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Episode 037 Retirement and Home Exchange

Here we are sitting in a beautiful penthouse condo on the beach in Peurta Vallarta, Mexico. Exotic! The blue waves crash on the rocks directly below our windows.  Beautiful sandy beaches reach out on either side of the rocks. The sun sets in the west. The perfect picture of paradise - just like out of a magazine. It is all ours – for two full weeks – for free. That’s the best part. Compliments of homeexchange.com.

This is Retirement Talk. I’m Del Lowery

I wrote the opening paragraph in February, when it was rainy and dark where I live. Not so in Mexico.

We heard about this place on the Internet where one could participate in a home exchange network.  You agree to trade the use of your residence for that of someone else’s. The trade is cash free. No charge to members.

Just over a year ago, we went to their Internet site and registered as members. It cost fifty dollars at that time. I think the price has gone up since then. We filled in all the information about our condo in Vancouver, BC. Took some pictures of it  and the surrounding environment and posted everything to the Home Exchange site.

Within days we started to receive emails with invitations to participate in exchanges. They came from all over the world. Australia and New Zealand were well represented. Then we were offered a chance to spend, “April in Paris”. Since then we were enticed by possible exchanges from Czechoslovakia, Belgium, Argentina, Ireland, Montreal, Vancouver Island, Los Angelis, Mexico, Seattle, and others that have faded from my memory.

We started our experience with an exchange fairly close to home. We traveled to Eugene, Oregon and took up residence for four days in a beautiful brick home just a few blocks from Oregon State University campus. The owners of that house were attending a conference in Vancouver and wanted to use our condo. It worked out perfect. We explored Eugene by bicycle, our favorite mode of transportation. We even meet up with a former student of mine from some thirty five years ago. It was a treat. The owners of the brick home were professors. They used our condo in Vancouver at the same time to attend a conference.. The only sign that they had been there was a note of appreciation. Perfect.

Our next exchange was the one in Mexico. It was unbelievable. We enjoyed two weeks in the sunshine. Since it was not the owner’s primary residence it allowed for a non- simultaneous exchange. They have yet to use their two weeks in our Vancouver condo. I guess they’re building up credit.

We have now arranged for a one week exchange with some folks from Portland, Oregon and are looking forward to that. We have another one scheduled for Seattle – right down town – just above Pike Street Market. It should be fun. As you can tell, we are not really reaching out to the exotic regions of the world. Not that we couldn’t. It is just that I don’t like flying long distances. I’m too tall – and maybe too grouchy. We traveled a great deal when we were younger and when we retired we picked a place that I hoped would give travel little appeal. I think it has worked - at least for me. We have big cities, mountains, salt water, and a temperate climate where we live. I did not envision spending retirement on a tour buses, moving in a group from hotel to hotel..

There is still the lure of the exotic and my wife is still interested in stretching out to other regions of the world. One thing about home exchange: it certainly opens up the possibilities. It is interesting to look at home in Sicily, Provence, Montreal, or Prague. I suppose one of these days I will pack my bags and follow her to some exotic place.

Another good thing about home exchanging is that you get a local look at the place you are visiting. You’re in a neighborhood. In all of our home exchange experiences we have found notes concerning good restaurants, coffee shops, places to buy groceries, and points of local interest. It is just a very different experience than visiting a new place and checking into a hotel.

You might want to check it our. It certainly is an opportunity for retired folks. Retirement allows for flexibility and freedom to roam if we wish. Home exchange literally opens new doors in life. And, as I said earlier, the price is right - it’s free.

 

This is Retirement Talk for Seniors, Boomers and Retirees.