HomeExchange is a fun‑loving global family — which is why, for almost a decade, we’ve gathered our entire team (and THEIR families) for a week‑long team‑building and strategy retreat. Each July, we come together from all around the world to reconnect, recharge and reenergize — in an exceptional locale, of course!
In July 2016, the entire HomeExchange team united in Cádiz on the southwest coast of Spain for another productive and fun‑filled “family reunion.” The raison d’etre for the annual gathering has been described in detail by HomeExchange President Jim Pickell, but in large part it is because we are a “virtual” company — virtually everyone at HomeExchange works remotely, so we treasure these face‑to‑face work retreats and eagerly await them all year long. (When it comes to building vision, the best way to advance is to retreat!)
Through formal meetings and informal gatherings — sand castles, air balloons, dinner and dancing — the flow of energy, passion and purpose was palpable. Stay tuned in the coming months to see some of the new ideas, tools we are exploring to make HomeExchange better than ever.
The 2016 summit reminded us that the HomeExchange team members really live out the vision they serve. We don’t just facilitate home exchange opportunities for others, we take advantage of them ourselves!
Below is a quick sampling of home exchanges enjoyed by the HomeExchange team that were arranged before, during or after our week in Cádiz.
From Rujana Lukac (Representative for Croatia):
On my way back from Cadiz, I had an excellent exchange in the center of Barcelona. I loved the location, only about 250 meters from the world‑famous Sagrada Família basilica! I was immediately struck by the worldliness of my HomeExchanger partners’ home. From the entrance door, I could see they like Asia. I loved the Panama hats hanging on the wall and the pictures from their travels. It all made me think about where to go next. The chocolate they left as a welcome gift was really sweet. I also left them something from Croatia to remind them that my doors are always open to them.
From Éva Csallóközi (Representative for Hungary)
This year I enjoyed four exchanges while driving between my home in Budapest and Cadiz. At each stop, I was struck by my exchange partners’ travels. In Nice, France, Mina and Jean‑Christophe had late‑breaking plans to to go to Brazil for two years only one week after my visit… but didn’t cancel my exchange! (I was shocked by the July 14th tragedy that occurred three days later.) In Saint‑Hilaire, France, I learned how Pat and Roger had traveled around the world. In Sevilla, Spain, I met Araceli, who has done more than 20 exchanges with HomeExchange, mostly outside Europe. And in Genoa, Italy, I stayed in the studio of my HomeExchange colleague, Cristina Pagetti (Representative for Italy).
From Susanne and Christoph Dahn (Representatives for Germany)
We exchanged our home in Freiburg (in Germany’s Black Forest) with an apartment in Cadiz. After a short but information‑filled sightseeing tour with our exchange partners, we settled into feeling like a local in this beautiful city, the perfect location for our big HomeExchange meeting.
I swam every morning with the locals. I got around town on a used bicycle that I bought. And we enjoyed the neighborhood bar our exchange partners recommended that served fresh and tasty dishes for an incredible low price. We were worried that our exchange partners were unhappy in rainy Germany, but heard from them that they were totally enjoying the experience of … rain!
From Rhonda Conry and Peter Anton (Creative and Brand; Director of Marketing and Creative Services)
After Cadiz, we relaxed for a few days in Vouliagmeni, Greece. Our exchange host, Joanna Papaiconomou, is both an active HomeExchanger and our Representative for Greece! An easy walk from the beach, her apartment has a spectacular view of the entire bay. She even left treats and our favorite wine waiting for us!
We swam at the beach and a nearby lake, ate at amazing restaurants recommended by Joanna, and took a trip into Athens where, among other things, we revisited the Parthenon. Although our visit was brief, Joanna made us feel right at home. We could not have had the same “local life” experience if we stayed in a hotel — everything felt so personal.
From Roser Goula (Blogs and Social)
After Cadiz, we went to Denmark for our 12th home exchange, but the first with our 11‑month‑old baby. It was one of our favorites exchanges. And our baby had a blast! Our exchange home was amazing. Our baby loved the garden, the new toys and the trampoline (OK, we loved it too). And we took advantage of Denmark as an ideal country for families with small children, full of playgrounds, baby‑changing rooms, picnic areas and more.
We also enjoyed traveling at our own pace, letting the baby sleep as needed, preparing her food easily and packing very light since we could access a washing machine. We also did a car exchange with a baby seat. With all the money we saved, we did the most important thing — had LOTS of fun!
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