Photo Credit: @eleven8 | Instagram
Airbnb Gave Me A Mini Cooper And Sent Me Off The Grid - Here's How It Went
Earlier this month, Airbnb teamed with MINI USA to offer travelers who were itching to get away from home an opportunity to escape while safely social distancing. The trip included a free MINI Cooper rental and a 3-night stay at a tiny house in New York or California for just $1 per night. I got the opportunity to experience this for myself. Is going off-the-grid worth it?
It was a Friday when the Airbnb team dropped off a blue MINI Cooper Convertible for me to embark on a 150-mile road trip to Twentynine Palms, CA. Having only lived in California for three years, Twentynine Palms was an area that I was not previously familiar with. Home to a marine corps base and a Mission Indians of California reservation, Twentynine Palms is a fairly quiet, semi-secluded area, tucked away in a desert and surrounded by mountains.
I admit I didn’t know what to expect before my trip. When I think of Black girls camping in remote areas, my mind immediately goes to thoughts of horror movies like The Hills Have Eyes. Would this be the day that I stumble upon the wrong gas station and end up dead? Would I find myself in the middle of nowhere with no electricity, no civilization in sight, no way to get home? What I encountered was much to my surprise.
Although the home was off the beaten path, it was still incredibly close to town. There were plenty of restaurants, gas stations, a hospital, police station, and shops nearby, which made eased the feeling of being secluded in the middle of nowhere.
Sidenote: I found myself dining at JT Country Kitchen every day for breakfast. You know I like to eat and their Big Ass Pancakes were to die for!
Inside the tiny house, was the best part of the experience. It was a quaint home with just enough tech and modern design to make any city girl feel comfortable in the desert.
The tiny house featured a spacious living room/dining area with a loft-style bedroom overhead. There was a blue-lit toilet/bidet in the bathroom and a separate shower across the hall with a rain head, stone seat, and a large window showcases a beautiful view of the mountains. Best of all, it was a solar-powered smart home which allowed me to control the lights, air conditioning, window shades, and music all from the touch of a button.
In a disconnected part of the home, there was an outdoors bedroom, perfect for the camper who wanted to stargaze at night.
I found the area to be very tranquil. I found peace in being able to enjoy the outdoors and get some work done. Being away from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles for a moment was something I didn’t know I needed.
I regret not going hiking or getting any use out of the campfire area, but I definitely enjoyed lounging in the hammock every day.
I was never one who considered myself the outdoorsy type but something about being in the desert does it for you. The part I loved most about Twentynine Palms is that, as a Black woman, I felt safe there. It wasn’t The Hills Have Eyes at all. In surrounding areas, and businesses nearby, I would see Black Lives Matter and Biden/Kamala yard signs planted. The “Welcome To Joshua Tree” sign featured ample Black faces. Although the area was primarily white, I did see a few Black people, LGBTQ included, all being treated with respect. It didn’t feel like I had stumbled into a Sundown Town and that was a relief.
Would I visit Twentynine Palms again? Most definitely. It was everything an introverted city girl could ask for. It was the perfect mix of outdoorsy meets modern for me. I may even go hiking next time!