Since moving to Hong Kong, former Shanghai resident Kevin Lynch has been using Airbnb for every stay in the special administrative region, posting the results on Instagram. He tells Time Out about the highs and lows of his Yearbnb project
How and when did Yearbnb start?
Yearbnb started last summer when I left Shanghai to start a new job in Hong Kong. I had nowhere to stay and I’m terrible at starting campfires and fending off wildlife, so I thought it was best to find a place indoors. I’d heard of Airbnb, and gave it a try.
How does it work?
I travel quite a bit for my job, so when I know what days I’ll be in town, I’ll hop onto Airbnb.com and book away. I pick places that have something I haven’t experienced before. Roommates? Sure, let’s try it. Bunk beds? I call tops... There are a few places that are on boats, and one is in a treehouse. Those are high on my wish list.
What challenges have you met?
The biggest challenges are simple things like remembering the front door code, the floor you’re on, which key is for what, or knowing which train stop to use. Familiarity creates a lot of shortcuts in our lives – more than we realise. But without those shortcuts, you tend to be more observant of what’s around you. The buildings, the neighbourhoods, the people laughing at you for not remembering the front door code.
Which of your stays has been your favourite so far?
My favourite was Stay #8 in SoHo. It had a balcony overlooking the bars on Staunton and a bed that dropped down from the ceiling and hung a metre off the ground. The least favourite was Stay #4 in Wan Chai, which featured bugs on the floor and blood stains on the walls. I wish I was kidding about that.
Have you been tempted to skip the Airbnb option in some places and just check in to a five star hotel?
There are definitely days when I want to mace myself for coming up with the idea. But I don’t have the wardrobe for a five-star hotel, which minimises the temptation. Plus, I really do like the adventure.
Any tips for aspiring Airbnb-ers?
Stay #1 in Sheng Wan didn’t have toilet paper, so I figured that’s just how it’d be. Since then, I’ve been carrying around rolls of toilet paper, yet every place since has been fully stocked. As for things to check out before committing, I’d recommend you don’t do much research. The fun is in dealing with the unpredictability.
To keep track of Kevin’s adventures, follow @yearbnb on Instagram and histumblr account