Thank AirBnb for the Round Freedom Farm House in Egypt

couchsurfing, siwa oasis, earth architecture, dome house, nader khalili, AirBnB, Freedom Farm HouseThe round Freedom Farm house in Egypt reminds us why a world without AirBnB’s (mostly) affordable nightly rentals around the globe would be so much less wonderful. And who will be the next administrative target? Couchsurfing? Will it be illegal to let a gal crash in your cave for less than 29 days?

Freedom Farm 02

Located 8km from downtown Siwa Oasis, the Freedom Farm House is listed on AirBnB for $133 a night. That’s a lot compared to the hostel/hotel I use when I’m there, which costs more like $15 a night with all the trimmings, but I am notoriously broke and cheap.

For people who have a bit more money and a family, this little gem has no corners and a giant tree marks the nucleus of one of the chalets, the “umbrella room, which has a bamboo ceiling, a living area, and an upstairs bedroom with spectacular views of the surrounding dunes.

couchsurfing, siwa oasis, earth architecture, dome house, nader khalili, AirBnB, Freedom Farm House

It seems like they might not have had many hits so far since there has been little activity on their page, but they should. At least we think so. New York City on the other hand would probably fine the smithereens out of the family who listed the place since they are essentially running an informal hotel (illegal hotel in legalese.)

The buildings looks like a traditional earthen Siwa home that cross-pollinated with a Khalili-esque dome house.

Speaking of trimmings, no place I’ve ever been in Siwa has offered breakfast, water, a telescope, fireplace, desert walks and access to ATVs as part of the deal, which is the same regardless of the number of people who show up. Get a crowd together, and this place is practically free.

couchsurfing, siwa oasis, earth architecture, dome house, nader khalili, AirBnB, Freedom Farm House

It takes some perseverance to get to Siwa, which lies just east of Libya. Either a long bus or car ride from Cairo, the journey is worth every dust spec, every extra freckle from the sun, and every mile of desert scenery.

The Middle East is very unlikely to see any changes to its AirBnB policies. Here people have bigger worries, like how are we going to save Syria from total destruction and the hundreds of thousands of refugees displaced as a result of this awful war?

Meanwhile, at least at this round farm house, it’s still possible to feel free.

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