There is no place in the world that we would rather be than in Argenton-sur-Creuse in central France, and if money was no object, that’s where we would be, flitting back to Australia from time to time to visit family and friends.
The reality is that we may not get back to our house there for a little while yet, although it’s good to know that we have a couple of house-swaps planned this year, where people will stay at our place in Argenton while we stay in theirs in Melbourne, Australia. No money changes hands, and we remain responsible for our own houses and associated bills.
It’s a perfect solution for all concerned.
They get free accommodation during their holiday in France, with literally all the comforts of home. They are also able to come and go at will, perhaps doing several side trips with the advantage of not having to take all their luggage with them. And of course the local station is within easy walking distance of our house if they travel by train (the most likely scenario when arriving), or they may be game enough to use our car if they are confident driving on the “wrong” side of the road. (Naturally, in the unfortunate event of a car accident the driver would have to wear any insurance excess payable.)
For us, house-swapping serves to put a roof over our heads here in Australia while we work to save up for our next trip back, as does house-sitting.
The advantage of house-swapping for us is that the arrangement does not involve pets, leaving us more spare time and freedom – a trade-off against the extra French utility charges inevitably incurred.
House-sitting on the other hand is where we look after someone’s house and (more often than not) their pets while they are away from home, wherever that may be. We take the responsibility of looking after pets seriously as we are perfectly aware of how precious they are to their owners and understand that the animals may well be missing their “humans” so we make sure we treat them with extra TLC.
Again, no money is exchanged, as the homeowner pays all the normal household bills in addition to any pet-related costs.
Both house-swapping and house-sitting are win-win situations, and the more arrangements we manage to make, the faster our travel savings grow – and another trip back to Argenton-sur-Creuse is our prize…
a beautiful town any time of year…
where we can sit back, relax…
and enjoy! (Well, at least when we’re not madly renovating or charging off on further travels that is.)