Have you ever dreamed about traveling around the world in eighty days like the infamous Phileas Fogg? With a little more time but the same amount of wanderlust, HomeExchange.com members Monique and Marcello have decided to go ’round the world in 80 home exchanges…and they are on their 58th so far!
“Our adventure started in 2002, when we promised our nieces and nephews to take them to the States as gift for their 18th birthday. Our first exchange was in summer, in Naples, Florida, with a niece and twin nephews. We preferred to stay in a house in order to know our nieces and nephews a bit better and enjoy our holiday together.”
If you do the math, 58 exchanges in twelve years means 4-5 exchanges per year. And it would be even more if it wasn’t for Marcello’s work; he teaches at Politecnico University in Milan, which limits their available travel time. However, their second home makes non-simultaneous swaps possible.
Among their exciting exchange experiences, they especially remember those in India, Turks and Caicos, Japan, Martha’s Vineyard, New York, Sicily, Berlin, Paris, Morocco, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, China, Zanzibar, Thailand, Australia, and Tasmania. Their list of anecdotes is nearly endless! Thanks to their exchange partners in New York, they got to attend the semi-finals of the US Open in Flushing Meadows featuring Federer vs. Djokovic. In India, their host invited them to the wedding of his son in a traditional Brahmin style wedding. Now, he has become one of their closest friends.
“We toured for 2 weeks around Tasmania in a motorhome as part of our home exchange. We were fascinated by the incredible unspoiled nature.”
What Monique and Marcello like the most about home exchange is meeting new people. They often travel with a couple of friends from California who they met during a home swap in Bangaluru, India.
“We believe that often after a home exchange experience, a strong bond is built between both parties. We have exchanged with New York 5 times. When we travel there, we invite all the home exchange partners from our previous swaps for an Italian dinner. They don’t know each other but the common denominator is that they all lived in our house in Italy for a while and they have plenty of anecdotes to tell about their time in our home.”
Their first exchange was in Florida; their most recent one in Ko Samui, Thailand. So what’s next? Monique says that their choice of destination is dictated by curiosity, quality of living, and atmosphere rather than status (although they’re happy to return to New York and Paris whenever possible!) The intrepid pair already have quite a few plans for 2014: New York in Easter (they have one more niece to introduce to the Big Apple), Ile de Ré in France in June, and Barcelona and Menorca island in late August. That will be four more exchanges soon to be added to the challenge list!
Would you like to be part of Monique and Marcello’s 80 exchange adventure? Follow their home exchange experiences on their blog or send them your inquiry through HomeExchange.com – check out their listing in Lake Como.