Monthly Archive: February 2015

Housekeeping Update: Staying on Task

Quick update: I decided to move the Amazing Airbnb series to Pinterest, so it doesn’t clutter up the main blog. I want to keep a balance of code/tech posts and travel/journeys posts here, and I anticipate more technology-focused posts in the months ahead. If you’re as obsessed with Airbnb as I am, you can follow my dedicated board on Pinterest here.

More coming soon!

Amazing Airbnb Number 2 – Reykjavik, Iceland

Today’s Amazing Airbnb is definitely on my someday list. I love Iceland, though I haven’t been to Reykjavik since 2006. Many apartments in Reykjavik are relatively expensive, but this one is affordable and atmospheric. It reminds me of a wooden ship near the ocean.

Cozy 101 Reykjavík apartment in Reykjavik

A cozy little apartment with an ocean veiw. Located on Reykjavíks main shopping and nightclub street in the heart of town. All the main bars and restaurants are within a walking distance from the apartment. There is a supermarket, swimmingpool, tourist information and bus terminal within a 5 minute walking radius. View all listings in Reykjavik

As a quick note, here are the criteria for an Amazing Airbnb:

  1. Relatively affordable for the area (typically $70 or less per night) or monthly rate less than $1700 USD;
  2. Beautiful and/or particularly atmospheric or interesting;
  3. Great reviews of the place and the host.

Amazing Airbnb Number 1

This series of posts will be dedicated to the most amazing, yet budget-minded Airbnbs I’ve found in my obsessive browsing of that site. I’ve stayed at some of these places; others are just on my personal someday list. Unlike most Airbnb best-of lists, all of them are relatively affordable.

Today’s Amazing Airbnb is an apartment on an organic farm in Tuscany. I stayed here and it was a great three weeks. There are two other apartments on the farm as well, but this one was my favorite:

Organic farm hills of Florence 3pax in Incisa, Florence

Apartment in Incisa, Florence, Italy. Poderaccio farm is nestled in the hills between Chianti and Valdarno Superiore, just half an hour from Florence. The guest house is a 18th century farmhouse divided into 4 apartments, renewed in 2012 using greebuilding materials. We only use rene… View all listings in Incisa, Florence

Carless in L.A. and Loving It

I decided to try Medium again. Here is my second post on this beautiful essay site:

I Have No Car in L.A. and It’s Awesome

I’m not sure how it’s going to work for me, but I’ve found a publication I like there and I love writing in their interface, so I’ll probably do it from time to time.

TL;DR: I decided to use Uber and Lyft instead of renting a car in L.A. It rocks, even in Car City.

The Art of Imperfection

I took art classes in high school with an amazing teacher. Several of my classmates became illustrators.

I didn’t. I studied journalism instead. But I never forgot the most important lesson from Mr. Hess.

I messed up an art project during my senior year. I’d spent weeks outlining a harbor scene in pencil, then shading it in colored pencil, and I’d just done something immensely stupid. I zig-zagged a dark red pencil across the sun’s rays because I wasn’t paying attention. It was ruined.

Mr. Hess didn’t seem upset. He was zen calm. “Just keep working on it,” he said. I tried to explain that it was a waste of time to keep working on it, because it was ruined. He wouldn’t listen.

“Find a way to integrate it with your artwork,” he said.

I didn’t want to integrate it. It was a mistake, that giant red slash, and I wanted to go back in time and remove it and have my beautiful sun rising over the ocean, serene and perfect.

That was impossible. So I sat down in a chair and picked up my pencils and tried to figure out what the heck to do now. I started doodling around with the red slash, tracing a pencil lightly over it. I shaded a nearby ray darker, the one most affected by the slash, until it was nearly red. I traced some letters into another ray of the sun, erasing where I could and blending where I couldn’t.

In the end, my art project won an award at the year-end show. It was much better than my initial, bland vision of a serene sun rising over a serene sea. It was a chaotic scene, with dark orange and red and yellow rays alternating, and messages engraved in them spiraling out toward the edge of the canvas.

Mr. Hess was right. It’s impossible to mess up an art project if you keep working on it. Even if you tear the paper in half, that’s just a new starting point. You always arrive at another place. Sometimes it’s better. Sometimes it’s worse. It’s life. And it doesn’t become great through perfection and planning.