Home Exchange Like a Pro

My husband and I have used HomeExchange.com for a few years now. It's a platform where homeowners pay an annual membership to create a profile of their home and share it with likeminded homeowners around the world. It allows us to connect with people across the globe and arrange a home (and sometimes vehicle) exchange. Someone in Spain comes to our house in the United States while we cross the pond to hang out at their home in Basque country. It fosters worldwide travel while negating the prohibitive cost of long-term accommodations. It's wonderful! But we still encounter friends and relatives who can't fathom doing such a thing.

Letting strangers stay in your home? Crazy talk! 
What about your things? 
What if something goes missing?
I could NEVER do that!

At which point we relate the pros and cons of our experiences with home exchanges, as well as why we have no plans of stopping any time soon. Here are the top 5, pretty-basic-and-rooted-in-logic-when-you-stop-to-think-about-them, tips to approaching an exchange like a pro.

Reviews & Giveaways (Because Free = Awesome)

Publishers Weekly has spoken. Here's their full review of Vagabonding with Kids...
Armchair travel and parenting guides find unusual symbiosis in this work from Turner (Hair of the Corn Dog), in which the mother of two uses her own lively experiences traveling abroad with children to persuade readers that “long-term, nomadic travel” with little ones “fosters compassion, adaptability, perspective, gratitude, and a sense of wonder.” Parents will be easily swayed by the prospect of exposing their young brood to life abroad, as Turner recounts her tales of trips to Australia and Brazil for months at a time. The real challenge is convincing little Ivy that fried piranha is a viable snack or helping Emilia leave all her books at home. Turner also advises intrepid parents to remember the Imodium and think carefully about traveling by camper in a foreign country. Awkward diaper changes aside, Turner argues firmly in favor of the benefits extended travel had for her children. Turner’s charming tales evoke an odd mix of envy and schadenfreude; readers may simply want to stay home and keep reading.

Enter the Goodreads Book Giveaway here...

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Vagabonding with Kids by A.K. Turner

Vagabonding with Kids

by A.K. Turner

Giveaway ends October 15, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

10 Ways to Move Your Body at Eagle Island State Park

I'm embarrassed to admit that it took me more than a decade and the esteemed title of Writer-in-Residence for Idaho State Parks to get me to Eagle Island. So lame. But at least now I know what I've been missing and I can make use of it in the future. I was shocked to see what this hidden gem has to offer, from gigantic shelters and barbecues for family reunions to snow cones of obscene proportions. Of course, it's always nice to move around in between the burgers and sugary syrups, and Eagle Island has plenty of options. Here are ten ways you can work off the gluttony while you're there.

1. Paddle Boarding - Try it, it's awesome! Don't have a paddleboard? You can rent one from the park's visitor center. And Eagle Island has plenty of calm waterways for you to paddle around and see if it's the sport for you. No crazy yoga moves required.

Vagabonding with Kids in Alaska

We're halfway through our summer trip and find ourselves living on a tiny island off of Sitka. I revel in moments like this one, when during a boat ride from town to our rented home, I say to Mike again and again, "Wait, take a picture now," because each moment of altered light seems more beautiful than the last.