We fly & flop. Retired now, one of us is an environmentalist, the other a writer. We're both Quakers; we meditate quietly with other Friends worldwide. The Swede lived in Europe ten years; the Italian's family is in Sardinia and he studied and worked in Europe three years. We're married - together 15 years.
This year, like last year, we spent the springtime with a month in New Orleans in a friend's guest apartment and nearly a month in Boston in another friend's apartment. We spent spring and fall there last year.
This summer we've exchanged our lower hudson valley retreat, WPW, with a terrific young couple for their spacious, airy apartment in Amsterdam. .
We've exchanged with a couple in Sardegna so we can be in their apartment for a good amount of time this fall. Gio has about 30+ family members there.
We're late to HE simply because we & our friends have spare homes to give friends to stay in. We decided to try out HE because there are some places in the world we'd like to fly & flop in for 2-4 weeks where we've no friends' home. Little did we know HE would lead to closer friendships than we have with most of our friends. There's nothing more intimate than living in another's home - unless it's walking in their shoes! Though we had way too many offers for WPW for this summer it has delightfully led to making pen pal friends who we want to visit during our time in the NL! Now that's a bonus.
We'd love to exchange in 2014 in Paris, Sweden, Minneapolis, San Francisco, the Riviera (off season). Or tempt us!
We're based in Manhattan and have this nearby retreat Per got when he was a CEO. (He didn't want to travel more than one hour to get to it since he was traveling a lot at the time.) When we met and married it was a collision of real estate for now we had Gio's very modern retreat in the woods of Litchfield County in CT. This means a non-simultaneous exchange or exchanging this year and piling up a credit for next year is just fine with us.
But things will change. We are looking for a place in Cambridge MA since we've very close friends there - and by being members of the NY Society Library we can also use the Boston Athenaeum.
When we do that we'll be selling WPW - and are holding out for someone who has the same philosophy we do: that we are merely caretakers for the things that have been given to us for safekeeping. We like places that are that special.
Since WPW is one of a kind, with 20 acres, cascades, stream, pond - all 1 hr from NYC - surrounded by 56,000 hectares by public land - we'll sell it privately. If you're interested in possibly acquiring it in 2-3 years let us know.
We realized the world was our home for many reasons. Per's whole family (30+) came from Sweden; Gio's came from Sardegna.
Per was a Carnegie Fellow in India 9 months (not the monsoon!). Returning to the US he promptly saved up enough to move to Paris, where he ran the American School for years - spending two months a year in Nice. Returning to Wharton for a MBA he went back to Paris for another few years as a management consultant. All in all 8 years in Paris.
Gio studied in Italy. In the military he was stationed in Germany - where he met his Dutch wife. When his kids were ten years old Gio got a Fulbright in the UK - so they'd get to know the world too.
Living abroad is a lifestyle for us. Moreover, as Friends we believe all we have is merely in trust for us. We're the caretakers. And true happiness is happiness shared.
We fly & flop. To enjoy a new location takes 3-6 weeks at a time. We're not doctrinaire - we've done weekends, weeks and two weekend + a week trips. But they can be exhausting as much as they are exhilarating - mostly because air travel isn't fun anymore.
In Europe and the USA we've been given homes a dozen times from family & friends - in Amsterdam, St Tropez, Paris, Sardinia, Budapest. And in north America in Montreal, New Orleans, Key West and Boston. In a year we spend half our time in NYC.
We've a two-bedroom apartment just off the east river on the upper east side in Manhattan. We do let good friends stay there - and it could be part of an exchange if it meant we got a really terrific place at the other end. But Manhattanites are properly sensitive to their neighbors appearing to run a hotel - a definite no-no in NYC. So we do this rarely. So like with all else it's a matter of balance and common sense. So while Manhattan time can exceptionally be a part of our hosting you we'd need to work out the details.
Even though our apartment is extraordinarily quiet, ideally located, & quite attractive be aware that NYC these days has a high level of energy. Everyone these days is utterly work oriented. We gave up using our dining room years ago - for no one can come to dinner any more. NYC has parking rituals we've spent years learning. It's tough living there - hard work to make it work.
We feel that WPW is the best base for holiday stay. Then you can dive into the city in the morning and return at night - traveling but an hour to get there. Your base of operations is utterly peaceful, gorgeous wilderness. And you have a one hour start on all the great places to visit in the Catskills, Poconos, Berkshires, Taconics, and the Adirondacks. The best base for visiting Manhattan is one where you can return to peace and quiet.
We have grandchildren. We think that WPW is particularly suited for young children. We have a dozen neighbors, each with 10-50 acres, using a common private road. This means we're so close you inherit a dozen new friends if you wish while staying there. WPW is a place for people who like to truly get into a place, see what life in this region is really about - and do so in a very relaxed style.
We are both into art and artists enormously. Per writes a blog on art & events in NW CT. We visit artists' studios. We talk art with other bloggers, artists, and teachers. Our idea of a beautiful week was the one we spent with a sculptor of massive outdoor pieces in New Orleans - just wandering the city, visiting works, discussing art, looking at art, being with art.
We read voraciously. We're members of the Society Library in NYC - and haunt the Athenaeum in Boston. We watch little TV.
So there we are. Let's mix it up - and share!
December 1 — November 1, 2015 These dates are flexible
San Francisco could be just ten days or two weeks; normally we fly & flop for a month.
May 1 — October 1, 2014
Per's parents are from Sweden
May 1 — November 1, 2014
Per spent five summers in St Jeannet, a perched village above Nice
March 1 — November 1, 2014
Per lived in Paris 10 years - his entire 20s
March 1 — June 1, 2015
Gio has numerous family members in Alghero
January 1 — December 1, 2013
We did our first exchange in Amsterdam. Utterly spectacular and satisfying. Gio has numerous family members here + we've many friends here.
We're photographers. Outdoorsmen. Own two forests. Love wilderness, lakes. Enjoy European capitals are much for their lifestyle as their beauty. Where quality of life trumps work. Boston, New Orleans, Montreal; Stockholm, Copenhagen, Amsterdam. Lived 10 years in Paris, each summer 2 months in Nice. Family in Amsterdam & Alghero, Sardinia.