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Airbnb cat serves as Appalachian Trail guide for guests, earning nickname 'the concierge'

Cinamen will even warn people when they're straying from the path.

Sebastian S. Cocioba/X (used with permission)

Cinamen makes sure guests don't get lost on the trail.

Imagine going out for a hike along the Appalachian Trail when you find yourself accompanied by an orange tabby cat, who not only walks along with you but lets you know when you've strayed off the beaten path.

That's what happened to Sebastian Cocioba when he and his partner stayed at an Airbnb in Phillipstown, New York.

"Went with my partner upstate and the AirBnB host's cat took us for a guided hike along the Appalachian trail," he wrote on X. "Apparently this is what she does with every guest. She would complain when we took a wrong turn off the trail and knew the way back."

"Amazing cat," he added. "Would apocalypse with."


What Cocioba didn't know at the time was that the cat wasn't a she but a he. He's 8 years old, his name is Cinamen, and according to his owner, Trisha Mulligan, this is just what he does.

“I call him the concierge, because he just loves people,” Mulligan told Backpacker magazine. “You know, each color, they have different personalities. And there’s something about an orange cat that’s very social, and we have a very social cat.”

Other guests have left reviews sharing their adventures with Cinamen and some have shared with Mulligan how he kept them from getting lost on the trail. Some people even return to the Airbnb just to have Cinamen be their trail guide.

“There’s this one guy, this Russian guy who comes back regularly. He never leaves reviews, but he always sends me pictures—he’s a photographer—and he books because he wants to be with Cinamen and he wants to do the trail with Cinamen,” said Mulligan.

Of course, Cinamen is a cat, and in typical cat fashion, he cannot be coerced into anything. Mulligan said that he comes by his guiding behavior naturally—no training involved—but there's no guarantee that he's going to join anyone on a hike. (Or that he's going to refrain from judging you if you go too slow, as Cocioba can attest with his "camera roll full of judgment.")

People love the idea of having a cat as a tour guide.

"Pretty sure the cat is the host there," wrote one person.

"Please drop the bnb so I can book them for a year just me n the travel cat," wrote another.

"That cat was originally a human and is desperately seeking for one of the guest to take a hint and complete the necessary ritual to transform it back," shared another.

Even Airbnb weighed in with "the purrfect trail guide."

Some people shared that they've had similar experience with Airbnb host's pets in other places.

"My daughter and her bffs had the same experience with their AirBnB's dog! Apparently the dog is the unofficial tour guide and person herder--not only did she lead them to a couple of cool waterfalls but she kept everyone together and not wandering off," shared one commenter.

"My family & I once went for a walk and were joined by Labrador who'd been at end of his driveway," wrote another. "We weren't sure of route and ended up following the dog. We did a full circular walk back to the dog's house. Later met the owner who said dog often did this when he fancied a walk."

"I remember when we toured kasteel de haar in the netherlands, there was a cat who toured us around the grounds too," shared another.

Perhaps that should be a new feature hosts can tout on their Airbnb listings: "Pet tour guide provided." Judging by people's responses to Cinamen, it could be a big draw.

You can find Cinamen's listing on Airbnb here.


A young gay couple laying in bed.

There is a subtle form of prejudice that LGBTQ couples face when their relationships aren’t seen as viable or genuinely loving as heterosexuals. Some may believe that LGBTQ attraction is purely sexual or that their relationships are somehow inferior because they aren't "traditional."

The result is that LGBTQ couples can be made to feel that their love is seen as lesser than that enjoyed by straight people.

A 29-year-old gay man felt that his husband’s mother-in-law disrespected their marriage, and her homophobia was so blatant that the couple had to leave a family vacation. A Reddit user, throwaway5289392, went on vacation with his husband at an Airbnb with his family. The group was comprised of five couples—his husband’s three siblings and significant others, and his mother and father-in-law.


When the couple arrived, the mother-in-law pre-determined their bedroom selection. Strangely, the gay couple was given a room with two twin beds instead of a double bed, so they had to sleep separately. The couple tried to bring the beds together, but their headboards were attached to the wall. In contrast, all of the heterosexual couples got to sleep in double beds.

The room selection seemed suspicious to throwaway5289392.

reddit aita, lgbtq couple, family vacations

Young couple laughing in bed.

via Ketut Subiyanto/Pexels

“I asked my [mother-in-law] why she had chosen a house that didn’t have enough double beds to hold all of the couples that were invited, and she told me to stop making a fuss because it wasn’t that big of a deal,” they wrote on the AITA subforum.

Now, the poster could have easily chalked the mother-in-law’s decision to chance, not malice, but her response showed that she harbored some homophobic feelings toward her son and his husband.

“I then asked why she hadn’t mentioned it beforehand, and she rolled her eyes at me, saying that I was overdramatic, a ‘walking stereotype’ and that me not clinging to her son for a little while might be for the best,” he wrote.

A caring mother-in-law would have apologized and tried to find a way to fix the situation. But instead, she called him a “walking stereotype,” referring to the age-old gay drama queen trope. Instead of seeing the situation humanely, she resorted to diminishing him by seeing him as little more than a stereotype.

Also, would the mother-in-law have accused any of her straight kids' spouses of being too clingy?

“Considering she has made some borderline homophobic comments in the past (she claims they’re jokes), I was quite uncomfortable, and based on her remarks, I felt like she had given the room with the single beds to the only gay couple on purpose,” throwaway5289392 wrote.

So, the couple decided to pack their bags and stay in a hotel room a few towns over where they could sleep together. Their decision didn’t sit well with the mother-in-law, who accused the couple of “dividing” the family and ruining the vacation.

vacations, gay couple, reddit aita

A young gay couple watches TV.

via Ketut Subiyanto/Pexels

Throwaway5289392 asked the forum if he was in the wrong for leaving the vacation, and he received overwhelming support.

“From what you've said, it does sound like she intentionally gave ‘the gay couple’ separate beds. You didn't ruin the vacation. Her homophobia did," Rredhead926 wrote.

“If it was not a big thing, MIL could have taken the room herself. She did this on purpose. You handled [her] well,” TinyCost2291 added.

SevenCarrots made the important point that someone who isn’t homophobic would have taken a much more thoughtful approach to the bed situation.

“This woman is hostile towards you and homophobic. A kind, sensitive person would make sure they DIDN'T give the gay couple the room with two single beds, precisely because they wouldn’t want it to seem intentional,” SevenCarrots wrote.

Overall the commenters agreed that the couple was right to stand up for themselves and to refuse to be treated as a second-class couple on the trip.

Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

graduates

Have you ever thought, “Man, I sure wish someone would just hand me a check or at least some stock in a successful company”? The way rent, gas and everything (gestures broadly at the entire economy) is going right now, an unexpected windfall would be helpful to most people, but especially to high schoolers heading off to college or beginning their journeys as young adults.

That’s exactly what happened to the graduating class of Snellville, Georgia's Brookwood High School. The co-founder of Airbnb (and former graduate of Brookwood High), Joe Gebbia, surprised the graduating class of 2022 with shares in his company. Each graduate will receive 22 shares of Airbnb stock. Obviously the kids can’t immediately spend the stocks, though if they wanted to sell them for college supplies instead of hanging on to them and watching their value grow they could, I guess.


Gebbia graduated from the school in 2000 and announced during his speech the gift he had for all 890 graduating seniors. The gift amounts to around $2,428.80 per graduate, which is certainly more than most receive in a graduation card. In total the co-founder gifted the students more than $2 million in Airbnb stock. It wouldn’t be surprising if the newly graduated teens have no idea what to do with their new stock given that most high schools don’t really go over investing and stock market rules.

William Smith, who was a recipient of the generous gift, told the Gwinnett Daily Post that he may ask his grandfather, who is well-versed on the stock market, what to do with his shares as he’s still trying to figure out what to do with the stock. Smith told the paper, “Everybody right now is still amazed and in shock that he gave such a generous gift to us. People haven’t really thought long term. People are just like, ‘Wow, he came back and was just so generous.’ Talk about not forgetting your roots.”

This isn’t the first time the co-founder has given back to his old high school. Last November, he donated $700,000 to the school to create and fund the Joe Gebbia Visual Arts Endowment. The money will also create immersive resources for student athletes that attend Brookwood High.

The new high school graduates had no idea they’d be leaving school with shares in a global company and getting an opportunity to start building a stock portfolio. Hopefully this boost will be just what they need to head into adulthood with the potential for more financial security.

Photo by Artem Zhukov on Unsplash; screenshot via @renebelew/Instagram

People are using person-to-person purchases to get money to Ukrainians in the war.

As we watch the war in Ukraine from half a world away, many Americans wonder what they can do to help the Ukrainian people.

There are standard NGOs and nonprofits, such as the Red Cross, Amnesty International and the International Rescue Committee, that are organizing aid to refugees inside and outside the country, of course. But not everyone feels good about putting their donation money into a big, pooled pot. Some people want to know exactly where their money is going and who it is helping.

And some people are figuring out creative ways to do that via person-to-person "gig economy" platforms like Etsy and Airbnb.


Here's how they're doing it:

For one, people are booking Airbnb stays in Ukraine for the coming days, which they obviously won't be using, and telling the hosts to keep the money. When you book an Airbnb you can read the profiles and reviews of the hosts to get a sense of who they are, if they have children, etc. Some people rent out private rooms in their own homes, while others own property that they rent out, but it's easy to see who you are renting from. When you book, you are also directly connected to the host so you can message each other.

The responses from people who have done this are both heartbreaking and beautiful.

@renebelew/Instagram

The Quentin Quarantino Instagram account, which has been used for huge crowdfunding efforts, shared the idea and the responses some followers have gotten from Ukrainians when they've done this. It also shared some tips, such as booking dates that are coming up soon since payments only go through to the host once the booking date arrives.

You can click the right arrow to scroll through all of the the screenshots, but here are a few of them:

Screenshot via quentin.quarantino/Instagram

Worth noting that Airbnb has waived the fees for hosts in Ukraine and its nonprofit arm, Airbnb.org, is coordinating stays for 100,000 Ukrainian refugees.

In addition to Airbnb, people are also using Etsy to give to Ukrainian people directly by buying from Ukrainian sellers. Some people have pointed out that sellers who sell digital files—educational or decorative printables, sewing or knitting patterns, and so on—can benefit from getting sales without having any confusion over whether someone wants something shipped.

Here's how you do it:

1. Go to Esty.com and type “digital files” in the search box

2. Click "All Filters" and scroll down to "Country"

3. Under "Custom," type "Ukraine"

You can use the country filter for any item sold on Etsy, but you do have to put something into the search bar before the filter option shows up. If you place an order for a physical item, just let the seller know upfront that you aren't expecting them to ship anything, you just want to send them some financial and moral support.

This is a good opportunity to personalize your giving in more ways than just a personal message. If you have a crocheting hobby, for instance, you could search "crochet" and then filter for Ukraine to support a fellow crocheter. It might sound silly, but those simple human connections are meaningful, especially when people are facing down inhumanity.

The situation in Ukraine is dire, and while it's important to support large-scale aid programs that have experience with getting people the assistance they need in a crisis, there's more than one way to help. Sometimes putting cash directly into the pockets of people who have just lost their livelihoods to war, who might need funds to get out of the country or to get supplies that help them stay safe can make a significant difference.

The beauty of sites like Airbnb and Etsy is that they allow us to connect with and help people on the ground directly, in a way that reminds all of us of the humanity at the heart of it all.