Here is our second experience with reality TV, House Hunters – Where Are They Now? A branch off the original ueber popular TV series – House Hunters, where people search for a home and the host Suzanne Whang narrates, as the nail-biting audience tries to guess which home the people will decide between three options. It makes great TV and has a huge following, somewhere between 25-26 million.
House Hunter’s International is also an off shoot of the original TV show, except, like in our case, the people search for an international house, either for holidays or a permanent move.
Our first experience filming was fabulous with our four complete days of: lights, camera and action- for our episode Lucky in the Languedoc. After airing, we were contacted by an on pour of people. It has been a tremendous experience and we have met fellow travellers from all over the world.
House Hunters returned for a follow up episode to see how our family is doing with business start-ups and a new language, just eighteen months after our original house hunt. Boy were they surprised at how much we accomplished in such a short time: including Le Petit Platane our apartment and chambre d’hôte rental and South Westy – our wine tours and shuttle service as well as an overhaul on Les Platanes – our Capestang home.
I opened the door to meet: Ed the cameraman, Jeremy the sound guy and lastly Madeleine our director/producer. They started out filming Daniel and his baguette delivery service and why not? Daniel so far has bought himself a new BMX bike and a scooter with his earnings. Not bad for a 9 year old kid! With a steady stream of tenants in our rental guest quarters all summer long, Daniel manages a good business which collects around 3€ a day including tips. They filmed Daniel purchasing his baguettes from the bakery, making some deliveries to his customers and all with a GoPro camera on his helmet. It was a proud moment for Alfonz and myself and I hope the footage ends up on national TV to share as part of our adventure with North America, but it really depends on how they want to tell the story.
We had Belgium guests coming at noon who were willing to be on film for Le Petit Platane, to show my successful up and running gite. These lovely guests ended up hanging out with us and the camera crew in the evening as well, both were good sports.
We went to the market early in the am to gather food for lunch and dinner, all traditional French items that we eat often here in the Languedoc. Olives, tapanas, sausage and piles of cheeses to try along side our bakery items, I prepared a cold lunch for our group.
Alfonz took the crew for a wine tasting tour to Domaine de la Provenquiere next, where Francoise met and entertained them.
When the crew arrived back home, they interviewed us. They asked us a hundred questions about our new life in Southern France. We were happy to answer. I only hope our enthusiasm shows on camera in the final cut, and of course that my new dress Cecile helped my pick out looks fab. Just being honest…
Our friends arrived at our home around 18:00 for an early meal. Alfonz fired up the BBQ. Traditionally we start cooking after 20:00 but for the cameras, you need light. Alfonz made special marinated duck breasts for them to try. Cecile made a ham and cheese quiche from scratch, Anne brought huge beef steak tomatoes from her garden and Francoise donated a box of pink bubbly for our soiree. Our friends and their children were good sports to be on TV with us. The kids particularly enjoyed hamming it up for House Hunters – Where Are They Now?
Online, I get some opposition for participating in reality TV programs. I guess the big question is why would I subject myself and our children to scrutiny. Well, we wanted to share this special place and this time in our lives with our friends and family back home. Not everyone can vacation to Europe and this allows us to show him or her too. What we believe in, is something different from the way we are raised. Instead of living to work, we decided to work to live. Moreover, live we do! By sharing this message, we let other people who are feeling unfulfilled when part of the rat race, that there are other ways to live that do not revolve around your job. The message seemed more important to us than perhaps looking like idiots on TV. Happily, we are pleased with the end result of the first episode.
Capestang happens to be the place we picked when anywhere was an option. After weighing out many countries before and after visiting them, we narrowed down our search to the Languedoc region of France. Once we found Capestang, we felt it was nearly perfect, if only we could just find a way to stay, by making a viable income. After eighteen months not only did we accomplish what we needed to but found a wonderful circle of friends in the process.
I am proud of my husband’s patience, his desire for change and our ability to handle it. Moving across the world to start again at nearly 40 is truly not for everyone. You will question your judgment, put intense pressure on your relationship and stress on your children. You do not know how their character will play out during the travelling or the settling down.
The only advice I can give as a Canadian expat living in southern France is to go after your own dreams. If that means retraining for a new career, buying a new home, changing your look with a fancy haircut, trimming the fat with a weight loss program or even something as crazy as selling everything you own to move to France- make sure it is truly what you dream. Following other people’s dreams will not find you happiness. First, you have to do the work and figure out what makes you happy.
It has been two years come August 2nd since we left Canada to look for a new life based on the time currency theory. Did we find what we were after? So far so good!