From Newport Beach to Cortina d’Ampezzo

A Tale of Home Exchanges and Serendipity

My wife and I have always been adventurous souls, seeking new experiences and connections that span the globe. Over the years, we've embarked on over 50 home exchanges, each one offering a unique glimpse into the lives of fellow travelers. Our story is a testament to the small world we live in, the beauty of close-knit communities, and the magic of serendipity.

My wife hails from Italy, and together, we've established our home in the sunny coastal haven of Newport Beach, California, my home town. Our lives have been a delightful blend of two cultures, bringing the flavors of Italy to the shores of the Pacific. Yet, every summer, we find ourselves drawn back to the beauty of Cortina d’Ampezzo, nestled in the heart of the Italian Dolomites.

It's during these summers in Cortina that we've truly come to appreciate the interconnectedness of the world. The local community in this charming alpine town is like a tightly woven tapestry, and our experiences there have given us countless stories to share. From the local festivals to the breathtaking mountain vistas, each year brings new memories etched into our hearts.

This August, while basking in the beauty of Cortina, a surprising request came our way. Another family, with children around the same age as ours, expressed their desire to exchange homes with us, offering their residence in Venice, Italy. It was a tempting offer, as Venice holds a special place in our hearts. However, we explained that Cortina was our summer sanctuary, a tradition we cherished dearly.

In a moment that felt like destiny unfolding, we suggested that if the stars aligned, we could meet either in Italy or the United States to share stories and experiences. Little did we know that fate had something extraordinary in store for us. The response we received from the other family left us stunned – they were already on their way to Cortina, and they would arrive in just about an hour!

What followed was a magical evening, one that epitomized the beauty of unexpected encounters with kindred spirits. Sharing a bottle of exquisite Italian wine, we exchanged tales of our adventures, the joys of home exchanges, and the serendipitous nature of our meeting. It was as if the universe conspired to bring us together, two families, bound by a love for travel, a sense of adventure, and a deep appreciation for the beauty that life has to offer. 

As we look forward to the future, we can't help but feel grateful for the wonderful people we've met on this journey, and the countless connections that continue to enrich our lives. Our story is a testament to the power of exploration, the allure of new friendships, and the joy that comes from embracing the unexpected. We're excited to see where the road of home exchanges and serendipity takes us next, knowing that there are many more incredible conversations and unforgettable moments awaiting us along the way.



My name is Ellie and my husband's name is Jim. We have a 13 year old named Byron and a 10 year old daughter, Madison. We've lived in numerous countries, including the US, Italy, Japan, England and Mexico. I moved to the US from Italy (I’m Italian) about 25 years ago. We love to travel. We love active trips where we can hike, surf, ski, explore, sail. We also love the ocean. We do need broadband internet! So far, we've traveled on over 50 exchanges.