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Four Seasons in a Day: Travel, Transitions and Letting Go of the Place We Call Home

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Deborah Jacobs quit the job from hell, rented her house and planned to Airbnb her way through France. Alternately humorous and poignant, this inspiring memoir chronicles her misadventures as she and her husband cook in quirky kitchens, struggle to speak French and shop like locals in outdoor markets. With candor and optimism, Jacobs transports readers from the grape harves Deborah Jacobs quit the job from hell, rented her house and planned to Airbnb her way through France. Alternately humorous and poignant, this inspiring memoir chronicles her misadventures as she and her husband cook in quirky kitchens, struggle to speak French and shop like locals in outdoor markets. With candor and optimism, Jacobs transports readers from the grape harvest in the Loire Valley to an exuberant chile pepper festival in Basque Country and, ultimately, to Paris, where she witnesses history in the making. En route, she does the pintxo bar crawl in San Sebastián, Spain, develops an affinity for sheep s milk cheese and cultivates new friendships. Four Seasons in a Day, an expression used to describe the changeable weather in the Pyrenees, also captures the author s extreme resilience. Her grit and determination in the face of every obstacle give us the courage to chart our own course, carve out a new life and embrace the unexpected. In advance praise, The BookLife Prize said "Four Seasons in a Day" was “swiftly paced, well plotted, and full of vivid descriptions,” called the author's experiences with Airbnb rentals “illuminating” and predicted that “Readers of travel literature will have plenty of reasons to keep turning pages.”


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Deborah Jacobs quit the job from hell, rented her house and planned to Airbnb her way through France. Alternately humorous and poignant, this inspiring memoir chronicles her misadventures as she and her husband cook in quirky kitchens, struggle to speak French and shop like locals in outdoor markets. With candor and optimism, Jacobs transports readers from the grape harves Deborah Jacobs quit the job from hell, rented her house and planned to Airbnb her way through France. Alternately humorous and poignant, this inspiring memoir chronicles her misadventures as she and her husband cook in quirky kitchens, struggle to speak French and shop like locals in outdoor markets. With candor and optimism, Jacobs transports readers from the grape harvest in the Loire Valley to an exuberant chile pepper festival in Basque Country and, ultimately, to Paris, where she witnesses history in the making. En route, she does the pintxo bar crawl in San Sebastián, Spain, develops an affinity for sheep s milk cheese and cultivates new friendships. Four Seasons in a Day, an expression used to describe the changeable weather in the Pyrenees, also captures the author s extreme resilience. Her grit and determination in the face of every obstacle give us the courage to chart our own course, carve out a new life and embrace the unexpected. In advance praise, The BookLife Prize said "Four Seasons in a Day" was “swiftly paced, well plotted, and full of vivid descriptions,” called the author's experiences with Airbnb rentals “illuminating” and predicted that “Readers of travel literature will have plenty of reasons to keep turning pages.”

59 review for Four Seasons in a Day: Travel, Transitions and Letting Go of the Place We Call Home

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jean

    Deborah, 58, quits a job she no longer enjoys and decides to rent out her home. She and her husband Ken decide to take a three-month trip through France. They decide to try Airbnb for their lodging. Deborah was originally a lawyer but has been working as a writer of business travel topics for various magazines. She decides to use her writing talent to write a book about their adventures in France. Part of the book is a how to avoid problems, rent people’s homes with Airbnb and getting along with Deborah, 58, quits a job she no longer enjoys and decides to rent out her home. She and her husband Ken decide to take a three-month trip through France. They decide to try Airbnb for their lodging. Deborah was originally a lawyer but has been working as a writer of business travel topics for various magazines. She decides to use her writing talent to write a book about their adventures in France. Part of the book is a how to avoid problems, rent people’s homes with Airbnb and getting along with minimal French. But most of the book is a travelogue of their trip. I particularly enjoyed the section about their time in Basque country. I enjoyed the descriptions of the mountains, towns, people and cuisine. The author made a comment about buildings and businesses being there during the Peninsular War (1807-14). I would have enjoyed more information relating the Napoleon’s Peninsular War and how it affected that area. I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible. The book is about eight hours long. Tavia Gilbert does a great job narrating the book. Gilbert is a voice-over artist and multi-award-winning audiobook narrator.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    This memoir tells how after Deborah, 58, quits a job she’s come to hate, she and her husband Ken, 62, decide to rent out their Park Slope brownstone to pay for Airbnb’ing their way through three months in France. She had me at “quitting the job from hell at age 58,” but still I wondered: Is it really possible to escape the rat race and take a paid-for extended trip overseas? What is it like to rent out your house to total strangers? Does Airbnb come through, especially in a foreign country? How This memoir tells how after Deborah, 58, quits a job she’s come to hate, she and her husband Ken, 62, decide to rent out their Park Slope brownstone to pay for Airbnb’ing their way through three months in France. She had me at “quitting the job from hell at age 58,” but still I wondered: Is it really possible to escape the rat race and take a paid-for extended trip overseas? What is it like to rent out your house to total strangers? Does Airbnb come through, especially in a foreign country? How do you get by for three months if you speak little of a country’s language? I’m happy to report that all those questions and more are answered in Four Seasons in a Day: Travel, Transitions and Letting Go of the Place We Call Home (the title refers to a saying about the changeable weather in the Pyrenées). At its heart a travelogue about two Americans acclimating to living in France, this book also has a message for those of us in middle age wondering “what’s next”? Deborah doesn’t sugarcoat the doubts and questions that follow trying to make a major change in your life. I read Four Seasons in a Day on a recent long plane ride home from Paris, a perfect way to enjoy this book. Its mix of travelogue, observations about aging, career, and fish-out-of-water adventures, and practical advice about the sharing economy come together to make for an entertaining and information-rich read. Read my full review here: http://gettingontravel.com/book-review-four-seasons-in-a-day-deborah-jacobs

  3. 5 out of 5

    Reader Views

    Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (08/17) “Four Seasons in a Day” by Deborah L. Jacobs is the story of a huge adventure she and her husband embark on when they decide to live in France for three months. They wanted to see what it would be like to live there, rather than just be a tourist. In order to do this, they had to ready their home in New York to be rented for three months. Turns out that it wasn’t just preparing the home, Deborah also had to prepare herself to be able to live with Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (08/17) “Four Seasons in a Day” by Deborah L. Jacobs is the story of a huge adventure she and her husband embark on when they decide to live in France for three months. They wanted to see what it would be like to live there, rather than just be a tourist. In order to do this, they had to ready their home in New York to be rented for three months. Turns out that it wasn’t just preparing the home, Deborah also had to prepare herself to be able to live with having strangers in her home. Deborah put a great deal of care into readying her house for the renters. Unfortunately, when she and her husband arrive at their intended home for three months, they were quickly reminded of the television show Green Acres. It was definitely not up to their standards. When they voice their concerns, the owners quickly gave them notice, so they immediately have to look elsewhere for a place to stay. This situation actually seemed to be a blessing in disguise because they are able to make lifelong friends and see more of France and a bit of Spain. Their further adventures allow arm chair travelers like myself, to journey along with them. As I read, I felt like I was able to see the sights and hear the sounds of places that I most likely will never go. In addition to experiencing new places through Deborah’s eyes, I also found myself getting educated on the ins and outs of the “sharing economy” industry. Deborah presents an incredible amount of valuable information that will help both a renter and an owner. Having read this book, I would definitely feel much calmer about taking on a trip like this, including one that is overseas. Having evaluated my feelings about the difficulties that she experienced, I know that I would definitely not be comfortable with sharing my home. Deborah also opened my eyes to issues that can happen when traveling abroad, such as a medical emergency. There is so much to think about! “Four Seasons in a Day” by Deborah L. Jacobs will appeal to many readers, including arm chair travelers, economy sharers, and people who are planning a trip abroad. While there were some setbacks which the couple managed to handle very well, the overall experience seemed like an incredible journey. After reading about the Jacobs’ epicurean adventures, I most definitely want to develop a more exotic palate! I just wish I had access to the freshly baked bread and incredible produce that they had in Europe. This book is highly recommended reading!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    I enjoyed this book from cover to cover as Deborah recounts the process of preparing her Brooklyn home for renters, while planning and then engaging in a long term stay in France. She outlines the pitfalls and rewards of the sharing economy in an entertaining way while providing a useful resource for others thinking of diving into it in retirement, or even before retirement. I wanted to read this book because I lived in France for a month during the time she was also there and was curious if our I enjoyed this book from cover to cover as Deborah recounts the process of preparing her Brooklyn home for renters, while planning and then engaging in a long term stay in France. She outlines the pitfalls and rewards of the sharing economy in an entertaining way while providing a useful resource for others thinking of diving into it in retirement, or even before retirement. I wanted to read this book because I lived in France for a month during the time she was also there and was curious if our experiences had any similarities. Indeed we did also love the people, the food and the lifestyle, for many of the same reasons. If I am ever fortunate enough to return, I will be taking this book with me to serve as a reference. If anyone else is planning a visit, I highly recommend this book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    GotMyReservations

    I found this book satisfied one of my own concerns about the home-sharing economy. Living in someone's else's primary home is difficult, and living in someone's second home is not much better. My experience has been that it's best to choose rentals that are always rentals; your couch might not be a comfortable, but you are unlikely to find someone's underwear in a bedroom drawer as we did in a prestigious London second home that we rented. Deborah Jacobs tells a good story and the book is both a I found this book satisfied one of my own concerns about the home-sharing economy. Living in someone's else's primary home is difficult, and living in someone's second home is not much better. My experience has been that it's best to choose rentals that are always rentals; your couch might not be a comfortable, but you are unlikely to find someone's underwear in a bedroom drawer as we did in a prestigious London second home that we rented. Deborah Jacobs tells a good story and the book is both a memoir and an advice column. It's a good read if you are thinking of putting your house on HomeAway listings and renting something else for a long-term vacation.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    Quick review now, hopefully a fuller review to appear later. Four Seasons In A Day mixes memoir and practical guide into one volume. While the overarching story relates the author's adventure of renting their house and traveling through France, sprinkled along the way are tips and advice on how to navigate the waters of house renting sites like Airbnb and HomeAway (referred to more broadly as part of the Sharing Economy). From a literary perspective, the writing is solid, engaging, and easy to fol Quick review now, hopefully a fuller review to appear later. Four Seasons In A Day mixes memoir and practical guide into one volume. While the overarching story relates the author's adventure of renting their house and traveling through France, sprinkled along the way are tips and advice on how to navigate the waters of house renting sites like Airbnb and HomeAway (referred to more broadly as part of the Sharing Economy). From a literary perspective, the writing is solid, engaging, and easy to follow. The author's background in business writing comes through in the book. It is straightforward and clean writing, but writing that sometimes lacks the whimsy and personable storytelling style that I enjoy. If you're looking to start exploring the world of the Sharing Economy, this volume is an excellent place to begin.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Beebe Bahrami

    This is a curious mix of travel memoir and nuts and bolts account for how to reinvent yourself by quitting your job, simplifying your life, renting out your home, and airbnb-ing your way into deep and fulfilling adventures in France. With Jacobs, the reader gets to be privy to all this and join the journey. There is also an unexpected surprise, when Jacobs’ best laid plans begin to unravel and a richer and unexpected journey takes their place. Rather than a three month stay in the Loire, Jacobs This is a curious mix of travel memoir and nuts and bolts account for how to reinvent yourself by quitting your job, simplifying your life, renting out your home, and airbnb-ing your way into deep and fulfilling adventures in France. With Jacobs, the reader gets to be privy to all this and join the journey. There is also an unexpected surprise, when Jacobs’ best laid plans begin to unravel and a richer and unexpected journey takes their place. Rather than a three month stay in the Loire, Jacobs and her husband become semi nomadic and local villagers at once in three places, the Loire, Basque Country, and Paris. I recommend this book to anyone who dreams of living abroad, for it will likely catapult your own adventure, and also to anyone who loves France for its beauty, its people, and its food and wine.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Don Palmer

    Recommended by the WSJ - I was disappointed in the first half of this book - a nonstop litany of complaints by the author. She comes off as over the top persnickety - something that seems to make her ill-suited for travel and living abroad where I would think a “flex & flow” attitude is a better fit for doing this productively and happily. And - I’m amazed they would choose France when her husband doesn’t drink alcohol (NO VINO!?!) and also doesn’t like cheese! However, I appreciated the second h Recommended by the WSJ - I was disappointed in the first half of this book - a nonstop litany of complaints by the author. She comes off as over the top persnickety - something that seems to make her ill-suited for travel and living abroad where I would think a “flex & flow” attitude is a better fit for doing this productively and happily. And - I’m amazed they would choose France when her husband doesn’t drink alcohol (NO VINO!?!) and also doesn’t like cheese! However, I appreciated the second half of the book which contained much helpful advice about the “sharing economy” and an evocative description of the six weeks they lived in Basque Country (which they both clearly enjoyed). I’m ready to pack my bags and visit there!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kathy Heare Watts

    I won a copy of this book during a Goodreads giveaway. I am under no obligation to leave a review or rating and do so voluntarily. So that others may also enjoy this book, I am paying it forward by donating it to my local library.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Dianne Oliver

    What a bitch-fest. Pathetic. Kept waiting to see if she would get over herself, but nope. She left a horrible whining buzz in my head.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    I won this book through Goodreads. What a dream. Who wouldn't want to do this. Just quit and travel. Loved it. Funny and witty.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Janet

  13. 4 out of 5

    Erin Uselman

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  15. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne Hall

  16. 4 out of 5

    Anne

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tricia

  19. 4 out of 5

    Andi

  20. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Anderson

  21. 4 out of 5

    Prashanth Rai

  22. 5 out of 5

    Hector R.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jacqueline

    This is a book the author never planned to write, but writing it helped her with the transition between being an unhappy content writer and her new future. It is the story of a husband and wife, married for twenty-five years, who are always looking forward to their next adventure together and decide to rent out their family home in Brooklyn, New York to finance a three-month trip to France. Taking advantage of the sharing economy; online transactions where you sell or swap goods and services, th This is a book the author never planned to write, but writing it helped her with the transition between being an unhappy content writer and her new future. It is the story of a husband and wife, married for twenty-five years, who are always looking forward to their next adventure together and decide to rent out their family home in Brooklyn, New York to finance a three-month trip to France. Taking advantage of the sharing economy; online transactions where you sell or swap goods and services, they carefully prepared their home for listing on sites like Airbnb, HomeAway and SabbaticalHomes, and equally carefully researched a three-month rental in France, or so they thought. Finding themselves in a cottage in the Loire, not quite as ready for them as they were for it, the start of their adventure didn’t live up to expectations. Having lived in rural France for over twelve years, I guess I’ve forgotten how different life here can seem to a new arrival, especially one from New York. Her frustrations with quirky door locks, temperamental oven ignitions and unexpected power outages made me smile as I thought, welcome to my life in France. However, despite their disappointments they continued with their adventure, which ultimately took them to some previously unplanned areas. Their willingness to try and speak French, to become regulars at the local markets and to seek out places on and off the tourist map is to be commended and I’m sure enhanced their stay. Deborah, like I am, is a fan of Coffee Break French, a regular podcast to help improve your French, for all levels. My favourite section was when they were in the Pays Basque. They were more settled, her writing felt happier and I too have a soft spot for the Basque cuisine. Food plays a major part in this book and whether describing the market produce they buy, the dishes they prepare or the meals they eat out, your appetite for French food will be awakened. Deborah has more experience of the Basque area than I do, having spent six weeks there as opposed to my two short visits, so I enjoyed learning from her and took plenty of notes that came in useful for our recent holiday there. This book will appeal to those (especially from the US) who like reading about travels in France, but would also be a useful resource for others looking to do a similar thing. As well as their own personal experiences, Deborah, a journalist with a background in contract law has neatly summarised the dos, don’ts and pitfalls of using the sharing economy, which is especially important when listing your main residence rather than a second home.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Elaine

  25. 4 out of 5

    Gwen Harring

  26. 4 out of 5

    Vivi

  27. 4 out of 5

    Valerie

  28. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ron Osborne

  30. 4 out of 5

    Frederick Rotzien

  31. 5 out of 5

    Karen Anderson

  32. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Huether

  33. 5 out of 5

    Melly Mel

  34. 4 out of 5

    Micielle

  35. 4 out of 5

    Donna Smith

  36. 5 out of 5

    Kim Friant

  37. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl Bradley

  38. 5 out of 5

    Stacia Chappell

  39. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Staves

  40. 5 out of 5

    Pam Mooney

  41. 4 out of 5

    Ed Hardy

  42. 4 out of 5

    Charissa

  43. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay

  44. 4 out of 5

    Diana

  45. 4 out of 5

    Brooke

  46. 5 out of 5

    Robert

  47. 5 out of 5

    Hillary Hospodar

  48. 5 out of 5

    Andrea Stoeckel

  49. 5 out of 5

    Kimberli Loveman

  50. 4 out of 5

    Nefertari

  51. 5 out of 5

    Katharine Adams

  52. 5 out of 5

    Debee Sue

  53. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Hillyer

  54. 4 out of 5

    J Collins

  55. 4 out of 5

    Ted

  56. 5 out of 5

    Diane

  57. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

  58. 5 out of 5

    Edgar Connell

  59. 5 out of 5

    Domonique

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