false sense of security only to wake up again in the near future covered in more annoying and painful sores. Bed bugs do shed their skin as they grow in size and number, so finding their old shells lying around a splotchy patch of black, brown and red stains on the mattress are almost a sure sign that you’ve got an infestation.
It’s that time of year again, when the Spring season brings with it a rejuvenation of life on the planet- the trees and the leaves, grass, the forests and woodland creatures- and of course, bed bugs.
But have no fear, we are going to give you the vital info on bedbugs today so that you and your family can sleep bed bug bite-free in 2020.
Bed Bugs are Back
Yes, for some, it might seem as if they’d never left, especially if you’ve checked the Power Rankings on which cities top the U.S.A.’s top 50 cities with bed bugs list. The usual suspects include large metropolitan areas and cities, residences and hotels ranging from 1 – 5 Stars, and even government buildings, schools, subway trains, and even movie theatres.
One of the most common ways you get bed bugs in your home is by another student at school that your child has classes with. As it stands now, there is no official policy on what a school administration will do to a student suspected of carrying around bed bug hitchhikers, but they usually do not remove them from class or send them home.
Ok, Bed Bugs can Happen to Anyone, Now What?
Now that you know you probably have bed bugs (just kidding), but let’s assume that you do for the sake of pest prevention and removal, it’s time to take the important steps toward identifying where they hide, then getting rid of them.
First, while bed bugs don’t have a preference on where they like to live, the majority of bed bug infestations are found in the bed, mattress edges, and between the box spring and the mattress or bed frame.
These stains are indicative of blood, feces, the exoskeleton shells they shed as the progress in age and size, and even eggs. Of course, you probably already noticed the big red itchy bites, which is usually a dead ringer.
Get Rid of the Bed Bugs!
One of the best things you can do whether or not you have bed bugs is to tidy up and organize everything as if your in-laws were coming to town. Vacuum, mop, clean, wipe down, and sanitize the entire home as well as the bedrooms and living rooms.
Since bed bugs usually only like to come out at night, you’ll be giving them fewer hiding spots to hang around. Inspecting your entire bed, pulling it apart to its base components, and shining a flashlight in the hard to see places will give you an idea. Another great thing you can do is to lay down a preventative layer of all natural bed bug killer like they have at http://www.defensive-end.com.
The product stays good forever as long as it’s kept dry. It is usually best, cheapest, safest and easiest way to kill bed bugs, discourage their presences, and to try the easiest and most affordable solutions first.
Since DDT was made illegal almost 50 years by governments around the world for a pesticide, our public officials, weighed down by apathy and over-regulation of even safe, natural (and edible) insecticides, have ultimately failed to let newcomers to the market with more innovative approaches and methods of marketing consistent with the 21st Century. For now, that means the bed bugs are probably gonna bite.
You make a reservation on Airbnb, plan your trip, contact the host of the property, and show up with positive expectations only to end up sorely disappointed?
From getting bed bugs at an Airbnb to untrustworthy hosts trying to get you to pay extra money once you arrive, to hosts that write false reviews about you as a guest because of their own personal issues- it seems that there really are a lot of scenarios that might motivate you to post your own anecdote over at AirbnbHell.com.
And of course, if you raise a concern over an issue like bed bugs to your Airbnb host, it could result in the host defaming you on the site to lower your reputation score for future bookings.
The New Sharing Economy of Airbnb and Uber Could Mean More Bed Bugs- or Even Coronavirus
While many unsuspecting people see the rise of Airbnb as a good thing, the reality is there has been massive inflation in asset classes due to central bank stimulus in the economy since 2008– with no end in sight either.
This has caused people to want to hang onto their old apartment, house or condo instead of selling it, to ride up the valuation in price while making money charging rents, and thus driving up the price of rents, hotel rooms, and purchasing a home for first time buyers.
At the same time, most people who save their money are penalized with an interest rate for their savings account that does not keep up with unofficial inflation, and barely with official inflation.
So, people turn to Airbnb, and Uber too.
Uber, the ride hailing service is also prone to scams, frauds, and customer service disasters, as well as creating a “shared” environment where the car itself becomes a giant safe haven for bed bugs, bacteria, and even viruses like the Coronavirus which is currently expanding across the globe.
Considering that, like a hotel, an Airbnb sees a lot of traffic from a potentially large cross section of the world demographic all but guarantees exposure to exotic bacteria, viruses, insects- and other nightmare experiences- but does not carry the same standards as a 5-Star hotel, it’s no wonder people are giving up using the online service after a bad experience.
Final Word on Airbnb and Bed Bugs
So if you bring home uninvited guests next time after your Airbnb stay and have a bed bug infestation, or even if you’re a host and a guest brought them into your home, the outcome is the same: You’re going to need to get rid of bed bugs sooner or later.
For an affordable solution against bed bugs that’s safe and natural, visit Defensive-end.com and explore the options that’s best for your home. You’re bound to save money and have the best shot at getting rid of the nasty little bedbugs before having to resort to an expensive exterminator.
In addition, the product they offer stays good as long as kept dry, so it can provide some active prevention measures indefinitely into the future for you as well.
The reason I’m not shocked by this news is because I have long suspected a link between body mass, neck size, activity level, and snoring/sleep apnea.
This is why NFL Hall of Fame tackle Reggie White passed away, heart problems likely exacerbated by sleep apnea relaated to his being “a big guy”, and probably the decreased activity level once he retired from professional football.
Sleep apnea and snoring work similarly- your airway gets blocked and your lungs cannot get sufficient air. This leads to stopping breathing several times a night while you sleep. For severe apnea patients, this can mean more than 100 apnea episodes a night.
The cumulative effect over time is the greater potential for heart disease, heart attacks, stroke, cardiac arrhythmia, and premature death. Since most of America is either overweight and almost 33% are technically obese, you can understand why so many millions of people have a snoring problem, if not sleep apnea.
Is CPAP the best choice for Snoring and Sleep Apnea
The doctors at Harvard said that if people were to lose just 10% of their body weight, then the majority of these heart problems related to snoring would simply go away.
Since we already know most people aren’t going to do that, here’s what we do know.
Over half of all people that get a CPAP end up quitting and not using it, not because they no longer need it, but they find the process to be uncomfortable or inconvenient. And this is how they found Reggie White when he had passed, in his bed with his CPAP lying next to him, not in use.
What about the People who use their CPAP Every Night?
Some people report back that CPAP is the best thing that’s ever happened to them. Maybe it is, since most of them will refuse to change their diets and exercise regimens- or begin one.
But maybe, just using a machine that forces air down your throat at night isn’t really solving the problem, but is instead making you more comfortable as you head into the golden years where bodies that weren’t taken care of start to break down at a rapid pace.
In addition to this, aside from weight loss which of course is the most important aspect in the majority of snoring and sleep apnea cases, there are alternatives out there to CPAP like mouthpieces and mouthguards.
Most people with snoring could do well to check out some stop snoring mouthpieces, cut down on the sugary drinks, and get outside for a walk or a run 2 – 3 times a week for starters.
Other Risk Factors in Snoring and Sleep Apnea
Other factors that play a role in people stopping breathing during their sleep is alcohol and drugs- even the prescribed ones. But usually, when you hear a news story about some young celebrity dying a tragic death before their time, it usually involves alcohol, xanax, and painkillers.
So it’s good to keep all that in mind as well.
The most important thing to do in my opinion (this is not medical advice): understand the risk factors and address them one by one without becoming dependent on a machine to force air down your throat.
I realize we live in a time where if people want to lose weight, they might try to get lap band surgery to eliminate the ability to eat more than a few bites at a time, but when you can simply exercise self-control and get on with a free and independent existence, why wouldn’t you make the simple and best choice?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is the non-psychoactive component of the cannabis plant. It is now legal in the entire United States, and it does not have the same effect on you as marijuana. The CBD market has grown rapidly since the government has made CBD legal in just the last 5 – 10 years starting with the states.
Yes, Harvard has known about this and reported it for years. So have other Universities in Spain and even Tel Aviv. The simple fact is, the cancer treatment industry is billions and trillions of dollars and cannabis is essentially a weed that you can grow in your backyard.
If it’s good for the kids, then it’s gotta be legal, right? Well, I wish it were that easy, but you already know it isn’t. The fact is CBD is good for so many things and can even help patients on existing medications to regain their appetites or sleep better at night, reduce pain, etc. While the government and doctors are very slow to acknowledge any real benefit of CBD or cannabis, it is rooted mainly in their own self-interest to control access to cures and treatments.
Conditions that CBD can help
CBD is great for treating chronic pain because it is natural and not opiate or opioid based, not addictive, and the body does not create a higher tolerance with each use.
Personally, I have used both CBD and cannabis with THC, and I can speak very highly of them, no pun intended. With cannabis I can actually sit down and calmly mete out work on my computer, I can have some directly before a long run, and it reduces my interest in consuming alcohol. On top of that, it gives me a feeling of general ease and relaxation that lasts for a long time even if I don’t necessarily feel “high” that I lack without it.
I have a history of anxiety and depression, and cannabis just seems to shut out a lot of the negative recurring thoughts that I have on a regular basis. At the end of the day, only you can determine if CBD oil is a benefit to your life. With nothing to lose, what would you gain if you tried it and it made your life better? Good luck
What’s the Real Story for Retirees When It Comes to the Economy?
With so many stories and all the static in the daily news cycle, it’s often hard to tell the real direction of the US and global economy. That’s why we like to look at the facts, and nothing more. Here’s some recent happening in the financial and economic world that just show once more that the next recession is practically already here and it’s time for retirees to prepare now.
84 percent of CFOs surveyed think there will be a recession by 2021. The survey surprised the surveyors when so many CFOs were in close agreement that, if not sooner, a recession would be here by 2021. A global economic slowdown, however, is taking place in the United States and the Western world along with Asia.
Fewer young Americans get driver’s licenses these days. While getting a driver’s license used to be as American as moon landings and baseball, Generation Z now enrolls in later-age driver’s education and fewer go to the DMV to get that all-coveted freedom pass. With Uber, Lyft, and limited resources and income to include insourcing menial wage jobs to foreigners and immigrant workers (some illegal), the average 16-year-old American now competes heavily with men twice their age who are willing to do backflips for the same job.
Labor market supply gluts are keeping wages weak. Again, globalization reveals its true face, with many Americans later entering the workforce for jobs that pay less and offer less hours, while women joining the workforce and more than doubling the labor market in massive amounts of immigrants, driving down labor prices since the 1970s.
Real Inflation Could Eat Away More than Just Retirees Fixed Income Distributions
Actual (unofficial) inflation and CPI are actually around 7-10%. The government has consistently changed the way it keeps tabs on metrics such as inflation and the CPI (consumer price index), even going so far to ignore the cost of basic goods because, at the end of the day, the Federal Reserve is not there to do anything but protect the global banking elite and keep Wall St looking good.
This is also one of the reasons getting a Gold IRA could be very beneficial to a newly made retiree or someone with an old 401k they need to convert into an IRA. Readers should check out thebestgoldirarolloverguide.net to get a free Gold IRA rollover and investing kit.
Millennials can’t afford to buy homes, have too much debt and not enough good jobs. With a shortage of good jobs, millennials graduate university with enormous student loan debt that many will never be able to reimburse working a “normal” job. I once met a restaurant worker who told me she had over $100 K in student debt when I waited for tables. When I heard that, I almost collapsed and she said it as casually as you might ask for a napkin at lunchtime.
With 10,000 people becoming 64 each day over the next few years, a baby boomer will benefit from being mentally and psychologically prepared to protect their investments, 401k and IRA as long as they can. Ensure that your investments are more severely divided into lower risk assets once you leave the workforce.
Whatever You Do to Protect Your Retirement, Do Something to Protect Your 401K or IRA!