Editor’s Note: This lovely post was written by Kerry of Trusting Traveler. Please check out her bio and site at the end of the post! Thanks Kerry!
Regardless of how much you love your job – your health, happiness, and continued job performance depends on you taking meaningful breaks from it now and then. Nobody benefits when you are too exhausted, discombobulated, and stressed out to be at the top of your game. So, no matter how indispensable you are, you have to give in to taking vacations.
Vacations are necessary to restore our overcharged minds; and I believe a longer vacation serves that purpose much better than a shorter one. In today’s work world, you can’t just walk out of your office and disconnect yourself from your job; you need more time; time to let all the people you are connected with know that you are on vacation; time to wean yourself off the connection engine; and time to ease and relax into a much slower pace.
If you have an employer who offers a work schedule that permits two or more weeks off at one time, you are very fortunate and should take advantage of the opportunity to take a longer, more restorative vacation. With that said, all vacations are not created equal in terms of their restorative qualities.
If you are a father or mother, it’s not likely that you can just stay home and relax for a few weeks. You will end up working in or around the house, arranging play dates for your kids, chauffeuring them around, or else listen to them complain about being bored! Your time would be much better spent going away someplace so you can spend quality time with your family. I’m not talking about an expensive weeklong trip to Disneyworld; that would hardly be right to restore your to your former balance. No, you would need a vacation from that type of vacation! I’m not knocking Disney in any way, in fact I love it – it’s magical; it just isn’t restorative.
What would be good for you is a more relaxing and gratifying vacation; one that has the power to remove you completely from your daily, perhaps obsessive routine; one that is sure to be memorable and please your whole family.
The most pleasurable and rewarding times I have ever spent with my family have been on our international home exchanges, all five of them. The length of our trips, the caliber of our accommodations, and the incredible cultural advantages of these vacations have been so much more than I ever expected to be able to experience and afford. But, afford them we have; we’ve afforded a total of fifteen weeks over the last five years, and have reaped tremendous rewards as a result of it. I consider these vacations my single greatest accomplishment, because I believe the benefits to my family, my children especially, have been so significant.
I have been sharing my enthusiasm for international home exchange with everyone I know, for years, hoping to inspire them to give international home exchange a try; to experience its wonders like my family has. Now, I am in the process of sharing my enthusiasm with people I don’t know. It’s too good to keep to myself and my close circle; so I’ve started to spread the word.
The Economic and Cultural Benefits of International Home Exchange
International home exchange has been around for over six decades and has proven itself to be highly reliable. Today, there is a whole new travel market emerging as a result of its reliability and consistency; it’s called Peer to Peer or P2P. Yes, that’s what it all boils down to; peers trusting their peers; and it works beautifully. Right at the center of this P2P craze is international home exchange, the heart and soul of it.
Included in the P2P markets are services to both save travelers money and satisfy their craving for richer cultural experiences. One such on-line service allows you to make a reservation to go to the home of a local, and to dine on an authentic meal they have prepared for you.
Major travel industry research suggests this trend and this market is going to continue to grow. It seems more and more people are looking for affordable, culturally rich travel and they are opting to learn to trust their peers in order have that.
Just this week, Travel and Leisure (.com) posted two articles “On the Joy of Snail Paced Travel” and “The Anti-Tourist Travel Rules” that overwhelmingly favor the style of travel that international home exchanges are built on because they deliver in spades! Links to both articles can be found on my website, The Trusting Traveler. The mission of The Trusting Traveler website is to provide families everything they need to live a life rich in culture and travel. That is the philosophy I want to share, along with the practical information and advice families need to achieve that.
Honestly, I don’t even remember where I found out about home exchange; but am I glad I did! I’m also glad that I had no qualms about it; like so many people who hear of it seem to have. I can’t believe how remarkable it is. The phrase “nothing in life is free” simply does not apply to home exchange. Not only is the home free, but it usually comes with other amenities such as pools, cars, and your own personal travel consultant (your home exchange partner). With a home exchange, as opposed to hotel, you experience the area like a local, not like a tourist, and this makes for a much more enjoyable, culturally enriching experience.
If what I just described is what you are looking for; and it is absolutely the way I have grown to enjoy my travel, then you must give home exchange a try. When I visit a wonderful place, it is not enough for me to see it; I want to immerse myself in it and become a part of it, for a little while. Extended (two weeks or more) home exchange vacations allow us to relax into a place and really savor it.
One final note: If you crave anything in life, such as I craved to travel Europe, find a way to satisfy your craving. You will be amazed how good you will feel about yourself when you accomplish something you never dreamed possible!
Kerry Ascione, The Trusting Traveler
Providing Families Everything they Need to Embrace a Lifestyle Rich with Culture & Travel