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Not too long ago, Jim Pickell, President of HomeExchange, shared his personal story with you. In it, he revealed how HomeExchange changed his life. Hundreds of you replied with inspiring stories of how it changed yours. Here are a few of them.

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“What I love about the HomeExchange concept is how it is intimately connecting strangers across the globe in a mutual bond based on trust. It is bringing special people together who are the forerunners of conscious change. This is so refreshing, given all the fear and isolationism we have in our world. No matter where we live or how different our homes, cultures or looks are, we all share this beautiful Soul of Humanity. This is how we start building a new and better world — through heart connections, service, trust and goodwill.”
Faye, South Africa
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And we’re off! Our round-the-world journey has begun and we’re delighted with our first home exchanges!

What a joy it is to relax in the homes that have welcomed us! We are now in our second country, Vietnam, and we have just arrived in our third home exchange.

We’ve really come to appreciate each “magical” moment when we first open the door. No matter how big or small the home, there’s always a feeling of excitement, mixed with adrenaline, joy and envy.

These exchanges and the discovery of the homes are moments for which our whole family is grateful, a time when each of us can reestablish a bit of personal space. After all, it isn’t easy to create personal space when we’re constantly on the move or five people sharing one room in a hotel. But the kids settle quickly into new homes, even if those homes are all very different from our own. We’ve been in a large five-story home in Hong Kong, an apartment in China and a three-floor house in Vietnam. Read More

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It all started one night in January with a list and a bottle of wine. After watching an inspiring movie, we identified all the things we want to do before we die. Everybody keeps saying that life is too short and that we should go for what we truly want. So we wrote down everything that was on our mind: visits to specific countries, taking part in particular activities, learning a language and embarking on a world tour.

A Passion for Travel

Now, a year and a half later, here we are, about to leave everything we know, step into the world and discover new things. Douglas has quit his job and I’m putting my studies aside for some time — a year, maybe more, who knows?
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We began by reading through information on the internet and asking people about their experiences. We also wondered if we should set an itinerary and buy tickets in advance, or just play things by ear. Here’s one itinerary for our trip that we really liked::

Paris – Moscow – Beijing (via the Trans-Siberian Railway) – Hong Kong – Delhi – Mumbai – Hanoi – Bangkok – Bali – Melbourne – Cairns – Santiago – Buenos Aires – Rio – Paris

Getting Organized

With this in mind, we went to a travel agency that specializes in round-the-world journeys to ask about organizing our plane tickets all at once. We learned that these tickets, once issued, have to be used within a year and allow you to modify the dates of the flights. That said, you can’t change the route, which we saw as a potential problem. There are definitely some places that we really want to see, but we also want to go off the beaten track. So we decided to purchase our tickets as we went. Read More

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People vacation in different ways. Many tourists like cookie-cutter hotels and predictable plans. Their main goal is to hit every attraction they’re “supposed” to see. Travelers, on the other hand, want to experience the everyday life and culture of the places they visit. The sites are fascinating, but not nearly as much as the experience of immersing themselves in an unfamiliar town. Home Exchange offers opportunities for the open-minded traveler to live like a local and participate in activities outside the pages of a guidebook. Read More

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Audrey, Fabien and their three kids, aka Family Globe Exchange, are exchanging their home in the French town of Yzernay and embarking on a trip of a lifetime: a year-long, round-the-world family tour with 12 home exchanges along the way.

With us are three young globetrotters: Hugo, nine years old; Raphaël, eight; and Camille, six. They’re bundles of nerves and excitement. They envision this round-the-world tour as a great explorer might: They want to discover new countries, play with children, learn about different cultures, see new landscapes, take part in new activities, learn new languages and eat different foods.

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Are you fascinated by the “City of Light”? You’re not alone. Paris is the world’s most visited city for good reason. And it’s not just because of the sweet aroma of brioches or the cobbled streets that have been witness to centuries of history and culture.

Care to escape the crowds of Paris without missing out on the real flavor of the city? Living like a Paris local through HomeExchange, you’re already well on your way to a rich and personal experience. And now we’ve assembled a list of 10 exclusive, yet inexpensive, ways to get off the beaten sightseer track. Bon voyage!

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Hi,

Over the last several months I’ve had the opportunity to meet many more Home Exchange members than usual, both in person and by email. I’ve gotten to know many quite well. The conversations I’ve had have reconfirmed one of my favorite aspects of home exchanging… the people I meet.

Now I’m looking for ways to get to know more members, and inviting members to get to know me better. In the process, I’m listening closely to creative ideas as to how we can improve Home Exchange and get a better handle on what our Members are looking for.

I hope I’m not being presumptuous in sharing the journey that brought me to HomeExchange.com, but sharing is what we’re all about and it needs to start somewhere. So it might as well start here with me taking the first step….

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As more and more travelers seek out unique New York (say that 10 times fast!), they’re looking to make memories more exciting than any tourist souvenir. You may already be living like a Big Apple local through HomeExchange, but how else can you get a feel for city living? There’s no need to splurge.

New York City can definitely be a costly place to visit, but there are lots of price‑conscious ways to take it all in that definitely count as money well spent! Here are 10:
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