"We've got to get away!"
Like everyone else in Sydney and Melbourne, we've been under lockdown for months. The moment the door was opened, we wanted to run!
But where to? Where should we go?
It had to be something different, and I knew just the place.
There's a country cottage on our website in rural Victoria that's captured my imagination since I first saw it nearly two years ago.
The home is in Clunes, a small gold rush town that's known for having a main street totally unspoiled by modern building. Every shopfront is from 150 years ago and so the town features in Australian films such as Mad Max, Ned Kelly and Picnic at Hanging Rock.
But why did I think of Clunes?
A big part of it is seeing the town and its history, but I wanted to see the delightful cottage that Dora and Gav rebuilt from a ruin.
I wanted to see Dora again, who Kathy and I had the pleasure of meeting during a brief hiatus between lockdowns in December 2020.
I wanted to experience some of their lives, knowing that they live mostly in Melbourne but have travelled there nearly every weekend for a couple of years during the restoration.
When you visit Australia, I know that Clunes probably isn't at the front of your mind.
You won't know of the gold rush towns of Ballarat and Bendigo, let alone the little gems like Daylesford and Clunes.
Of course you won't know of Gav's childhood, growing up in the area with his family. You won't know that he and Dora were likely at Hepburn Springs at the same time, filling their bottles from the spa water that bubbles out of the ground there.
You won't know of the Italian communities that lived around Yandoit or the hardy little blue stone cottages that are dotted all over.
You won't know these things unless you visit.
It's the thing that is different about home exchanging.
When tourists come to Australia, they think of Sydney and Melbourne and far north Queensland.
These places are amazing ... beaches and nature, rainforests, wilderness, superb food and beautiful people. You don't want to miss them.
But it's the little places, the places you don't first think about when you think of a different country, that make a home exchange holiday different.
The places you've probably never heard of.
Places like Orange, or Hervey Bay, or Bunbury.
Or capital cities other than the biggles like Perth, Adelaide and Hobart.
This is what Clunes represents for me.
There are places like Clunes all over our People Like Us world.
When someone asks "Will someone want to visit my location?" I say "Yes, absolutely!"
I will usually say it before I even know where you live.
I want to see where and how you live.
I want to experience your local cafe and go to your local market.
I want to hear your stories and understand what you love about your home.
It's what makes us home exchangers. ❤️