Home Exchanges Are All About People

One of the often mentioned reasons for doing a home exchange is the opportunity to “live like a local.”

This summer, after our home exchange, we realized that another benefit is that you get to meet the local people.

We were doing a home swap in southwest England. The check-out clerk at the local grocery store started up a conversation as soon as she realized we were from the USA. She proudly announced that she was born in Philadelphia. She has lived in the UK for the past 30 years (in fact, she was two years old when her family moved back to England), but she was thrilled to make the connection between her past and these home exchange people from “the other side of the pond.”

After only a week in our exchange home, we had not yet met our next-door neighbor. Our schedules didn’t mesh. She was home when we were gone–and vice versa. We never would have met, in all likelihood, if it were not for an everyday occurrence. The local delivery service wanted to deliver a package to her home. Since she was not home, the delivery courier did what he normally would have done, if the home owners for our exchange home were home (instead of us in their home). He simply rang the doorbell and asked if we would sign for a package that was intended for our neighbor. We told him that we did not know our neighbor. And we continued, “Sure we will sign for it and see that she gets the package.”

And that is how we met our neighbor–and made a new friend–exchanging names and swapping stories.

We learned about our neighbor’s family. We also came to know a little about her son who enjoyed playing the drums–which we could attest to, as we had heard him practicing while Mom was at work.

When our new friend heard that we were going to do some sightseeing out of town for a few days, she gladly offered to set out our garbage and recycling for the waste collection trucks that were due to make their weekly pickup while we were away.

During the remaining days of our home exchange, we greeted and exchanged pleasantries with our neighbor, updating her about our travels and in exchange she gave us a glimpse into her everyday life.

It really is fun “to live like a local.” And this includes meeting the local people. How wonderful!