Guest Post by Ann Klestadt
‘For our first venture into home exchanging, I arranged 5 consecutive exchanges with Home Base Holidays members in Australia and New Zealand (I've always been an over-achiever) over a period of 3 months. We got lots of coaching and encouragement from our many friends who are long-time exchangers, but nobody has ever experienced what we did! These were supposed to be simultaneous exchanges, but only 2 of them worked out that way.
Our Adelaide hostess stayed with an old friend while her husband was off caring for an ill child. She was near enough to introduce us to all her wonderful neighbors and we spent Christmas dinner with her family.
Our Melbourne hosts stayed in the home with us, as Ingrid needed chemo and their house was large. They toured us around for 3 days, then went off to visit friends and left us their home for a week. They returned, to take us to her mother's birthday party and meet the family, then stayed for the rest of our visit. They are friends forever.
Our Sydney exchange went fine, but our Christchurch hostess ran off to Adelaide to help her son, leaving us her house and her dog (not part of the agreement). The Auckland couple came to Mexico and loved it, even having friends from England from a previous exchange come visit them there. They came home 2 days early so we could meet.
After 18 months of regular emails to these 5 couples, I felt they were friends, and mourned that we would never meet. Well, be careful what you wish for! We met 4 out of 5. The other 3 couples will visit in the future. It's a good thing we have a big house (and a big heart). We are not deterred. We have 5 more exchanges planned so far.’ Ann, See the couple’s current home exchange offer in Ajijic (Chapala), Jalisco, Mexico plus more photos and location map, HE21764.
Note: It’s probably for the best that Ann didn’t let us know her plans before launching into arranging a home exchange for the first time – by actually arranging five in a row! We would have cautioned her to perhaps to take on a slightly less daunting schedule for her first home exchange experience. In the event, Ann and husband Charilie proved to be the perfect home exchangers, not only co-ordinating the complex arrangements for five swaps but also adapting to fit in with exchange partners’ unavoidable changing circumstances, making new friends in the process and now already well on the way to organising their next series of home swaps!