Some day my Prince will come. But what’s taking so long?
It feels like I joined an online dating site and nobody thinks I’m cute enough or interesting enough or even worse, maybe I’m GU (geographically undesirable) as we used to say back in the day. I signed us up for home exchange three months ago with high hopes. I’ve talked to people who have had many interesting and successful exchanges over the years, so I was picturing myself spending a month in Mexico or a week in France, making a new friend or two and expanding our travel horizons on the cheap. Just that easy! That has been my motivation since last spring when the hubs retired and announced we were going to become world travelers. He’s not big on the “how” portion of the plan…those little details fall to me and I have eagerly and happily taken up the task. Part of the challenge is that I am still a full time desk jockey who isn’t ready to cash in my last corporate chip yet. Well, unless I win PowerBall and then see how fast I say “So long, it’s been nice to know ya”.
So, back to home exchange and my enthusiastic start. Oh yes, within days of posting information touting our great city of Portland as the mecca of all things foodie, hipster and green, posting photos of our home in the suburbs but close to downtown, wine and farm country, and only a couple of hours from the beach or the mountains, we got a flurry of interest. Unfortunately we weren’t interested in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Nowhere, Iowa or even the year long offer in Century City, CA. Well, I was interested in the possibility of a sunny winter near LA friends, but hubs was definitely cool on the idea and Mr. Ricky (the cat) was a deal breaker. We have since had a few inquiries, the most interesting was from a guy who wanted to exchange his home in the jungle (as in 10 miles down a dirt road from anything that resembles a town) in Costa Rica. That one I did consider for a moment, but couldn’t work it out. For starters. Jungle = Snakes. I’m not ready to go there yet. But that was a few weeks ago. Since then? Nothing. Nada. Complete silence
So, what’s up? Why no love match yet? And the biggest question of all – How can I change this situation? It is apparent that sitting on the bench waiting for Prince Charming to come and ask me to dance isn’t going to work. Wallflower? Not me. Time for action!
1. Check out the local competition. I see a LOT of Portland offerings. What’s their appeal and how can I improve my odds? Revamp as needed.
2. Get smarter. Get involved in the home exchange community. Follow bloggers like Shelley Miller Home Exchange Expert and join community boards to find out how others are making it work.
3. Be realistic about the stumbling blocks – ie. What the hell do we really do with the cat? Will hubs go along with making him part of the exchange? This is turning out to be a bigger problem than I originally anticipated for some reason. What was I thinking? Or was I just not thinking…
4. Get really clear about what locations and housing situations will work for us, right now, while I’m still working. There are restrictions on length of stay and time zones if I want to work while on the road. When we are both officially retired – totally new ball game but my plan is to have experience on our side by then.
5. And this is the biggie. Put it out there. Be assertive. Go after what we want. ASK someone if they want to exchange with us. Tell them we have a cat and we’d exchange pet care. Hope the hubs will buy into this idea for “his boy”. Then, Ask. Ask. Ask. My new motto: “You don’t know if you don’t ask.” What century am I from that I’ve been sitting around waiting to be asked? That was Junior High and I thought I was over it.
6. Do. Not. Quit. Keep an open mind – maybe an offer could work with a little flexibility and some creative thinking.
I’ll keep you posted on how it goes. I WILL make this work!