Yup, as of this past weekend, the hubs and I are no longer home exchange virgins! Finally… we found a match… and it was so good. And so easy. We are completely hooked. Mr. Just-a-Backpack is already asking me to do it again. In fact, he wants to do it any time, any place. Oh, Baby!
I always get a buzz of excitement when an Inquiry from Home Exchange pops up in my email. My first thought – Wow, somebody chose us! What can I say, I have a strong need for people to like me. That’s quickly followed by the thrill of opening the email to discover what new adventure awaits. And finally, there’s the reality of can we make this one work. Or in some cases, do we even want to. Sorry, but the week in Minneapolis didn’t seem worth the cost of two plane tickets.
Anyhow, back to this particular exchange. A few weeks ago we received an inquiry from Dawn and Ram, a lovely couple who live in Toledo, Oregon (a few miles inland from the Port of Newport). They were interested in snuggling Mr. Ricky in exchange for our feeding “the girls” – their 12 chickens, and gathering eggs. Could we work out an exchange weekend? We could and YES we would! So, a match was hatched. We emailed back and forth, exchanged information, made a plan and Voila! at 9:30 on Saturday morning we were off on an adventure. We left flowers on the table, snacks in the refrigerator, wine on the counter and Mr. Ricky waiting to meet some new friends. We found a beautiful custom-built, art-filled home on seven acres owned by an artist and a wildlife ranger.
A notebook on the counter gave us detailed instructions for everything we needed to know about their home, right down to the names and descriptions of the chickens “Ginny – Big and brown with white speckles”. We settled in to enjoy one of the most relaxing and peaceful mini-getaways in a very long time. That first evening, as we were sipping wine on the big, comfy couches overlooking the pond, hubs looks over and says “Do you hear that?” I said, “Yes. Nothing! What a lovely sound.”
The next day (after feeding the girls and gathering the eggs) we explored the tiny mill town of Toledo, strolled the streets of Newport, barked back at the noisy sea lions, walked out to the fishing docks, ducked into shops, crossed the big bridge to escape the rain for a few hours in the Oregon Coast Aquarium and stuffed ourselves at one of the best seafood restaurants on the Oregon coast – Local Ocean Seafood.
By early evening we were completely tuckered out and headed back to our Toledo retreat to enjoy all the comforts of “home”. So much nicer than watching TV sitting on the bed in a hotel room. We put our feet up, pulled out a blanket, turned on the fireplace and snuggled on the couch with a glass of Pinot and a wee bit of chocolate. We also discovered Netflix and the guilty pleasure of watching How I Met Your Mother. All-in-all, it was a perfectly wonderful experience and we cannot wait to do it again.
Thank you Ram and Dawn for making our first home exchange such a wonderful experience. We hope you enjoyed your stay in our home as much as we loved staying in yours. Mr. Ricky says “hi” and please come back to visit any time.
If you’ve been considering home exchange for future travels, I suggest you go for it.
Now, I’m off to find home exchange number two…