Over the past few years, the travels of me and my husband Ken have been brilliantly enhanced by home dialysis and home exchange. If you aren’t familiar with it, home exchange is a house swapping arrangement that allows us to avoid the expense of hotels and stay in private homes in almost any part of the world. I am pleased to share our most recent year of adventures and how, with experience, we’ve grown wiser in choosing accommodations that make home dialysis away from home more convenient.
A Villa at the Centre of It All
This year we did a non-simultaneous home exchange for a lovely villa in the south of France. NxStage delivered supplies the day prior to our arrival, and our grown grandson, Josh, met us at the Marseille airport, contributing strong arms to help load the machine and supplies into our rental van.
Six of us spent twelve days together in an idyllic setting a few miles from the French village of Tavernes. Although terrace views of green fields, hills and forests made our location appear remote, a short drive in any direction led us to historic towns, pristine parks and bustling markets. The road north led us to the Verdon Gorge, rated as one of the most beautiful natural areas in Europe. An hour south, and we were at the Mediterranean. Avignon, Orange and Aix-en-Provence were all an easy drive to the west, and the Italian border was less than two hours east. This central location made it the perfect spot for a dialysis holiday. It was easy to get home at night to prep for Ken’s dialysis run.
Beating Barcelona Traffic
After we said goodbye to friends and family who were heading home, we packed up the van to drive to Spain with Josh, as part of his graduation holiday. The year prior Ken and I fought the heavy traffic in Barcelona, so we decided to stay in the smaller northern city of Girona this time. Parking is always a big deal for us. We have to be able to unload the machine and supplies without causing a traffic jam. We found the perfect spot on Air BnB. There was secure parking and it was across the street from the train station. The next morning, we boarded the fast train and were in Barcelona in under an hour. The following day we explored Girona, which is a phenomenal city; stunning historic sites and the best paella I’ve had anywhere, for a fraction of what we’ve paid elsewhere.
A Sweet Village Near Charles De Gaulle
From Girona, we drove to Paris via Clermont-Ferrand. Instead of staying in the centre of Paris for our last three nights, we found a small suite in Roissy-en-France, a sweet village close to Charles De Gaulle airport. The restaurants were some of the best we’d encountered, the lodgings were spacious, and it was a short train ride from Charles De Gaulle to the centre of Paris and an easy drive to Versailles.
Canadian Wine Country
In July, the family that hosted us in France travelled to our home just outside of Vancouver, British Columbia. Doing a summer exchange gave Ken and me an excuse to holiday near home. A few years ago, we traded in a fifth-wheel trailer for an older motorhome. Our NxStage System One fits perfectly into a closet intended for a stackable washer and dryer. Since then we’ve made many trips through western Canada and the U.S.
This time we packed up and headed to South Okanagan, in beautiful BC wine country. Between swimming, exploring restaurants and off-leash dog parks, attending wine tastings and musical performances, and making some time for remote office work, there hasn’t been a dull moment. Every time we visit this part of the province, we wonder why we don’t do this more often.
The motorhome served as Ken’s office in the morning, while I headed to the local library.
Ken loves swimming. For years he was unable to swim, while on peritoneal dialysis and when he had a permacath in his chest.