by Tamara Mataya
What about your job?
What about just your house?
In my novel, Summer Indiscretions, the main character Melanie Walker is in Miami, having Switched for the summer with a total stranger. The website, Switch, connects people who want to swap houses for predetermined lengths of time. It’s like taking a vacation and using an AirBNB instead of staying in a hotel—except the stranger stays at your place as well.
The heat of Miami—and the clothing-optional Haulover Beach is just what uptight New Yorker Melanie needs to switch things up in her life! Throw in her older brother’s best friend—a man she’s crushed on since she was a kid—and the freedom being in a new State brings, and things get a little wild.
While we may not all be fine with swapping houses with a stranger—even temporarily, or experimenting with a braver version of ourselves while on vacation, wanting to get away from it all is something I’m sure we can all relate to. Here are my top 5 places I’d like to Switch to—in random order!
Everyone I’ve met from there has been delightful with a wicked sense of humour. Maybe I’ve been spoiled and have only met nice people, but it’s made me want to go for a visit. I’m also part Irish, so reconnecting with my roots would be great as well! (Not to mention hearing all of those tasty accents). I can’t narrow it down to one single place within Ireland to visit, so I’d have to bounce around the country, soaking as much up as I could.
I’ve been interested in Japan since the second grade, when we had a Foreign Exchange student teacher. How she ended up in VERY rural Saskatchewan, I have no idea. Talk about culture shock! Her name was Yuri and I’ve never forgotten her and the parts of her culture she shared with us. Japan, in a lot of ways, is the opposite of Canada, especially when it comes to population density. Up here, we’re so spread out, spoiled for space. Japan seems like a frenetic, bright, vibrant place, and while I know it’s got diverse geography, I’d be more interested in hitting up some of the big cities and trying not to drown in the nightlife! Or maybe happily drowning in it!
A friend of mine moved there for a year once, and she didn’t have a single bad thing to say about it. The land is some of the most beautiful I’ve seen, and I’d like to see that for myself. Plus, who hasn’t been absolutely mesmerized when they first saw a Māori Haka? I’d love to learn more about their culture first-hand, and see it in context of the gorgeous land and people.
Fun fact, at one time I wanted to be an Egyptologist, but clearly it never happened. So many of my favourite historical novels are set in ancient Egypt, probably because I’ve always been fascinated by the rich history and artifacts of Egypt’s past. And the rulers—from the most well-known, King Tutankhamun to Hatshepsut, the woman who wore a false beard and declared herself Pharaoh, the mythology and legends are some that draw me in like no other. As with any historical sites, seeing them for yourself is way different than reading about them in a book or seeing them in a movie.
One of the biggest reasons I’d love to switch to Norway is because I’m part Norwegian, and the older I get, the more important my roots become to me. Small parts of my Norwegian heritage have slipped into my life through foods and expressions. I can tell you the names of my fingers and toes in Norwegian, but I’d love to see the country, love to walk on the land my family walked on as well. The other major reason I’d love to go to Norway would be to see the Northern Lights! Now, we do get them where I am in Canada, but I’d never actually seen them until earlier this year (2016) and seeing them once didn’t cross that item off my bucket list—it made me want to see more. I confused my dog, as when I saw them I’d been walking him, and just stopped and stared for about twenty minutes, unable to look away. I texted everyone, telling them to get outside and LOOK.
That’s the thing about switching. It’s all a very personal thing. Whether you go for the people, the history, the culture, the sights, or an amazing music festival, it’s all about being drawn to a place that somehow snagged your interest. Whether or not it stands up to your dreams is another story, but you’ll never know until you go for it! Where would YOU go if you could Switch for the summer?
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Tamara's Newest Contemporary Romance: Summer Indiscretions
Sense of adventure mandatory.
One email away from a total meltdown, I'm desperate to escape New York. Using Switch—a website designed to help strangers swap homes for the summer—I slip out of my stilettos and into a string bikini. But of all the beaches in all the world, Blake Wilde just had to show up on mine. He's hot. Scorching hot. And he's been strictly off-limits for as long as I can remember.
To hell with that. New life? New rules.
I know something this good can't be made to last. But for three sizzling weeks, I can pretend there won't be consequences, recriminations, or regret... And that somehow our growing connection can be more than just a summer fling.
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