1 Home Exchange Serendipity | Traveling Light Blog by Travel Writer Colleen Friesen

Home Exchange Serendipity


Mary- Colleen Friesen


“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” - Hebrews 13:2


I am a firm believer in the serendipitous. If my life can be viewed as an unspooling movie (for whose entertainment I have no idea) then there are no accidents in who I meet.

Everytime I enter a store, airport, bus depot, the cast of characters is there to develop the plot further. Granted, some might only be walk-on parts with no real impact on the protagonist (if this sounds too narcissistic, please note that I am assuming you are the star in your life’s movie).

Some of those people might only be background extras…but then again, how do I know for sure? So. Doesn’t it behoove me to treat everyone as kindly as possible?

I might believe that I’ve only met someone randomly, but they might show up in my life a day, a year or a decade later, and have a real impact on which way my life/story turns.

Which brings me to Jim Pickell at HomeExchange.com. On a Tuesday in March 2012 I received an email from a girlfriend who was living in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico. She wrote that she’d met this guy from Baja.com who was looking for travel writers to write about the Baja area. By Wednesday I was talking to Jim Pickell’s assistant and by Saturday I was in Baja California Sur, Mexico, overlooking the Pacific Ocean in San Jose del Cabo.

I like someone who makes decisions, moves quickly and gets things done. And one of those people turned out to be Mr. Jim Pickell.

Flash forward.

In addition to his Baja.com operations, he is now the Chief Operating Officer of HomeExchange.com. His get-’er-done attitude will be a huge addition to their team. Not to mention that I’ve always wanted to do a home exchange and now I know someone who’s got the inside scoop (which of course I’ll be passing along here as it develops).

Gotta love that.

Life appears rather random, but I’m not convinced it is at all how it appears. I love all these connections and the interesting unfolding of each encounter.

I’ll bet money that doing a home exchange is going to introduce some great new stars into my life.

Roll the credits!
home exchange bergamo study infographic

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6 Responses
  1. Laurie says:

    Now that sounds wonderful! Someday we’ll try a home exchange, and I’ve been meaning to get to Baja for the last 30 years, especially since my aunt and uncle winter there and launch off for explorations of South America and islands in the South Pacific.

    Lucky for all these folks to have met YOU.

  2. Colleen Friesen says:

    Awww…thanks Laurie:) I feel pretty blessed all round
    As for home exchange, your place would be a great candidate, especially given all your Sunshine Coast connections you could make for anyone staying there.
    And yes, you most definitely need to get down to the Baja. Love that part of the world and I know you’d love it too :)

  3. Lesley Peterson says:

    98% of home exchangers are interested in cultural heritage–sounds like something I should look into!

  4. Brian Luckhurst at Home Exchange 50plus says:

    Hi Colleen

    I am sure you will love Home Exchanging, it is such a great concept and I am really surprised that more people don’t travel this way, although it is becoming more and more popular. For your info, there are three basics types of Home Exchange – A traditional Home Exchange is when you exchange homes at the same time, a non-simultaneous exchange, which offers more flexibility, is when one or both of you have alternative accommodation available and Hospitality Exchange is the third type and this is when you take turns staying as guests in each other’s homes.

    If and when you start the process, one thing I recommend to our members is to fully communicate with your potential swap partner to really get to know them prior to the actual exchange.

    I am looking forward to reading all about your future swaps and your other articles.




  5. Jim says:

    Thanks for the kind words Colleen. Home exchanging has quite literally changed our lives in so many ways, not the least of which is that my daughter Madison was actually born at home, while on an exchange! I suspect that was a first. But more recently, it’s allowed us to cost effectively travel. And, as you know, we love to travel. In the last year we’ve done exchanges (4) in Sardinia, Kauai, Newport Beach, CA and Redondo Beach, CA. We’ve also hosted a number of people from around the world in our home in Todos Santos, including YOU! A great way to pay it forward. Now as part of the team, I’m hoping I can share my good fortune with others. Thanks for sharing.


  6. Colleen Friesen says:

    Hola Jim! You are most welcome :) And thank YOU for ‘our’ fabulous home in Todos Santos this past February.

    I’m going to guess that your daughter is the youngest home exchanger on the planet! She’s setting quite a precedent.

    I’m looking forward to doing more home exchanging under your guidance. I truly believe that exchanging homes helps promote peace and understanding in the world. How could it not?

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