We've been doing home exchanges for years now - we've traded houses with families in England, Washington DC, Georgia and Toronto. Plus we own three timeshares which, while we were still working, we sometimes couldn't use - right now we're two behind and three current, so we have five timeshare weeks we need to use in the next year. Also, we're due for a schooner cruise off the coast of Maine - we've been on that trip three times and we love it - six days in the waters of Penobscot Bay, with 30 passengers and 8 crew, helping to sail the schooner, eating home cooked food and enjoying the companionship of folks from all over the country - plus a lobster feed one evening on a deserted island.
So I'm looking at the year starting June 25, 2010, my last day of work. We'll do the schooner in August or September - depending on what I can find in Maine or thereabouts in either a home exchange or a timeshare week. Already I've got conversations going with a couple who have homes in Sedona and Maine and who've invited us to stay with them one night in Maine when we go back there for the cruise. And we have two sets of friends who live in Maine who've invited us to spend a few days with them.
What an opportunity! For the first time, I can go to the home exchange site and send out offers for members in Maine. Meanwhile I can look at timeshare exchanges that come up for two groups we belong to. When we've found what looks good I'll make our schooner reservations, so we can do it all in one trip. And this year, we can drive if we want, rather than flying. We can do a road trip! Or not.
We've got only one constraint. We have an organic garden that we harvest in mid-September, so we need to be there for that.
But it's not a work constraint. And that is wonderful.