Lena and Maxime are mother and daughter, from Sweden. For them travelling is a lifestyle; the two of them together or separately accompanied by their partners or friends. Most years these two commit to doing two home exchanges per year. During 2015 they really spread their wings and filled an entire year with travel, 17 trips total between the two of them. Each month brought a new adventure or two or even three or four!
January in Angkor & Ta Prohm
Lena had spent Christmas and New Years in Vietnam with a friend and began the year by travelling to the city of Siem Reap in Cambodia on New Year’s day. Siem Reap is the closest city to the ancient city of Angkor. For four days they enjoyed the temples of Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm, the ancient and picturesque ruins featured in the movie Tomb Raider.
February in Seychelles
Toward the end of February it was time for both Lena and Maxime to go on trip to the paradise islands of the Seychelles. For ten days they enjoyed the crystal clear turquoise water and the white sand on the islands of Praslin and La Digue. A true paradise!
March in London
To celebrate Lena´s birthday she met up with three Norwegian friends for a weekend in London. Unfortunately, the weather was cold and rainy but they ate at some excellent restaurants and enjoyed a pint or two and, of course, some afternoon tea.
April in Belgrade
Lena bought a spontaneous solo weekend trip to Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, and left the day after! Without no expectations, and no time to do research before leaving, the city blew her away. A beautiful fortress in the middle of the city with small churches attached to the walls and a marvellous view over the river Danube, picturesque streets, historic suburbs and an vibrant nightlife that never sleeps; this is a European city to keep an eye on.
May in Palma, Majorca
Lena went to Palma, Majorca with four friends during Pentecost weekend. She fell in love with Palma from the second the taxi drove into the city and cannot understand why she previously had been so negative about Mallorca. Palma will certainly be visited again!
June in Edinburgh
For Christmas Lena and Maxime gave their mother/grandmother a trip to Edinburgh in Scotland and the trip was scheduled for June. In Scotland the three of them visited the Edinburgh Castle, wandered the Royal Mile and went on a day trip to the Scottish Highlands trying to find Loch Ness.
July in Visby, Sintra & Lisbon then on to Stavanger, Prekestolen & Stavanger
July was Maxime´s busiest travel month of the year. The first weekend of the month she went to the medieval Swedish city of Visby on the island of Gotland. Later the same month she went to Portugal with her boyfriend, visiting the castles of Sintra and Lisbon and then went surfing on the Atlantic coast.
Only ten hours after landing in Stockholm´s airport on her way home from Portugal Maxime was back at the airport again with different content in her suitcase ready to fly off to Stavanger, Norway with three friends. The focus was the great Norwegian outdoors and for three days they were hiking in Prekestolen and Keragbolten just outside Stavanger.
August in Florence & the Italian Riviera
The first of August Lena was on her way to Florence, Italy, for another home exchange, together with one friend. Having a master’s degree in Art History she has always dreamt of visiting the city where the Renaissance was born. For ten days they braved temperatures of 104 degrees Fahrenheit while visiting countless churches and palaces. After Florence they went on to Cinque Terre on the Italian Riviera for a week to bask in the sun, sea and sand. Meanwhile in Stockholm the couple, Lino and Valentin, who stayed in Lena´s apartment enjoyed warm sunny and moderate temperatures.
September in Madrid
Lena and the Norwegian friends found the March trip to London so great, despite the weather, that they immediately booked a new trip to Madrid. Two of them stayed in the home exchange apartment which Lena had exchanged her Stockholm apartment for and the other two rented an AirBnb apartment just around the corner. The focus this time was shopping, tapas and cava. They found themselves very successful.
October in Transylvania, India, the Maldives, & Tallinn
Lena was having her busiest travel month of the year. The first weekend of the month Lena and Maxime spent in Transylvania, Romania, visiting castles and fortified churches. It was like being transported 100 years back in time with horse drawn carriages and turkeys and geese wandering the roads. Without doubt it was the best trip of the year!
Business called for a trip to India and while already being in Asia Lena decided to go for a week solo vacation to the Maldives. In the Maldives she chose to stay on the local islands where the Maldivians live instead of on a resort island. Local islands are way less pricy than the resort islands and provide you with the opportunity to see the local life. Even as a tourist one must dress modestly and alcohol is banned due to Islam.
After only two days of being home from the Maldives it was time for another trip to Tallinn, Estonia. In September there were only eight days actually spent in the home office!
November In Warsaw & Rome
December in London & the Phillipines
It was time for Maxime to cash in on the birthday present from her boyfriend. Off they went to London for the first weekend of the month. Their focus was dining at great restaurants and shopping for Christmas presents.
On Christmas Day it Lena and Maxime took their annual New Year’s vacation. This year they spent 16 days in El Nido on Palawan Island on the Philippines. A truly beautiful place and location to several seasons of the program Survivor.
Coming up in 2016
And what is coming up next? Maxime will spend Easter in Venice Italy with her boyfriend. In early April Lena and two friends will do another home exchange in New Orleans and Chicago. Later in April Lena will go to Iran; they do have some fantastic palaces and religious buildings there. The summer will be spent on with road trips in throughout Croatia, Montenegro and Albania for both Lena and Maxime. Lena will be driving a car with a friend and her daughter from Croatia to Albania and Maxime will be driving a car with her boyfriend the opposite direction. Somewhere in the middle the two cars will meet up for a couple of days. Such is the life of the enthusiastic Home Exchanger!