The Wall Street Journal of November 10, 2014 had a story by Andrew Blackman titled “Can Money Buy Happiness?”   

The article discussed research comparing the happiness folks received from buying a material item versus the happiness from having a unique experience.  To quote “Numerous studies conducted over the past 10 years have shown that life experiences give us more lasting pleasure than material things . . .” 

You can discuss home exchange adventures with friends.   The 7 weeks we spent with a house exchange in Berlin, for example, has become part of our identity.  As the article said about another experience, “. . . that’s something you’ll always remember and talk about long after all your favorite gadgets have gone to the landfill.”   I feel that way about all 22 of our home swaps; admittedly some were more exciting and memorable than others.

Folks tend to get used to their material goods, taking them for granted.  This process is called “hedonic adaptation.”  We have a lovely and spacious home where the sun shines at least 8 months of the year.  We tend to complain about the heat and boring weather.  After three weeks in an apartment in Europe we appreciate returning to the California climate.  We have the delight of getting reacquainted with the home, garden, and boring things you only get excited about if you don’t have them such as a dishwasher or microwave oven.

The article discusses the views of Prof. Lyubormirsky of the University of California, Riverside saying “If you keep a painting hanging in the same spot on the same wall, for example you’ll stop noticing it after a while.   But swap it with a painting from another room, and you’ll see each of them with fresh eyes, and appreciate them more.  Try sharing possessions with other people, too, and opening yourself up to new experiences.”   

That quote could have been written to advocate home exchange.   Julia and I had 6 wonderful and happy weeks of B and B this summer—home exchanges in Brighton, England and Bilbao, Spain.  They will bring us joy for many years to come.  You will hear about the experiences in subsequent posts.

 

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Cancelling a Home Exchange at the last minute (x2)

April 23, 2014
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Agreeing to a home exchange is a serious commitment. When is a family justified in breaking a house swap agreement? A death in the family, a serious health problem, or a natural disaster would be a reasonable justification. We had agreed to an exchange this month in the UK. The British family bought their airline [...]

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Finding your Chalet in the Snow—Home Exchange for Skiers

March 3, 2014
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Yes, there is now a home exchange agency focusing on those lucky folks with cabins, chalets, or condos in ski country. Snowswappers.com is an attractive option for winter sports enthusiasts who would like to explore the world. This kind of specialized site might appeal because it is a quick and easy way to trade your [...]

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Home Swapping for points instead of with people

November 11, 2013
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The creative folks at Love Home Swap have come up with a new way to exchange your home. You pledge that your home will be available for a family to use for a specified two week period or long weekend. You are awarded with “swap points” which you can use to book a home that [...]

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Our French Extended Home Exchange Family in Brittany

October 23, 2013
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One advantage of trading your home is the support of your partner’s friends and family. These folks can help solve problems, recommend events and activities, and show you local culture. On the day we arrived in France the parents of our home exchange partners came by to say hello, show us the home, and give [...]

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Cheap food and drink, free music at festivals in Brittany

September 22, 2013
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We spent three weeks in Brittany in July and August on a home exchange. We had done our research and knew there were many large events we could visit such as the Festival of Cornouaille or the Celtic Festival . I wrote about these in an earlier post. What we didn’t know is that every [...]

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A Home Exchange Fable from the Wall Street Journal

July 16, 2013
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The Wall Street Journal of June 29, 2013 had a well written home exchange story. Emma Staub is a novelist; she swapped her Brooklyn home for a place in Los Angeles. She was working on a novel set in Hollywood and thought being there would help—which it did. She arranged the swap quickly and casually, [...]

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Home Exchange and Travel Insurance

June 30, 2013
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Insurance is a complicated subject because laws and policies vary by country. Everybody’s situation is unique. Certain home exchange agencies, for example Knok, offer insurance to their members. Knok’s policy provides cover for damage to an exchange home, but they also recommend that their customers consider travel insurance. Many home exchange travelers wonder if it’s [...]

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The Yin and Yang of Home Exchange Advice

June 15, 2013
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My last recommendation for home swap advice was Lauren Kahn, also known as the Alte Cocker. For something completely different try Shelly Miller, the Home Exchange Expert, who has a degree in Journalism and is enthusiastic and positive about her favorite way to travel. Her website is beautiful and impeccably linked with Facebook and Twitter. [...]

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Home Exchange Wisdom from your Jewish Grandmother

June 4, 2013
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Lauren Kahn is an experienced and opinionated house swapper. She has completed 51 exchanges on three different continents and has three more planned this summer. Her blog on home exchange can be found at altecockertravels.weebly.com. I think alte means old and travels is self-explanatory. I will pass on figuring out the rest. Lauren is feisty [...]

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