In this period of crisis and uncertainty, we sometimes see the worst in each other. But this is also a time to look for the best in one another. At HomeExchange, we certainly have been seeing the best in our Members!
In the last few weeks, we have witnessed the generous acts of our members who support each other, outdo each other in creatively spreading positivity, and exchange news, memories and cultures rather than exchanging homes. Share your own stories with us on Facebook in All About HomeExchange (a private Facebook group for all exchangers) or HomeExchangers in English (a private Facebook group for HomeExchange members).
We want to highlight some acts of generosity and solidarity, which remind us of the strength of our community and the importance of leaning on each other during hard times.
'We packed our bags to get there before the official announcement'
“As a teacher in Aubervilliers, I was quickly informed of the arrival of the epidemic with the closure of the schools. Having two very energetic daughters including a little girl with a strong emotional sensitivity, I did not plan to stay in an apartment. So I immediately looked for accommodation not too far from Paris via HomeExchange. It was Saturday March 14th. I contacted around twenty people and I came across Nathalie (The first name was changed at the member's request) in Normandy. We called each other and the contact went right away. We packed our bags to get there before the official announcement of total containment. Monday we were in Normandy. The girls are still enjoying the garden. We have more space to be able to work. I was looking for accommodation with wifi and thanks to the preselection options of HomeExchange we found the accommodation perfectly equipped. Then HomeExchange solidarity took over. We decided with Nathalie and her family, having their house on the same land, to confine ourselves together. So if either one fell ill we could help each other. That's what happened. We help each other and this help will allow us to take better care of our children. All this while remaining confined but between HomeExchangers.”
- Amélie, 17 exchanges
'They could stay in my apartment as long as they needed'
“Two French women came to Havana with us while we were traveling to another city. Unfortunately, following the spread of the epidemic, their return flight was canceled and they were therefore blocked. I reassured them and told them that they could stay in my apartment as long as they needed to find a solution. Having a friend who works at AIR FRANCE in Cuba, I helped them the best in order to find a solution quickly. During this time, my in-laws family who was in Havana helped them by bringing them races so that they limit their travel. They were finally able to return to France but unfortunately had to repay their return flight.”
-Anonymous, 46 exchanges
'The HomeExchange community...offered us a roof'
“The Covid-19 caught up with us during our world tour. Having just arrived in Chile via Argentina, we wanted to quickly find accommodation for the upcoming confinement. Being in the South of the Country we tried to go back up, winter coming. The island of Chiloé seemed to us a good idea, neither too small nor too large. First reflex: find a roof with the HomeExchange application. Luckily Maria answers us quickly, she agrees to welcome us for 4 days. We embark in-extremis on the last boat bound for Chiloé. Sanitary control after the crossing begins: 31h planned, really 43h, bad weather in question and sanitary controls at each port. At the penultimate port at 11:30 p.m. we learn that only residents of the island can get off the boat, the others will be dropped off on the mainland 5 hours later. Big Stress the children are sleeping we are in the middle of the night the boat will dock at 4:30 am and we see our house exchange fall into the water and the uncertainty rises. Arrived at Chiloé we plead our case at 4:30 am in front of the maritime police. They refuse to let us down without the certainty that our host welcomes us. Maria receives a call from the police at 4.30am, miraculously, she picks up the phone and confirms our arrival. We finally have the right to descend on the island in the middle of the night, a big thank you to Maria for her help and her welcome. We settle for a month in his beautiful house a real cocoon. Thank you again to the HomeExchange community who offered us a roof over this complicated context.”
-Solen, 24 exchanges
'Our amazing host...was most graceful'
"A big thank-you to HomeExchange for your response to the present situation and the policy of refunding points for those of us who have not been able to travel or to continue our trip. I really appreciate the generosity of this gesture and the fact that you are, in addition, leaving the points to the host. All of this seems so perfectly in line with the spirit of HomeExchange and our wonderful community of HomeExchangers ❤️Just to add a little note to the story, we were actually in the middle of an exchange in Goa, India when we needed to return home as per advisories of the Canadian government. Our amazing host Rajat was most graceful and he did offer to return the points for the remaining part of our exchange. We arrived safely back in Canada on Tuesday 🙏"
-Theresa, 12 exchanges
'I feel more than ever citizen of the world'
"As I'm thinking of all my HomeExchange experiences, right now I have in my heart all these people I met in person or in writing, or because I lived in their house, slept in their bed, ate on their table.... and had the pleasure of feeling that they were happy at my home... I feel more than ever... citizen of the world....We will go through this difficult period together my friends, and we will exchange more than ever our homes and our paradises....... 💛🧡❤️"
-Francine, 34 exchanges