The University of Wisconsin Press
A Good Life
At Home on Foreign Soil
Derek Phillips and Klaske Muizelaar
“Neither of us was much interested in money, status, power, possessions, fame, posthumous reputation, or other achievements. But we were both, in a sense, in love with love. To love and be loved well in return was, to us, the supreme accomplishment.”
—excerpt from A Good Life
This is the touching memoir of Derek Phillips and Klaske Muizelaar and the life of love and travel they shared together. Derek, an American, had been living in Amsterdam since 1971. Klaske, born in the north of the Netherlands, had been there since 1972. Their life together centered on maintaining dignity, self-respect, and, most importantly, mutual love. At home in Amsterdam, they shared passions for work and reading, good food, music, art, walking, and travel.
Despite their love of travel, such sojourns were often beyond their means. But this was to change in 1988 when, by happenstance, they learned about the phenomenon of house exchanges. Thus began their good life “at home” on foreign soil, spending five or six weeks each year living in the homes of strangers in France, Italy, Greece, Spain, Costa Rica, the United States, and elsewhere. They describe in detail thirty of the more than fifty house exchanges they experienced.
Weaving together topography, accounts of daily life, personal observations, and social commentary, this memoir offers an intimate portrait of two people enjoying their life and love together before time runs out.
Derek Phillips is emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Amsterdam and has published books in the fields of sociology, philosophy, and history.
Klaske Muizelaar (1947–2009) was an independent scholar, accomplished furniture maker, and weaver. Together they coauthored the book Picturing Men and Women in the Dutch Golden Age: Paintings and People in Historical Perspective.
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423 pp. 5 3/8 x 8 1/4
32 color photos
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Updated April 24, 2012© 2012, The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System