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Sunday, June 08, 2008

coming soon. . .egeriaexhange dot com, baby!

Hey friends in blog land!

I promise some great quotes and silly stories in the days ahead (okay, weeks for you reality-niks)
but in the meantime, some shameless self-promotion. Well, not exactly self, but self's nascent enterprise!

Okay, what am I talking about. It's

Egeria: Holiday, Academic and Pilgrimage Home Exchange --
for Orthodox Christians and their Friends

The concept isn't new -- there are lots of home exchange 'clubs' (so the lingo goes) out there, but this one would be specifically for us Ortho-folk. As Matthew D put it: you never have to bring your icons!

But seriously folks, this is gonna be cool. When Egeria is up and running and has had a chance to get established, you will be able, for a small membership fee (more on that in a minute), to connect with other members all over the world who, like you, want to exchange homes at a mutually agreeable time. This means that, whatever your reasons for traveling, you pay only for the transportation itself -- no hotels, hostels, or paid accommodation of any kind! You save hundreds of dollars a trip; thousands over a few years, depending on how much you take advantage of your membership. Plus instead of just a room you could potentially have an entire house, complete with kitchen, computer, extra rooms, back yard, etc! Some exchangers even swap vehicles, boats, bikes, etc. And maybe best of all, you get to live like a local instead of a tourist -- meet the neighbours, get great advice on day trips, where to eat and shop, what to see, what to skip.

Many people who do home exchanges make lifelong friends on their adventures. This type of travel is also extremely child-friendly (rooms! toys! outdoor space!) and great for people with dietary concerns, since you can do all your own cooking. But the best thing is that at the end of your stay there is no bill.

Members can exchange close to home (eg Vancouver with interior BC, Montreal with Toronto, etc) or internationally; for many months, a couple of weeks or just a weekend -- whatever suits both parties. Possibly clergy can even do exchanges where they serve in each others' parishes -- what is known in some parts as a 'busman's holiday' :-)

The other form this takes is called hospitality exchange. This is where two parties host each other at different times. So, for example, you go hang out with Ioanni in Thessaloniki this September, and he comes to Vancouver in April to hang out with you. This way your host shows you around and you meet a lot of locals, maybe even pick up some language skills, and in an Orthodox context, gain an appreciation for how Orthodoxy looks and feels in other parts of the world.

I know there are other questions to answer about this concept, and I will post again soon with some FAQs about home exchange in general and what Egeria is going to be like. Right now: bedtime, and Love Over Scotland, the new Alexander McCall Smith book! Oh bliss!


myn said...

SWEET!!! i'm all in!! i'm all about the cheap travel! get me to Ireland baby!

MatJenny said...

You know, I think I do have an Ortho-contact in Ireland. . .let me get back to you on that!

kimberley francis said...

i like this idea. anything in south america? ( i've got a novio here, itching to go practice his espanol.)