Gap Year Finale – Travelling Across Europe

Discover home exchange stories from our members

 Another exciting and memorable gap year story by our member Jan and John on home exchange with GuestToGuest. 

Casperia, Lazio, Italy

 

I am sitting at a dining room table reflecting on the marvelous adventure we have experienced for the past fifteen months of our ‘Gap Year’ in Europe, with most of our travels in Italy. We arrived here in Marina Velca, a gated community near Tarquinia on the shores of  Tyrrhenian Sea in Lazio, about 100 kilometers North of Rome. It was a sleepy, somnolent, beach town which seemed deserted, with houses shuttered in silence extending into the local Alimentari, where we hoped to purchase our provisions. To our surprise, it was Friday 1st June and summer was officially there and the place was buzzing with life, with people arriving, happy conversations flowing, and the entire holiday coming alive.

 

Montepulciano, Tuscany, Italy
Serre di Rapolano, Tuscany, Italy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have discovered many lovely places, especially in Italy, where we have said, “Oh, we could live here…as long as our family was here with us!” We like to call our odyssey a ‘Soul Tour’ because, what has become evident to us in our travels is that we have embraced the spirit of the people we have been privileged to meet and in turn, have made our own small contribution to their lives. Our glorious and marvelously enriching ‘Soul Tour’ is coming to an end and we are ready to go home.

 

Hadrian’s Villa, Tivoli, Italy

 

We have a folder packed with lists of the places we have stayed and as I look back at them Oppedette in Provence, Cantu near Como, the Greek Island of Hydra, Hallstatt in Austria, the Croatian Islands and Puglia, Liguria, Le Marche, Umbria, Tuscany, Lazio – all in Italy. It is hard to take it all in. Did we really spend time in all these fabulous places?  Yes, for we are left with the daunting memories with us forever, enhanced by Jan’s photos and our daily journal entries. It is, of course, impossible to choose a favorite place. We can not select one place from Paris, Lyon, Como, Amalfi, Vernazza, Hallstatt, Polignano a Mare, Kotor, and Hydra but as we discuss, reflect and remember and

we place our ‘GuesttoGuest’ stays at the top of our list of favorites.

 

We were so lucky to find GuestToGuest. Our five stays, courtesy of GuestToGuest, at Lyon, Salzburg, Padua, Fabriano, and Careola were outstanding highlights of our experience because of the warmth, generosity, and kindness of our hosts and the truly beautiful homes we were fortunate to enjoy. We say to ourselves often, “We are blessed, fortunate and lucky” and one of our chief blessings has been our association with GuestToGuest and we look forward to continuing when we are back in Australia. The American philosopher, Martin Buber, said,

“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware”.  

 

Portovenere, Liguria, Italy

Thanks to GuesttoGuest, we have found some of these destinations and are so much richer for it. We have been and continue to be self-appointed ambassadors wherever we have traveled, extolling the advantages and joys of GuestToGuest.

 

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