Last September I told how we (temporarily) left Miami and flew to Berlin. That’s why I wanted to give an update on our life situation, as it was several months ago.
In short, we currently live in hotels – in this post, I’m going to talk about why we live in hotels, why I’m comfortable with this decision (given the coronavirus), and why I’ve been waiting until now to share that.
Why we traveled to Germany in September 2020
To provide a little background knowledge, we gave up our apartment in Miami in September 2020 and flew to Berlin (I have dual citizenship). Why?
- While my mother lives in Florida, she was in Germany for a few months and we wanted to be able to spend time with her; She had just recovered from 18 rounds of chemotherapy and two surgeries after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2019 just for the coronavirus to appear. Understandably, for the first time in years, she wanted to see family again and also spend time somewhere she felt safer
- Ford and I bought a house in Miami and was supposed to be a few months before closing, so the plan was to go to Germany for a couple of months and then we would go back and move straight to our new location
- Ford has been obsessed with learning German since last summer and has been taking language courses throughout our time in Germany
We were ultimately happy with our decision to spend some time in Germany – we had a good time with my mother, Ford has improved their German a lot, and in general we thought about maybe one day we could live in Germany full-time .
We hope that we can come back in the future (if the weather and the coronavirus allow it), as Ford wants to register for German courses again (he has taken distance learning in the meantime).
We had an incredible time with my mother in Germany
Why we left Germany at the end of 2020
In short, we decided to leave Germany at the end of November 2020. Why did we make this decision?
- The place we bought in Miami should be ready for occupancy before the end of 2020 (which already allowed for some significant delays) but due to the joy of building we still don’t live there, and this looks like it probably will It will take a few more months before we can move in
- My mother also returned to the US as she continues to deal with her health situation and we wanted to be closer to her
- After Germany was completely blocked and the reality of the German winters was reached, not much kept us in Germany at that point
- If we stayed longer we would have had to get Ford a visa; While we planned to do so, given the complications and limited upside potential, we decided against it
Germany is pretty, but the winters are gloomy
Why we live in hotels now
At this point we were trying to decide our next step. The natural choice would have been to just try to temporarily rent a space in Miami as this is our “home”. However:
- We really would rather not be in Miami as there are no restrictions whatsoever
- Due to the lack of restrictions and the fact that everything is open, Miami is crowded and it was not easy to find something decent
- We didn’t know how long it would be before our new place would be ready, and renting with an unknown end date isn’t exactly ideal
Then we considered renting a space elsewhere, but we ran into the issues you would expect – very little inventory anywhere where warm weather and / or the ability to be outside.
At that point, I suggested the concept to Ford (well, and Winston) of moving to hotels, at least as a trial. I lived in hotels full-time when I met Ford and I loved it. While it doesn’t seem intuitive, I thought this might be a surprisingly decent idea:
- This gave us a lot of flexibility regarding our potential move-in date and also gave us flexibility as the pandemic continued to develop
- I wasn’t sure we’d be really comfortable in hotels, but the nice thing is that we can try and change our course at any time if it doesn’t feel right
- The economy made sense as World of Hyatt had some phenomenal promotions; Additionally, I’m getting closer and closer to World of Hyatt Globalist lifelong status (which has tangible benefits). So if I’m going to spend money to live anywhere, that might as well be one of them
“Dad, are we lifelong globalists and can we go home?”
Why I felt comfortable in hotels
I have a feeling that when discussing coronavirus, nuances are often lost. That point was really driven home for me late last year when a Facebook friend posted a picture of his (indoor) Thanksgiving dining table, which must have been attended by 20 people, with the badge “Stay Home Save Lives” .
Similarly, I have the feeling that there is often no reasonable middle ground between the extreme “don’t leave your house” and the extreme “I am against the mask and vaccine and open everything up to 100%”.
Since the first lockdown about a year ago (which I fully supported) I’ve made my position pretty clear – I think coronavirus is extremely serious, I don’t want to get coronavirus and most importantly, I don’t want other (more susceptible) people to coronavirus to get. So my approach was as follows:
- I wear masks in public, even if this is not required. It’s such a small and simple thing, and it works
- I avoid social and close physical interaction with others; To be fair, I’m an introvert, so that wasn’t a big sacrifice for me 😉
- I try to use common sense and not put myself in situations where I feel uncomfortable. I see how coronavirus spreads the most
- We are trying very hard not to get a coronavirus. Ford and I didn’t test positive (even for antibodies), and neither did anyone in our family; Fortunately, everyone else in our family is vaccinated at this point
We looked for hotels that are pet friendly and have good suite upgrades
With this in mind, I was very pleased with our decision to move into hotels. While I’ll talk more about the specific hotels we’ve stayed in in separate review posts, I’d like to share some general thoughts:
- Most of the hotels we’ve stayed in have been extremely empty, so I feel much more comfortable there than in the almost fully occupied apartment building we’ve lived in before
- Our choice of travel destinations and hotels was more dependent on where we can get a suite that offers a comfortable living situation and where we feel safest than where we actually want to be as a “visitor”.
- For us, a hotel is just another form of accommodation, and we mostly ordered food through UberEats or Postmates
- We limited how much we moved. We usually stay in a hotel for several weeks rather than several days
- We miss a lot of the comforts of home – Winston certainly misses more space, I miss Ford’s recently acquired cooking skills, and there’s something nice about the consistency of having a home
- That being said, I was pleasantly surprised by what I learned from all of this – I have a new favorite upscale hotel chain, I’ve fallen in love with a couple of cities I’ve never been to, and I have a new least popular hotel in the world world
Very empty hotels usually have very empty gyms!
Why I haven’t shared this until now
I’ve been living in hotels for a few months now. Why haven’t I written about it explicitly yet? There are a few reasons to be honest.
For now, I’d rather not go into any further details publicly, but I’ve been uncomfortable lately (or right now) sharing my location. At the moment I am writing about things after the fact. The joys of the internet …
In addition, the sound just didn’t feel right. Suffice it to say that being a travel blogger is an awkward time. I’m comfortable with what we’ve done, and personally I wouldn’t stop anyone from doing the same. However, I also recognize the following:
- Reviewing these types of experiences comes with a certain level of responsibility as people ultimately read what they want to read. I don’t want to post a review of a place just to encourage someone to go there without taking precautions or using common sense
- In all honesty, I think that discussions about travel and coronavirus were pretty toxic. Some people wanted to refer to anyone who admits they had left home as a “super-spreader.”
The good news is, I hope we turn a corner here. Vaccination is becoming widespread (at least in the US), and hopefully, within a few months, people can travel the way they want without major restrictions, at least within the US. I look forward to sharing my experiences over the past few months and hope you will find them useful.
We have been living in hotels for several months due to a variety of factors – the most important of which is a badly delayed new home. Given our situation, this turned out to be a good option for us as we felt extremely safe (since hotels in places we stayed were mostly empty), the economy made sense and this has given us valuable ones Flexibility.
I will be writing several hotel reviews in the coming days and weeks highlighting some of the places we have stayed in. So stay tuned as I have some new favorites and some new least preferred hotels.