Monday, June 21, 2010

9 days and counting

In just 9 days, our adventure begins.  Although, in actuality, this adventure began in February, when I decided I needed a break from my life.  My mom died in February, after a long illness.  I'm the oldest and much of the responsibility fell to me (although all my siblings were great and did their fair share...the burden of making the decisions was on my shoulders).  In my mom's final days, the stress of what we were all going through became unbearable.  I just wanted to run stop having to make decisions.  Being the type A personality that I am, I couldn't really do that.  At least not then.  However, I started to think about how I could take a break from it all...with a little planning, so I didn't completely derail my life.

I really wanted to escape, and kept thinking about spending time in France or Italy.  In the countryside, with a slower pace of life...away from email and cell phones and my business.  And I was thinking about 2 or 3 months...a true break!  But, how could we afford such a luxury?  The housing alone would be thousands of dollars.  And then it came to me, why not a home exchange.  I could use our most valuable asset (which would be empty while we were gone) and not have to pay for a home somewhere else.  I did what every connected person now does and hopped on Bing and put in Home Exchange.  Low and behold, Home Exchange popped up. 

I started looking at the amazing homes that are posted there and I started dreaming.  It would certainly be easy to find someone who wanted to exchange for two or three weeks (it seemed like everyone in Europe wanted to come to the US to visit).  But, how easy was it going to be to find someone for 2 months?

I posted our house on the website and sent out several inquiries to homes that looked appealing.  I quickly got many inquiries from all over Europe.  However, no one wanted to exchange for 2 months.  Several suggested that I do a couple of exchanges of a few weeks each.  While I considered this and certainly would have done it if I couldn't find a two month exchange, my preference was to settle in to one place that we could call home for two months.  Get to know the neighbors, the neighborhood and have time to just relax and hang out.

Just a few days after my posting, I received an inquiry from a french photographer who was interested in a 2 month exchange.  After looking at the pictures of his home, I knew we were a perfect match.  He had a 19th century farm house, in the country about an hour and a half outside of Paris.  Very remote, with no neighbors nearby, but close to a small village and 15 minutes from Auxerre.  After a flurry of emails, the arrangements were set!  In my next post, I'll talk about some of the "arrangements" that need to be made to leave your home and business for two months!

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