Today I received my 118th home exchange request in just the last year and a half. Each offer, including today’s, has been a delight to consider. I always experience a rush of adrenaline as I first open a request and see what wonderful destination is being offered.
Unfortunately, time and money prevents me from accepting all the wonderful offers that I receive. I have to be very selective, and this is not always easy; some offers are extremely difficult to turn down!
Today’s offer, unfortunately, was one of them.
The offer was for an exchange in a region of France that I have yet to explore, the Rhone-Alpes region. That’s why it’s so hard for me to turn down, and I’ll probably wait about a week or two before I muster the strength to answer. You see, I consider myself a Francophile (someone who loves France and everything French), and I am dying, okay not literally dying, but desperately wanting to explore all that France has to offer. So far I have only managed to explore Paris, Normandy, Languedoc and Provence. Each was a joy in their own right.
Unfortunately, the Rhone-Alps will have to stay on my wish list a little longer. But I will get there eventually because this region has so much to offer. For starters, it consists of eight extremely diverse, very prosperous, and varied departments. It has several large and intriguing cities, many gorgeous mountain villages, immense nature areas and spectacularly high peaks. The region also borders Italy and Switzerland, so it is located in the heart of Europe, offering the ability to explore those countries as well.
I have been especially interested in visiting its largest city, Lyon, for some time. Lyon is known for its architectural beauty and it’s gastronomy, two of my favorite things! I have also been drawn to visit Annecy, one of the Rhone-Alps most beautiful alpine villages. Annecy is situated at the edge of a stunning turquoise lake and the incredibly picturesque village is even more strikingly beautiful in a part with a lovely canal running through it. Lyon and Annecy alone, make me want to explore this region of France.
Oh, how I hate to turn this offer down!
With that said, the reason I chose to write today isn’t so much to complain about my having to turn down a wonderful, free offer to stay in a French families home for three weeks next July. Not entirely anyway; though, it does feel quite appropriate and cathartic to whine about it a bit! The fact is, traveling abroad for weeks at a time (three to six generally), even with a free accommodation, is something that only fits into my families budget every other year, and we just spent three weeks in France this past summer.
But, what I really wanted to share with you today are some aspects of this particular home exchange offer that I felt were worth mentioning.
First, the offer comes from a family of four with two parents in their early forties, both professionals, practicing doctors in fact, with two teenage children. They fit precisely into the demographics that I indicate are the most common among home exchangers: families, middle aged, professionals, with children.
Second, the offer is very generous; they offer two or more weeks in their home for only one week in mine. This attests to the type of generosity that I have found among those in the home exchange community.
The third and final thing that I’d like to point out is that this exchange family is embarking on a year long around the world trip. Since becoming a travel writer, I have been amazed by the number of people, including many families, that are doing just that – finding ways to afford around the world trips.
One of the ways this family will finance their trip is by including home exchanges as much as possible. For that reason, the offer I received included a schedule of the continents, countries, and cities they plan to explore in chronological order. North America, the US, and New York, my area, specifically will be the first stop on their year long journey starting in July.
I found this home exchange request interesting, I thought you might too.