Finding love in strange places

I was in a funk yesterday. My mood is changing. The end of this journey is near and that’s good and a bit sad too.

Yesterday’s airbnb stay in West Ocean City was particularly memorable to me as I had just ridden through the some of the most beautiful natural areas of my trip. Farmlands appeared so vast you could hardly see their end. You could smell the fresh tilled soil and manure. And, not hear a car for a half hour. This reminded me of Pennsylvania or areas of New Jersey with the realization that I’m coming closer to the land and home I knew and loved.


Virginia and her husband Don bought a small vacation home with the intention of retiring in the Ocean City area. Their place is in an older development about 8 miles outside of  OC. They have been in the area now since 2007 and have several children, grand children and one great-grandchild. They are about my age at 70.

Their home is modest and not fancy in any way. You might classify it has cluttered but that would give the wrong impression. There are memories and symbols of a family life all around.

In my room alone there is a prayer to St. Francis next to a quote about motherhood. Countless beach and sailing scenes in pink, blue, and coral pastels occupy as much space as they are allowed. I’m particularly drawn to three different paintings of children with their back’s turned looking toward the ocean. The bedroom I occupy has been well used and is very small and crowded with items that to me seem like frozen memories.


Every Airbnb stay is different, and I hope I can elaborate on that at another time. But this one is special to me. Airbnb asks you to rate a place on such factors as style, amenities, cleanliness, etc. I think their rating system is fair but may miss a point.

I spoke to Virginia and Don about living in the area that evening in the comfort of their kitchen like neighbors would. They are officially retired and moved to the area from Baltimore but remain active with their extended family and their own pet store business. Their love for animals was evident in their cat and three Maltese dogs that were dressed in dresses or skirts that were handmade by Virginia.


Our topics ranged widely but mostly it was about family and kids and grandkids and how they would travel as far as Romania for their son and his wife’s wedding. We agreed how wonderful it is to travel and see other places and meet interesting people, even if you don’t understand the language or the history of the place you are visiting. It was one of the most enjoyable conversations I have had on this trip and made me feel at home.

That night going to sleep on soft, well-worn cotton sheets in an old bed, I realized that the clutter, tchotchkes and the conversation made me feel like being at home as a kid. I grew up in a home with clutter, conversation and plenty of love. I suddenly realized that although Virginia was my age she reminded me of my mom who passed away 20 years ago. Maybe it was the stage I’m at with this tour, but I broke down and cried for missing her. That was the best and most I could ask from any Airbnb stay.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there! Love can be anywhere. And, your love can appear in the strangest of places.




Author: paulkiczek

Avid cyclist and walker. Interested in writing about life's observations, retirement, pushing yourself in your later years and living a healthy lifestyle.

2 thoughts on “Finding love in strange places”

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