by Betsy Hicks
Ron and I work from home. We are excellent at it and very disciplined. This lifestyle allows us to travel, but funds present limitations.
At the beginning of the year, we posted our San Francisco 2-bedroom flat on Guest to Guest. It’s a home swapping organization with seemingly the majority of subscribers being French….either that fact is true or my home is as desirable as a warm fresh baguette because 70% of the inquiries I get are from French people.
The vacation of a lifetime happened for Ron and me in May as we traveled to Provence and Paris to celebrate Ron’s 60th birthday. That was followed by a trade with a woman in Brooklyn when Ron had business to attend in NY. All exchanges have been beyond our expectations and we have met friends along the way.
Right before we were leaving for France, I woke up to an alert on my phone. Without any interest in doing another exchange, I still enjoyed the imagination factor of looking up the offered home.
“Whoa,” I whispered barely awake and still horizontal.
“What?” Ron asked curiously because “Whoa” usually means someone famous died, there was a natural disaster, or my daughter just posted a food picture on Instagram.
“We just got an offer to do a three week home exchange on a Tahitian Island,” I generalized knowing Ron wouldn’t know where Mo’orea was.
“Oh, you’re kidding?” He said as he sat up with excitement.
One of my favorite features in Ron is that he’s as whimsical as I am. He’ll walk the extra mile to see one more beautiful waterfall even if he’s seen 10 that day. He LOVES life and we have dreamt of a living situation where we could travel the world (still working), but having the experiences of melting into many cultures.
“I think the airfare is really expensive though,” I said and minutes later confirmed the $2000 ticket and roped in my logic with, “Let’s think about it.”
Saying “Let’s think about it” to Ron is very literal. I’d find myself working that day and him peaking around the corner explaining how with only a three hour time difference he could work regular hours. This began the pursuit of trying to find what our barriers would be other than the plane tickets, but there were none. In communicating with the owners, we found them delightful, the internet fast, and our landlord agreeable.
A week later we formally agreed to the exchange. Immediately after we found French Bee Airline began offering non-stop flights from San Francisco for only $850 roundtrip…a confirmation we did the right thing.
Not only did we exchange homes, but cars as well. We left our car in short-term parking at SFO and they left their car by the ferry. We helped each other obtain SIM cards so we could have local numbers when we arrived. I found neighbors happy to loan them strollers and other baby supplies for their two-year-old daughter. After arriving I received an apologetic email that they left laundry in the washer that I happily rectified as did they with taking a photo of the important document that Ron needed for work. A reciprocal exchange at its best.
My last blog post was titled, Life Simplified. In step-three I write about asking oneself the question, “What would this look like if it were easy?” This is a perfect example of how the Universe is just WAITING to dazzle and surprise us, but we often block the gifts by arguing for our limitations. We didn’t tell the Universe how to deliver the package, but more importantly, we didn’t roll our eyes to the possibility.