We’re a very happy married couple (well I’m married and she’s happy, haha) lucky enough to be living in the fabulous city of Barcelona. There is me (Phil), Fiona and our two kids aged 3 and 5. I’m English, Fiona is Irish and we met at a work conference in Prague back in 2003, married in 2004, had our 2 kids in Ireland in 2006 and 2008 and moved over here to Barcelona in February 2011 (phew)! We are loving the life we have carved out for ourselves. It’s not all rosy in the garden though, some times have been very tough but we have always come good.
We had an opportunity to move here with the company I was working for at the time and with the economic down turn hitting Ireland hard we decided that whilst the kids were still young this is a wonderful opportunity for all of us and to give it a go…
If you don’t gamble, you can’t win! Right?
We spent about 3 months planning the move and packing up our belongings and booked everything for the move. Then one cold February morning we were driven to the airport to get a flight and move to a city that we had never been to before and where we didn’t speak the language. I can tell you something when we touched down I did panic and think, ‘what are we doing, this is just plane crazy!
So what went wrong?
Sadly the company I moved over with had different ideas about things and after a few months decided to close the ‘new’ Barcelona office and wanted me back in Ireland. My immediate reply, NO WAY PEDRO! We had fallen in love with this city and we had our daughter in a school on the same block as our dream apartment, the sun was shinning and the people we had met were fast becoming friends. So thanks, but no thanks we’ll stay put.
We only just had to worry about how we would put food on the table!! Fiona with all her years of experience in IT quickly realised that there were no jobs here in Spain but as Fiona and the Irish would say ‘sure we’ll be grand’!
When you are in a corner you have one way to go, and thats the fighting route. This is what we did, we looked at every possibility on how to bring money in. We very quickly set up a company using my knowledge of Tourism which would help hotels increase direct revenue. Fiona flew back to Ireland to get trained with our Developer partners. We also built websites for hotels and small businesses.
The ambition and drive was there but the economic downturn held us back growing the Company and hence bringing an income back into the family.
When you move to a city like Barcelona you have a lot of friends and family that want to come and visit. Not complaining but from day one we both always joked that ‘we need to be charging for this’!…Enter Airbnb!
It was the perfect solution, we had a spare room and we needed the income. So we set about getting the the room painted and get some additional furniture and listed it on airbnb. It was up live for 4 days before our first booking from our wonderful friends Jan and Weronika came though and thats when it all started..
We are now here after hosting over 500 people and looking forward to sharing our expertise in hosting and sharing some stories with fellow airbnb’rs