France Beckons Me, Again Today – This time it’s the Rhone-Alps Region

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This is a photo I took last summer in Provence, while on a home exchange in the area – isn’t it just …. so French?

The home exchange offers keep rolling in.  Yesterday, I received an offer to exchange my home for this home in the Rhone-Alps Region.  It comes with my two favorite amenities, an in-ground pool and a car!  It’s also very close the Lyon, a city I have on my bucket list to visit.

 

 

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House in the middle of Kings Loire Valley – It’s for Free!

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This was one of our first home exchange homes outside Paris, France, back in 2009. It was lovely!

Last week, I indicated that I would be posting any/all of the home exchange requests that I receive, so that you can get a feel for the frequency and quality of the exchange offers that I am privileged to choose among.  As I mentioned, my family plans to travel for at least a month next summer, and we plan to arrange at least one but hopefully two great home exchanges.

In my last post, I showed you my offers from the Paris and Amsterdam areas.

I just received another offer from France.  This offer is for a five bedroom home, which sleeps up to 10 people, and is located in the desirable Loire Valley, near Tours.  The house has two of my favorite amenities, an in-ground pool, and a car exchange, and is situated in a perfect location to tour the Chateaux of the Loire – and to visit Paris on day trips!

Since it is possible that my family may travel with as many as 10 people next summer, this home is definitely under consideration.   At the moment, we are waiting to see if our friends, another family of four, is going to accept our offer and join us next summer.  I’ve had to give them a deadline of next weekend to decide.  Since offers are starting to pour in, I have to know if I need a bigger house, such as this one, or if I can accept a more desirable offer of a smaller home, if/when one comes in.  I actually really love the Amsterdam offer that I mention above, but it’s too small for both families.

The hardest part about home exchange is deciding from so many wonderful offers!

 

 

 

 

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Paris, Amsterdam? To Accept or Not to Accept. That is The Question.

A Paris mime near Pompidou Center, Paris (from my 2009 home exchange near Paris)

A Paris mime near Pompidou Center, Paris (from my 2009 home exchange near Paris)

In the last several weeks I have started to receive a regular stream of home exchange inquiries from families in Europe who want to exchange homes with my family for next summer.  This is because I have indicated in my home exchange listing that I am interested in going to Europe during the summer of 2015 for a month.  In fact, we are looking for, not one but two, exciting home exchanges (most likely in two different countries.)

I thought it might interest my readers to see how frequently I receive offers of exchange, and more importantly to see the variety and quality of those offers.

So, starting today, I plan to post links to the homes I have been offered.  This week I received two very nice offers (but you judge for yourself), one from the Paris area and the other from Amsterdam.

Hmmm…shall I accept this one in the Paris Area  or maybe this one in  Amsterdam.  I’ll just have to wait to see, since I’m already corresponding with another family near Paris about a potential home exchange next summer.  See below.

In addition to receiving offers, I have also begun to send a few offers.  I’m currently talking with a family in Chartres, France.  I sent them an inquiry in late August, and they have expressed a preliminary interest in an exchange.  We have begun to get to know each other to see if we want to commit to the exchange.  Take a look at their incredible home exchange offering.  My fingers are crossed that this one will work out, because I love their location and their amazing home.  But, if not this exchange…

I know two things for sure.  My family will be going to Europe next year (although exactly where is anyone’s guess), and wherever it is, I’m certain it will be exceptional!

 

 

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Which Home Exchange Would You Choose???

I can honestly say that I find great joy and excitement in planning my families European home exchange adventures.  We started exploring Europe back in 2009 and have been traveling abroad every other summer since. (2009 Spain & France, 2011 Italy & England, 2013 France again).  So I have just started to plan for 2015!

Since our preferred style of travel – BY FAR- is home exchange, I like to start my planning early; this way I’m more likely to find just the right home and homeowners to exchange with.  The best homes are often snapped up early, so I prefer to start sooner rather than later; I usually start my search about ten months ahead.  This gives me and my exchange partners plenty of time to get to know and trust each other, and assist each other in planning details for our respective trips.

So, for the past few weeks I  have been enjoying looking at hundreds (of the many thousands) of wonderful home exchange opportunities available on my favorite home exchange website, http://www.homeforexchange.com.  I’m hoping to find at least one, and possibly two home (and car) exchanges just right for my families next European adventure; we plan to spend a month in Europe, probably in two countries.

This year we have extended an invitation to some friends to join us; they are a family of four with two kids, so I am looking for homes that would accommodate eight to ten people.  We always look for exchanges that come with a car exchange, because the extra savings is too great to forego.  Fortunately, most people exchanging their homes, are equally comfortable exchanging their cars.  This arrangement saves both sides thousands of dollars.

So far, I have found about 5 homes that I think would satisfy my families interests for next summer.  Each of these homes has great appeal, both in the homes themselves and what their locations have to offer. If you had to choose, which one would you rank as your favorite!  The first is my favorite and so I’ve already sent them an exchange request!  I’m waiting, with fingers crossed that they will be interested in an exchange!  If not, I move on to my next favorite, and so on and so forth.

Chartres, France   (My first choice!)

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Faro, Portugal

St. Malo, Brittany, France

Derrybeg, Cty Donegal, Ireland

 

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The Trusting Traveler is Back – After Much Needed Summer Hiatus!

Longwood Gardens, Pennsylvania...One of the places I visited this summer which helped me recharge my batteries, so to speak!

Longwood Gardens, Pennsylvania…One of the places I visited this summer which helped me recharge my batteries, so to speak!

In case you had not noticed, after working feverishly all last fall and spring to write and publish my book, Have Home Will TraveI, The Ultimate International Home Exchange Guide for Families, I took a much needed summer hiatus to rejuvenate my creative energy – which was unfortunately depleted.  I simply couldn’t bring myself to write barely another word, which is why my last two posts were photo galleries!

The break has done me well, and I think I am ready to write again, and I have some really interesting things I plan to share.  For one, while I did not travel abroad this summer, I did get to experience a bit of a cultural exchange regardless.

I hosted a very nice family from France, the Sadoine Family, for an American barbeque in July.  I met Alain’s Sadoine via http://www.homeforexchange.com when he asked me, almost a year ago, to exchange my New Jersey home for his home in the Rhone-Alps region of France for this summer.

Alain’s family was, at that time, planning a round the world, year long adventure that was to kick off this July.  Even though I was unable to exchange homes with Alain, I was nevertheless extremely interested in their round the world journey, especially because their trip was to include as many home exchanges as they could arrange.

I decided it would be fun to help the Sadoines kick off the beginning of their great adventure, which was to start in New York City this July, by inviting them to come to New Jersey for an American style barbeque…and they accepted.

I will be writing about the great day we spent together and also filling you in on their upcoming home exchange adventures as they complete them.  They have about a dozen home exchanges lined up already, and as they travel they are still making arrangements for more exchanges.

Note:  until this trip, the Sadoines had not yet tried a single home exchange – talk about trust!  I’m confident that they will find the their experiences incredible, but I will nonetheless be following them, and report on their exchange experiences which will span many continents.

I’ll also be posting about my travel plans for next summer, when my family WILL travel abroad again.  We are in the beginning stages of figuring out where we want to go, and I am already searching the thousands of amazing properties on http://www.homeforexchange, to find just the right home exchange, or more likely two perfect home exchanges to satisfy our travel fantasies!  We plan to spend at least a month abroad next summer and this time we’ve extended an invitation to another family to join us in our travels.  We are awaiting their decision.

But why should my family have all the fun!

Follow my "No Trust, No Trade Policy"

HAVE HOME WILL TRAVEL
The Ultimate Home Exchange Guide
for Families
By Kerry Ascione

Now is the perfect time to start making your families home exchange arrangements for next summer.  If you are interested, please take advantage of this 25% discount on my new book, Have Home Will Travel.  This is my way of encouraging you to give International Home Exchange a try!  Copy & then paste this promo code at checkout.

(25% promo code:   WSLKHRM4)

Order your promotional copy of Have Home Will Travel here.

As always, wishing you happy travels!

 

 

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Our “Picture Perfect” Day in Ravello on the Amalfi Coast of Italy

A View from Villa Ciambrone Gardens

Just one of so many beautiful views from Villa Ciambrone gardens in Ravello, Italy

In my last post, I featured photos of my families fantastic day touring the Amalfi Coast by private boat hire out of Positano.  Today, I’m going to show you photos of my next favorite day of our incredible week long stay in Positano, Italy.

This would be the day we spent in Ravello. The entire Amalfi Coast is spectacularly beautiful and Ravello is no exception; in fact, it is rather “the icing on the cake.”   What makes Ravello so remarkable is it’s height; Ravello sits very high above sea level and therefore benefits from the most phenomenal Mediterranean vista’s I have ever seen. Couple those views with cobblestone, beautiful architecture, and flowers galore and it indeed becomes the making of a beautiful photo, or lots of beautiful photos, as you will see.  

I am a great lover of beautiful gardens, and I seek them out wherever I go.  Ravello is home to two wonderful gardens.  On this trip to Ravello, we explored the garden of Villa Ciambrone and I fell in love, just as I had fallen on a prior trip to Ravello’s Villa Rufulo garden many years before.  Take a look…

Villa Ciambrone Gardens

Villa Ciambrone Gardens

Villa Ciambrone Gardens

Villa Ciambrone Gardens

Villa Ciambrone Gardens

Villa Ciambrone Gardens

Villa Ciambrone Gardens

Villa Ciambrone Gardens

Villa Ciambrone Gardens

Villa Ciambrone Gardens

More pretty

More pretty

Luscious lemons!

Luscious lemons!

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My daughter enjoying the beautiful stroll.

Villa Ciambrone Gardens

Villa Ciambrone Gardens

Ravello's Villa Ciambrone Gardens are divine!

Ravello’s Villa Ciambrone Gardens are divine!

Beautiful views from Ravello

Beautiful views from Ravello

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Ah, lovely Ravello - not to be missed

Ah, lovely Ravello – not to be missed

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A lovely tree lined lane in Ravello

A lovely tree lined lane in Ravello

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Our Most Exquisite Day in Positano, Italy!

I won’t say much, because these photo’s speak volumes.  I’ll just say that my family rented a charming little apartment for a week in Positano, Italy back in July 2011.  Here’s how we spent just one of those seven glorious days…A most amazing day, we rented a private boat to tour the coast for the day!

A most amazing day, we rented a private boat to tour the coast for the day!

Leaving Positano was beautiful

The views were indescribable, as you can plainly see.

Incredibly exciting, the views awesome

I honestly don’t know that there is a better view on the planet, do you?

Captain Gary piloting the boat into a large cave

My brother in law, Gary, piloting the boat into a large cave. This was Gary’s first and last trip to Italy (he passed away from lung cancer in 2013.) This was a great day for him especially since he was an avid boater and fisherman. We are so happy to have made this last month long trip to Italy with him and his wife Ray, my husband’s sister. This was an amazing day for all of us!

Inside the cave; it was really cool - literally and figuratively!

Inside the cave; it was really cool – literally and figuratively!

Docking in a private cove; incredible!

Docking in a private cove; incredible!

Pretty views from the boat.  My daughter and I got in the water and swam right up to this little waterfall.  It was wonderful!

Pretty views from the boat. My daughter and I got in the water and swam right up to this little waterfall. It was wonderful!

Pretty views from the boat

Pretty views from the boat,

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More beautiful views from the boat.

More beautiful views from the boat.

The best part was sharing this wonderful day with my family. Our memories of this day will last our lifetimes!

I hope you enjoyed our pictures.  Come back again.  I’ll post my next favorite day from our exciting week in Positano soon – that would be our visit to Ravello high above the Amalfi Coast.  Ravello is also indescribably beautiful.

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Joining Forces with International ‘Partner’

Solutions Master Ltd

As you may know, I’ve made it my mission to provide as many families as I can reach, all the information they need to make global travel a reality.  To that end I have written and recently published my first book called, Have Home Will Travel, the Ultimate International Home Exchange Guide for Families.  

Today, I’m delighted to report that I have joined forces with an international ‘partner’ (note: not partners in the business sense) and have high hopes that this partnership can help get my book into the hands of many more interested and deserving families.  Everyone should have the means to enjoy global family travel.

My new partnership is an especially intriguing and enjoyable one for me, since my partner and I are from different countries and cultures.  Our partnership just highlights how realistic it is to engage with and trust your peers around the globe.

Here’s how this cross cultural partnership evolved:

Ans Lammers, owns my favorite home exchange website, http://www.homeforexchange.com; it’s the one that I have used exclusively to arrange all of my families home exchanges.

When I began writing my book, one of the first things I did was write my acknowledgements, and I wrote three.  The third acknowledgement was to my very supportive husband; the second was to my favorite travel writer, Rick Steves; and the first was to Ans Lammers.  Ans was acknowledged first because I am so grateful to her for maintaining such a wonderful, user friendly, home exchange website, and for providing it at such great value.

As soon as Have Home Will Travel made it into print, I sent Ans a copy.  Needless to say, she was delighted to be so positively acknowledged.  She replied in an e-mailMy ears turn a bit reddish while reading about me and my website.” 

Upon reading the book in it’s entirety, Ans decided she’d like to offer it to new members in the United States as part of a new promotion.  

Ans has just purchased 500 copies and she will be giving them away for free to anyone in the USA who signs up for a three year membership.

I can tell you that a three year membership on http://www.homeforexchange.com costs only $129.50,  and already represents fantastic value.  Now along with the three year membership, new members will also receive a free copy of Have Home Will Travel, my 304 page paperback, which retails on Amazon.com for $22.99. 

Ans and I worked closely to facilitate this arrangement.  The international aspect has presented some interesting challenges.  You see, Ans (who is Dutch and until recently lived in the Netherlands) has recently relocated to Mallorca, Spain and I am in the USA. What we have ultimately arranged is for my books to be shipped from the printer here in the USA to Amazon fulfillment centers across the USA.  Ans will then use Amazon’s fulfillment services to process and ship her orders to customers in the USA.  The promotional offer went live this week.  If you would like to see or take advantage of this promotion.  Here is the link: HomeForExchange.com Offers Free Copy of Have Home Will Travel  It’s been so satisfying to work with Ans; her ‘product’ has given my family so much joy; and it is so natural for me to want to promote it further.

 

 

 

 

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My Cultured Kitchen

My Cultured Kitchen.  How I learned to cook authentic Indian recipes in my New Jersey kitchen.

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The unexpected views from a street in Delhi

I don’t reblog often; but I found these photos fascinating;  I thought you might too.The unexpected views from a street in Delhi.

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