We are proud of the values and people that have made up our international home exchange network for 70 years. HomeLink presents Spotlight, a monthly opportunity to honour an exemplary HomeLink member.
Thanks to HomeLink and their open-mindedness, the Conesa family have made 45 exchanges that have allowed them to live like a local in 14 countries.
Here they share some of their many exchange experiences.
A spirit of fraternity to see the world differently. This type of holiday highlights the values of respect, sharing, open-mindedness, trust and, above all, really illustrates the idea of fraternity.
To say that Homelink has changed our lives would be an exaggeration, but home exchange has truly allowed us to see the world in a way that we never could have otherwise. Each exchange brings the same pleasure, as much in the preparation to welcome our guests, as during our stay with them.
During the exchange we are really "at home" and after getting our bearings we live with and like the locals: in New York our hosts had left us their membership cards for the main museums of the city. Our Anglo-Saxon friends often left us golf club cards. What a pleasure it is to come home in the evening, in Finland, to light the wood stove and enjoy the sauna, or to be invited to a barbecue by our hosts' neighbours.
Yes! In Lauret in the Hérault 34 department, in 2021. We had the privilege of combining the pleasure of discovering a region with the sharing of a common passion with our hosts, motorcycling. We obviously appreciated everything that makes the foundation of the exchange through early correspondence but also added our love of motorcycles: our garages were arranged to receive our respective mounts and provided with tools for the maintenance of the machines: a compressor for the tyres, engine oil, chain grease. In addition to the usual tourist documentation, we each prepared motorcycle routes for our guests. This motorcycle exchange was a perfect mutual success and could perhaps be the start of others within what we could call a Homelink motorcycle brotherhood!
The Catalan region has a pleasant, sunny and dry climate; it is truly exceptional and offers all the pleasures and treasures one can imagine. Perpignan, the capital of Roussillon, is only 10 minutes from the sea and the mountains are accessible in half an hour or an hour for the highest peak (2900 m).
The coast is very varied with immense beaches of white sand and small creeks with turquoise water.
The Canigou peak majestically dominates the plain of Roussillon; further away the Cerdagne and the Capcir are the domain of mountain lovers, pure air, virgin nature but also sports: winter sports of course, but also for lovers of climbing, mountain biking, canyoning, etc...
The rich cultural and historical heritage, even back to prehistoric times, is visible in the monuments, monasteries, priories, hermitages and also in many activities such as music festivals, folk dances (the sardana), religious processions, exhibitions, museums. The greatest artists, Matisse, Braque, Picasso, Gauguin, Maillol, Derain were inspired by our region.
The region is also known for its gastronomy and its wines.
Moreover, Spain is very close, the border is 20 minutes away, an hour and a half to Barcelona (190 km).
45 exchanges to date around the world: including Australia, Austria , Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, France, Finland, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain and USA.
It's hard to choose among the exchanges but the first exchange in 1995 in Santa Fe (USA NM) remains the most memorable.
The house was typical, made of adobe, leaning against a hill on one side and overlooking Santa Fe on the other, furnished and decorated in the local style, kiva fireplace, a natural garden where only a "coyote fence" marked the limit between the desert and the house, terraces etc.
In short, everything that is authentic about New Mexico, nothing luxurious but truly wonderful for us.
A four weeks stay in New Mexico with Santa Fe as a base camp proved to be ideal for a day trip to the Indian reserves of the desert plain (at 2000m altitude) to summits of more than 3000m, from the great white gypsum desert of White Sands to the black volcanic rocks of El Malpais, ideal to visit the Indian pueblos, to walk along the Rio Grande and to eat locally (but not too much!). But it also allowed us to go a little further by renting a car (no car exchange this time) and to visit the neighbouring states.
During our stay, the local newspapers we received helped us spot a rodeo in Albuquerque and we were able to attend like real Americans, standing with our hands on our hearts during the national anthem, to this very spectacular competition.
By experience, even if we plan one or several destinations, we let ourselves be seduced by other offers received.