When Tommy and I got back from our trip to Italy, we did what we always do…
We started talking about our next trip.
Where would we go, and when? And we had to take #ToddlerGoodwin with us. He couldn’t miss out. We want him to travel with us, become a cultured kid, and have adventures that we didn’t have when we were little.
Somehow or another, we started talking about house swapping. You know, like that movie The Holiday, with Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, that other guy…
Every once in awhile, after we tucked #ToddlerGoodwin in, we’d chat about it for a few minutes, and finally one night, I said, “How do you think people do that, anyway?”
We looked into it, we read about it, we started browsing. It was kind of like window shopping a vacation to a dream destination. Wanting to return to Italy, we started off looking at places in Tuscany. We created a trial account and started adding places to our list of favorites.
We expanded our search to include cities like Paris, London, Rome, Vienna, and Brussels. Why not? Oh, and how about Dublin, Berlin, Copenhagen, Venice, and Stockholm? Sure, those, too.
We ended up with such a ridiculously long list of houses that I finally said to Tommy, “Are we ever actually going to do this or what?”
We paid for a year long membership to homeexchange.com, put #ToddlerGoodwin down for his afternoon nap and ran around the house, taking pictures of our house, inside and out. Then we created our family’s profile and added our home to all of the other houses available on the website.
It felt kind of like we were putting our home up for sale. Making sure our house looked nice, pointing out our huge backyard, talking about our awesome neighborhood, our proximity to historic sites and tourist attractions. Looking at our listing, I thought, man, why WOULDN’T anybody who was coming to the US want to stay here?!
So, we listed our house. That was the easy part. The hard part was figuring out how in the world to narrow down all of the amazing homes we’d bookmarked as possibly wanting to visit.
Again, I was ruthless. “I picked five houses. You pick five houses, so we have a top ten. We contact those people and see what we get.”
I chose houses based on location, how nice the house looked, if it was in a big city or close to anything cool, and if the house had baby items like a crib, etc.
We created our top ten list and sent messages to all of those homeowners, asking if they’d be interested in coming to the US. We got some NO responses straightaway.
While we were waiting to hear back from people, we got a couple inquiries. None of them were really a great fit, though, as they didn’t have baby-compatible homes.
Some more NO responses straggled in.
We created another top ten list and sent out ten more messages, to ten different homes, in ten different cities. And we probably did this a few more times. We had a couple nibbles, where people reached out to us, or people got back to us. However, some placees sounded good at the start, but then turned out not to be a great idea after all, for one reason or another. The timing. The location. Or the house had some crazy unsafe-for-baby feature like a giant metal spiral staircase in the middle of the kitchen or a six foot tall walk-in-fireplace.
And then… we finally got an interesting response. We messaged back and forth with the family a few times, and it sounds like… we’re going to Denmark!