Trading Places

I just watched The Holiday a couple of weeks back. It's a chick flick so suffice to say, I watched it alone. The movie had a zero kpm (kills per minute) factor, which is hubby's sophisticated system for quantifying the aesthetic worth of a film. Even the opportunity to see Cameron Diaz strutting around in her underwear did not seem to tempt him. Suffering through all the other romantic sappiness for a three second glimpse of her legs is still torture in his books.

It was a dreamy movie. Not because Jude Law was in it ~ although I'll confess, the Jude Laws and the Hugh Grants of this world do have a certain 4-part charm: handsome and suave, self-deprecating, British accent, and philandering eye.

No, the dreamy part was the house exchange. As I suspected, the website Cameron clicked on was for real and not just reel.

I think that's such a cool concept. We are homeless at the moment but are contemplating the prospect of a home and a cottage/cabin, should the financial gods and our own guts conspire.

But yes, this seems such a perfect way to holiday and discover a new destination. Emphasis on looks. I wonder how it really pans out for people. Having a stranger come in and rifle through your u-wear drawer or accidently break your fave piece of pottery.

I dunno. There must be good, bad and ugly to it but if it's all done as an, equitable, even-stephen trade, I would think it to be perfectomundo, especially for doing a cottage-to-cabin swap.

I'm guessing this would be huge in Europe, where they're big on doing VFR travel (visiting friends and relatives), or in this case, virtual strangers.

Wouldn't it be cool to offer your pad in exchange for someone else's schwankier digs overseas? The pictures listed on this link make me laugh, actually. Gorgeous place but I just couldn't imagine offering up such a nice, white house for home exchange. Kool aid stains, dirty fingerprints and all that. And then buyer beware...what if they just posted these really amazing photos but they actually live in a cockroach-infested slumhouse? Or they pocketed one of your most coveted treasures?

The incentive to clean the house spic and span, de-clutter all rooms and with this kind of arrangement would be awesome and most worthwhile though, I think. It's one of the only reasons I like when company comes. I've even been known to clean before cleaning help has come in back in the day.

So that part would be good. I dunno, I still like this idea. I'm going to file it away in the back of my mind - if and when.
I wonder what kind of exchange we could get for my outhouse listing though? Maybe a French country barn or perchance, a New England lighthouse? Or maybe even George Clooney's Italian villa, featured above?


Natalie said...


Southwest by Northwest.

The only thing is, I wouldn't want to "trade" homes with you, I'd prefer we all stay at mine for a week the all stay at yours for a week. In both places, we'd need to hire a chef and a maid (or a few) so all we have to do is party.

Wait a minute... we don't have enough beds.
Slumber party?

Anonymous said...

My father once dropped in on relative strangers. He'd barely ever seen one of his multitudinous Italian cousins, so he showed up at what he *thought* was their house and ate dinner and made small talk and only when he left did he find out they were the completely wrong people.

Nico said...

Manda's story is hilarious!
I think that for a successful home exchange, the most important is not so much for the homes to be comparable in terms of size (most houses in Europe are fairly small when compared to their US counterparts for instance) but rather for the people to be similar. That's why on my free home exchange site you can browse listings not only by location but also by members. So for instance you can find other young parents with a kid who want to exchange places which is more likely to work that if you show up with your toddler in a totally child-unfriendly home :-)

Check it out at www.itamos.com and by all means give home exchange a try, it is a fun way to travel and meet new people!

c said...

I checked out the site after watching The Holiday as well... IT pulled off well I think it'd be great but could be a nightmare as well...

I'm on couchsurfing.com and have met a good handful of random interesting people and am contemplating actually using it on my road trip this summer...

Jungle Mama said...

That is really neat! I have not heard of such a thing over here, but they do rent out apartments and houses during the summer months for a better price than us spoiled American's would pay for a hotel room.

hatrock said...

I think you and I were watching that exact movie on the same night. I'm not kidding. I'm in love with Kate Winslet.