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Contributed photo by Lindsey Miller-Voss / Anna Miller, pictured here, her mother, Lindsey Miller-Voss, and grandmother, Bev Howard, recently spent more than a month in Chattanooga as part of Airbnb's "Live Anywhere" promotion.

Last summer, when Airbnb announced the winners of its "Live Anywhere on Airbnb" promotion, it felt like the 12 lucky travel parties had won the lottery.

The contest has a distinct Chattanooga flavor. Chattanooga native Stephanie Hays, her husband, Peter Woolcock, and son, Hays, were among the winners and are currently in the middle of a globe-hopping year that will take them to several continents courtesy of Airbnb. At last check they were in South Africa, after bouncing around Europe for several months.

Meanwhile, Maryland residents Lindsey Miller-Voss, her 14-year-old daughter, Anna Miller, and mother, Bev Howard, just finished an extended stay in Chattanooga as part of their "Live Anywhere" trip across America. There is a connection: Hays recommended that Miller-Voss and her crew make a stop in Chattanooga and supplied her with a long list of recommended restaurants and attractions.

As part of the promotion, Airbnb offered the winning contestants a year of free stays at any Airbnb properties anywhere in the world, to show that remote workers can flourish while enjoying unfettered travel. The only requirement was that winners try to stay in each location at least a month.

There were 314,000 applicants globally, so the winners were an exclusive group. According to an Airbnb news release associated with the contest, "Remote and hybrid work have untethered many people from the need to be in an office every day, driving the biggest change to travel since the advent of commercial flying. On Airbnb's platform, one out of every five gross nights booked in July-September 2021 were for stays of 28 days or longer."

Chatter caught up with Miller-Voss and her daughter, Anna, who stayed in a Southside condo for more than a month before moving on in early March. Below is the condensed interview.

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Photo by Lindsey Miller-Voss / Lindsey Miller-Voss and her daughter, Anna Miller, visit a botanical garden in Coastal Maine, as part of Airbnb's "Live Anywhere" promotion.

Chatter Magazine: We understand you had a conversation with Stephanie Hays and her family. Did she help you decide to come to Chattanooga?

Lindsey Miller-Voss: Yes, she absolutely did. Stephanie was like, "Oh my gosh, if your road trip ever takes you through Chattanooga, let me know. I have tons of recommendations for you, mostly food."

We were right now supposed to be in Albuquerque (New Mexico), but we had a glitch in our booking; but it was also right as Omicron was starting to spike. When that glitch happened we said, "Well, let's take a step back, take a pause." We were looking for cities with a strong base of independent restaurants that we could order takeout from.

We lucked out. The (condo) we found (in Chattanooga) is absolutely stunning. Anna keeps saying it feels like we are living in a museum.

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Contributed photo by Lindsey Miller-Voss / Anna Miller enjoys ice cream at Clumpies in Chattanooga on a visit courtesy of Airbnb.

Chatter: So, what sold you on using more than a month of your time in Chattanooga?

Miller-Voss: As we kept researching, we said, "OK, Chattanooga has a little bit more going for it." To be honest, we were surprised. At least every other week we look at another and say, "Oh my gosh, do we need to move to Chattanooga?" We are really loving it. This has been our favorite stay so far.

Chatter: Tell us about your Airbnb property here?

Miller-Voss: It's a townhome condo in Southside. There's all this beautiful art throughout the home. It's a little bit of an industrial vibe. It's a fun space. There is a local mural artist that has done some large-scale pieces.

Anna Miller (14): Chattanooga is like the place for art; it flourishes here. Everywhere you turn, you see murals and sculptures, and museums, of course. We love art, so that's perfect for our family. We went to the Hunter Museum and the Bessie Smith Cultural Center, as well.

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Contributed photo by Lindsey Miller-Voss / Lindsey Miller-Voss, right, and her daughter Anna Miller, are traveling across the U.S. courtesy of Airbnb.

Chatter: What is your overall impression of the city, especially in terms of accessibility?

Miller-Voss: A huge part of our motivation for doing this is that it gives Anna (who uses a wheelchair) a wider audience for her social media platforms. She has a website to tell about what it's like to travel as a wheelchair user, those experiences. We have been really impressed on how accessible the city is.

Anna: I'd like to say people don't think about accessibility a lot. When we go to a lot of museums they are going to use the excuse that they can't put in a ramp because it's old and historic. We've seen a museum here where a mansion was old and historic (The Hunter Museum of Art), but they put an elevator in there. Accessibility isn't just this small, tiny thing. No, the word needs to be spread around. This is important.

Chatter: What's been your overall experience with this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity?

Miller-Voss: This is a unique opportunity to perpetually live remotely, which is a cool thing. It's not without its crazy, stressful moments. We are always trying to get the most out of every city we are in, to make sure we don't miss things.

It's forced us to prioritize and get really organized. My mom does tons of research in each city so we can hit the ground running. It's great. It's neat. I work full-time. Anna has (online) classes. But it shows that you can balance all the normal aspects of your life while getting to go on adventures like this.

Chatter: Where have you been so far?

Miller-Voss: We started in Portland, Maine, in September, and then we headed down to Rhode Island, right outside Newport. Then we went down to Savannah, Georgia, which is where we were at Christmas, (and) then we headed up here. We will be heading to the Southwest (now) which is part of our larger plan. Then we work our way up the West Coast, stopping somewhere in California and then stop in Portland (Oregon). Then will take the car ferry up to Alaska.

Chatter: How meaningful is it to travel as a three-generation family?

Miller-Voss: With the three generations, there are different things we look for in the places we are going. Something that's cool is how close we are to everything (here). Anna is in a history club at the Medal of Honor Museum, (and) she's doing a chess program at the YMCA. That means there are a couple of nights a week when my mom and I can go grab dinner or get coffee. There are times that there are outdoorsy things that Anna and I will explore alone. All three of us will enjoy activities (together), and other times we will buddy-up and do other things. That's really fun.

 

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