I'm a writer who left Berkeley in 2001 to raise my kids on four acres in the Sierra Foothills (Nevada City/Grass Valley). I moved back to the Bay Area in 2012, and have been housesitting, petsitting and subletting in lots of wonderful homes (courtesy of Airbnb, EBCOHO, and other sites I'm not allowed to mention by name here). It's been a great way to get to know different people and neighborhoods, and it's been fun to learn my way around parts of Oakland I never knew well before.
I'm grateful for all the ways that the Internet makes it easy to connect with people and places to stay. I love it that Airbnb lets you see what friends you have in common!