Life After Backpacking – Your Next Act

Tight Fit in Grenada!  A semi in the Albayzin

Tight Fit in Grenada!
A semi in the Albayzin

I never got to do what you do, backpack the world.  I wish I had, I wish I could have tried it.

You see, I didn’t have the smoothest late childhood, emotionally or economically, and by the time I was 19, I was taking care of a sick parent, so I didn’t have the freedom to experience your kind of cultural adventure travel.   I can only imagine how free, exciting, and satisfying it is.

But, don’t feel too sorry for me, because I don’t – at least not any more.  Finally, at the age of 45, I found a way to to make cultural adventure travel a part of my life.  I found a way that works beautifully for me, my husband, my two kids, and usually other family and friends as well.

The reason I am writing this post to you is this…

While I never got to experience the wonders of backpacking like you; I think you backpackers may one day benefit from trying my style of travel.  It might be the perfect solution for you to extend your travel days once you decide to put down some roots, enter family hood, reach retirement, and if you are lucky – old age.  If this intrigues you, read on.

I’m speaking of international home exchange.  Honestly, I don’t even remember where I found out about it; but I am so glad I did! I’m also glad that I had no qualms about it; like so many people who hear of it seem to have. I can’t believe how remarkable it is.  It has changed my life, made it infinitely richer.

The phrase “nothing in life is free” simply does not apply to home exchange. Not only is the home free, but it usually comes with other amenities such as pools, cars, and your own personal travel consultant (your home exchange partner).

This is our home exchange home in Andalucia from which we traveled the short distance, 1 1/2 hrs, to Grenada, Spain

This is our home exchange home in Andalucia from which we traveled the short distance, 1 1/2 hrs, to Grenada, Spain

With a home exchange, you get many of the same cultural benefits you appreciate as a backpacker, but dare I say, possibly more, I’m not sure, you’d have to decide.

You get to live like a local for weeks at a time, often in remarkable comfort at no expense.  I have to assume that it is cheaper than backpacking.

It’s an incredible style of travel for anyone, but especially for families, since the free accommodation and free car completely offset the impossible cost of airfare for a group of people.

If not for home and car exchange, my family could not travel internationally.

The yard of our Spanish Case Home Exchange 2009

The yard of our Spanish Case Home Exchange 2009

Further, the pace is right.  Families really benefit from staying in one place for longer periods of time, ask anyone you know with children.  Moving around with kids is challenging; not impossible, but challenging.  Slower is so much easier.

Plus, the slower pace allows all family members to spend quality time together, alternately relaxing, playing, sightseeing, and just soaking up the wonderful local culture.

Having a free car allows you to take wonderful road trips wherever you want to go, or wherever getting lost happens to take you.  You can alternate World Heritage sites and off the beaten path ones as you please.

Our car at the ready.  Ready for Adventure!

Our car at the ready. Ready for Adventure!

Anyway, I just thought this might be something you backpackers may find interesting; so I want to invite you,specifically, to check out my free blog series called “The Why To’s and How To’s of International Home Exchange” every Wednesday.  All past bloginars can be found here.

If you are interested, please follow me on Twitter or via my Blogsite.  Thanks!

About Kerry Ascione

Past business and IT professional turned travel writer, blogger, speaker and coach. Huge supporter of the Peer Sharing Movement, especially as it relates to making the lives of families richer in culture and travel. Author of Have Home Will Travel, The Ultimate International Home Exchange Guide for Families.
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