When I return home from the most magical week of my life in Puerto Rico, I cry for seven days straight. Not constantly, but at least once a day. Each time, it hits me like an avalanche and I can’t believe it’s over.
There is so much love around me in Rincon that it’s hard to let go. It’s bizarre to have all the people you love in one room. There’s so much planning and coordinating and remembering to pack everything, that I don’t even think about everyone actually being together, for us, for the whole week. So when I finally realize that everyone is there for us, my mind can’t process it.
The day of the wedding, I’m a wreck. I’m jittery and nervous and hungry and thirsty and worrying that no one else is enjoying themselves and I can’t believe that today is my wedding day. Prior to the ceremony, we take pictures and I can’t relax. It’s too much. When the pictures are over and I have a little down time, I turn to see everything set up for the ceremony. I can’t believe how beautiful everything looks. It’s too beautiful. My wedding planner, Allison, sees me. “Would you like a glass of water?” Yes, actually, that would be great. Allison hands me a glass of water from the water station she’s made for people as they enter the ceremony. I sit down and take a sip, and the water is divine. Fresh, crisp, lime, and I don’t know what else. It’s the best water I’ve ever drank. Somebody pinch me. I can’t handle this perfect dream.
Friends and family are no doubt excited about the vacation, but they certainly have a lot of questions and concerns leading up to the big week. In fact, they make me want to pull my hair out with all the questions and concerns. But the reaction and appreciation from all our guests is beyond gratifying. It fills me with happiness and purpose, and I want to hold onto that feeling.
Back to the present. Post-wedding, home in North Carolina. The thing that Stephen and I have been planning for an entire year is over. Finished. Completed.
It feels like there’s a hole in my chest. What can I plan next? Maybe it wasn’t the planning I enjoyed – that part is actually quite stressful. But the hosting – that’s the fun part. I loved coming up with an itinerary and mapping it all out and I loved giving people options so that they felt like there was plenty to do (but not that they had to do anything except lay by the pool if they didn’t want to).
Maybe I could host an Airbnb. It would be so much fun to decorate the space, leave guests a note with ‘Things to Do and Places to See’ in the area. I’d love to master the finishing touches: a guest book, nice soap and towels, purified drinking water and maybe even some alcoholic beverages. I suppose I would have to own an apartment that I can rent out if I want to host an Airbnb. I don’t have a spare one of those right now.
…What about hosting an Airbnb Experience?! What would my experience be? That’s easy: a food and wine tour. It would have to be downtown because there’s so many restaurants within walking distance of each other. This could be fun. This is something I naturally do, anyway. Whenever people visit me, no matter where I live, I love to show them around to all my favorite spots. Before Mom and Dad come to visit us in Charlotte, I ask Mom what she would like to do while she’s in town. She sends me a link to a food tour. I look it over and am disappointed in some of the restaurants on the tour. And for how expensive it is, I don’t think it’s worth it. So I make up my own. I have to make everything relatively close to one another because I know Dad won’t want to walk too far (“I thought you said it was just up the road?? How far are we walking here??”) So there’s one place we add to the list that is close, but I’ve never been there. It ends up being disappointing, but everywhere else is awesome (shoutout to Fin & Fino for the best oysters, wine, and bartenders) and we’re able to hit a bunch of places in a short amount of time.
I look up Airbnb Experiences in Wilmington. There’s only eight. Total. (In New York City, there are 210 Food and Drink Experiences, and that’s only one of five sub-categories.) Among the Wilmington Experiences is a Guide to Surfing, Beach Bike and Brews, and a Walking Historical tour. Not a single food tour. This is looking very promising.
Stephen and I head to Toronto for five days. He’s got work conferences, but we’ll call it a mini-honeymoon. While he’s off at meetings, I start my research. Downtown Wilmington restaurants with at least four stars on Yelp. I’m not exactly sure what else I’m looking for – some information about the owners, menu items they’re known for, walking distance to downtown. I compile a list of many establishments and take notes on anything that seems pertinent. I don’t have an angle yet, but if I can create an awesome tour with delicious food and drinks, the other stuff will figure itself out.
While there isn’t another food tour in Wilmington through Airbnb, there is one through a website called Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours. I book two tickets for a Saturday afternoon. It’s time to scope out the competition.