I had the big idea in college that when I retired, I would live in other countries by trading homes. Not just vacationing for a week or two, but really settling in, getting to know neighbors, where to buy tea in the morning, where to get fresh veggies, a good book store, etc. I would stay for a month at minimum, maybe two or three -- an entire season, perhaps.
Enter the internet. Now there are online clubs for this purpose. My wife retired on March 1st and I am semi-retired and able to work anywhere there is internet and a computer to write with. I am researching clubs now and the thought of posting here came to mind. It would be a cherry on top of ice cream to trade homes with a fellow Silver Wing rider. I'm in the process of getting my international driver's license.
Right now, I'm looking for recommendations about England, which is where we will begin this annual experience. We already speak the language (albeit not as artfully).
I think London would be overwhelming, especially as a first experience. I don't want to live in an economically distressed area. Something in or near a mid-sized city that has some cosmopolitan flair -- good restaurants, galleries and museums, good music and theater, safe and respectable. Something with pretty countryside nearby.
Just fyi, I will be trading a modern, one-floor villa with two bedrooms and attached full bath in each. I live in a gated, guarded, 55+ community that's 2.4 miles from a two mile, free public beach on the Atlantic Ocean. The main street in my town (Delray Beach) is filled with restaurants, shops and clubs and there is a free trolley that runs along it all day.
It's a popular destination. We attract more than one million visitors each year. There is a heated pool 45 steps from our back door (there are five pools in our community, including a lap pool, dozens of tennis courts and a small gym). The home is 20 miles south of West Palm Beach, 30 miles north of Fort Lauderdale and 52 miles north of Miami.
The weather is perfect from November to April (75/65 F or 24/18 C) and reliably 88/78 F (31/25 C) from May to October. Temperatures never spike here in the summer, i.e., there has never been a recorded temp of 100 (37 C) in South Florida. The ocean is warm all year and this part of Florida is known for its clean beaches and water. It's a subtropical paradise with palm trees of all varieties everywhere.
Would love to hear ideas, recommendations, what people think. Thanks.