With the endless knowledge derived from traveling the unknown, don’t you think Benjamin Franklin would have been eager to use SabbaticalHomes.com?
The thought of Benjamin Franklin being a SabbaticalHomes.com member if he were alive today tickled my mind while touring the Benjamin Franklin House during my recent visit in London, England. His home is now a museum thanks to numerous supporters, including the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) who granted over £1 million to stabilize, restore, and conserve the once abandoned building.
The Georgian structure is a notable work of the Adams brothers (Robert, James, and William). The architecturally significant dwelling was originally meant to house Franklin for a modest 8 month sabbatical; however, Franklin ended up staying nearly 16 years! I know that a few of our members have extended their stay but, so far, I haven’t heard of such a dramatic change of plans. (If you have, please let me know!)
All the rooms in this historical home were unfurnished. Instead, a costumed guide ushered our intimate group of mostly American tourists from room to room reenacting scenes of everyday life with the aid of video and audio cues. Soon enough, we took to the play and could pretend to be timeless visitors rather than tourists. To stand where Benjamin Franklin once spent countless hours discussing the state American affairs with important English figures was invigorating. I’m not sure why it felt so magical to physically stand in this specific spot, but I truly enjoyed it.
To be in the home of a brilliant mind made me think about all of our scholarly members who leave the comfort of their own homes to study their field of interest and interact with other academics. Scholarly work is important work, some of which will inevitably leave a legacy. Perhaps, one day, a few “Sabbatical Homes” will also be visited by travelers wanting to walk in the steps of history.
Founder on the Move is a series written by Nadege Conger, Founder of SabbaticalHomes.com. She created the site in 2000 to help academics worldwide pursue their research by providing a home exchange and rental website.
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