A “Gap Year” made possible with home exchange
Story by Jan and John
Jan and I are two Australian senior citizens enjoying our ‘Gap Year’ in Europe. Well, it’s really fifteen months but the ‘Gap Year’ idea appeals to us. Our four children enjoyed their ‘Gap Year’ after completing Year Twelve – three in Scotland and one in England. So, now it’s our turn and we’ve told them “…there’s no inheritance!”
At the moment, we are in the beautiful city of Munich, surrounded by the colour and excitement of Christmas markets, Christmas music and being greeted by ‘Gruss Gott’ – Christmas in Australia lacks the richness and sense of celebration that permeates Bavarian society here.
One of the great discoveries we have made is finding HomeExchange. Let me say at the outset that HomeExchange is a wonderful organisation and we only wish we had discovered it earlier. We had researched other home exchange organisations and paid a substantial joining fee but with no success. Then we found ‘GuestToGuest’ for NO fee! We were unsure how it would work but it sounded great.
Then, one day we were contacted by a Tasmanian (Australia) couple who wanted to use our Maroochydore (Queensland) apartment and suggested a home exchange, not necessarily simultaneously. We were working in Brisbane, so they said that if we were happy to host them, we would earn ‘Guest Points’ to use anywhere, anytime. It’s like ‘Time Share’ without the thousands of dollars to join. We arranged for them to collect the keys from us (in the car park of our place of employment) and they left us a lovely note and a bottle of Tassie wine!
The points we earned have enabled us to have Guest Time in Lyons (France), Salzburg (Austria), Padua (Italy) so far and a stay in Tuscany (Italy) next year – what a fantastic opportunity! We were apprehensive at first but there are 'safeguards'; our couple was lovely and our hosts in Europe have been exceptional- great homes, great locations, great welcomes.
It has been a major help for us in our ‘Gap Year’ and we look forward to hosting and guesting in the future. We have constantly found truth in the saying…
“Strangers are only friends we haven’t met yet”
We are so much the richer for the wonderful places, experiences and people we have discovered.
It’s never too late for a ‘Gap Year’ with GuestToGuest!