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Working from home? Treat yourself to a fresh working environment with a home swap!
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Working from home? Treat yourself to a fresh working environment with a home swap!

Lydia Altman
By Lydia Altman - 10 minute read
WFH Dog pic

James’ dog Peg­gy enjoy­ing the view from his work­ing from home swap in Pembrokeshire

Why is home swap­ping a great way for you to travel?

I’ve got a fam­i­ly home down in Clifton, Bris­tol, and I’ve got an apart­ment in Rich­mond, Lon­don. Gen­er­al­ly the apart­ment is avail­able at week­ends because I go home to my fam­i­ly, so that cre­ates an oppor­tu­ni­ty for oth­er peo­ple to stay there. In fact, a Brazil­ian cou­ple have moved into our flat in Rich­mond for a month, and in exchange they’ve done a non-simul­ta­ne­ous swap with us to Lis­bon for thir­ty nights over the next two years! That requires a huge trust in each oth­er, but the com­mu­ni­ty has allowed us all to trust each oth­er and just go with it. Also, I think the big thing about it is it just opens your eyes to oth­er parts of the world and dif­fer­ent areas of the world that you wouldn’t nat­u­ral­ly explore.”

What made you decide to take a work­ing holiday?

I need­ed a change of a scene. Six months of being at home, in the same room, work­ing from the same desk every day. I was miss­ing the vibran­cy of Lon­don and then when the Prime Min­is­ter said we might be locked up again for anoth­er six months or restrict­ed, I decid­ed it was my oppor­tu­ni­ty to change my envi­ron­ment. As long as there is a good Wi-Fi con­nec­tion, fun­da­men­tal­ly it doesn’t make a dif­fer­ence where I’m work­ing from at the moment.”

Why do you pre­fer home swap­ping to hotels and hol­i­day rentals?

I per­son­al­ly love it, as there is a lot of busi­ness trav­el in my job, and I find check­ing into hotels a pret­ty soul­less expe­ri­ence. I pre­fer the envi­ron­ment and the ease of swaps. Even with Jo, my host from last week, I feel like I now know some­thing about her through tex­ting, because you begin to under­stand why peo­ple love their homes!”

Did you find the Pem­brokeshire home was suit­able for work­ing from home?

Yes, the kitchen table over­looked the beach and it was only a three minute walk to the shore. In between video calls I could walk down to the beach, and lis­ten to the surf. The own­er even let my small dog Peg­gy come down dur­ing the week, and then my wife joined us at the week­end. The Wi-Fi worked, and I could go for a walk on the beach after being on a con­fer­ence call, plus I went surf­ing a cou­ple of times. There’s also a pub 50 yards away where I could have a drink at the end of the day, so it was a pret­ty good work­ing from home week!

I’ve got a rea­son­able set-up in Clifton, with a room which over­looks the gar­den – but six months of over­look­ing the gar­den ver­sus six days of look­ing the ocean is a dif­fer­ent thing!”

sunrise on beach

The beach near James’ work­ing from home swap

Did a change of scene improve your work productivity?

I think it prob­a­bly did. When I’m work­ing from home in Bris­tol, I’m on con­fer­ence calls that are back-to-back and this was a break where I could recharge. Also, it makes you start think­ing about how you want to live your life in the future, now that some busi­ness­es have found that they can run while work­ing from home. I’d now love to buy a prop­er­ty in Pem­brokeshire. I thought it was absolute­ly stunning!”

Would you rec­om­mend a work from home swap’ to oth­er members?

Def­i­nite­ly. You have to be patient as it doesn’t always work out. It’s about being open and not hav­ing pre­con­ceived ideas about time and places. I’ve enjoyed trav­el­ling all my life, but Pem­brokeshire was only two hours from my life in Bris­tol and I’d nev­er been. I’ve lived in Bon­di Beach in Aus­tralia, but I didn’t know that some­where as fab­u­lous as Pem­brokeshire was so close to my house. Love Home Swap helped me find that.”

Do you think you’ll take anoth­er work­ing from home swap?

Yes, I am hop­ing it will be in Novem­ber, depend­ing on trav­el restric­tions. I’m think­ing about going to a lake in Fin­land for a week to work from home there. I nev­er thought of going there before but if trav­el allows it, I think it might be my next move.”

man and dog on beach with surf board in pembrokeshire

James and Peg­gy enjoy­ing the surf on their home swap

If you’d like to share your swap sto­ry, get in touch and share your swap snaps on social using #welove­home­swap.