A ‘new adventure looming’ was my caption today on an Instagram post. Since we have moved to Europe, we have welcomed many new adventures that crossed our path. Sometimes it can lead to a surprisingly different lifestyle as it has done for us now.
If you would have told me a year ago that we would be in this position, I would have never believed it. It has never crossed my mind we would commit to something like this.
How a housesit became a new adventure
We love doing the odd house sit, probably 2-3 per year. It is a lifestyle we can embrace because I work online and only need a stable internet. My virtual job has allowed me to work in 5 countries so far. To clarify, my job is based in the UK but I live in France.
During 2021 we have done three house sits – one in Spain and two in France. The housesit in Denia, Spain turned out to be much longer than we anticipated. The reason was that the homeowners could not return from the UK due to covid restrictions. In fact, they needed to find replacement sitters to let us go. It ended up being a 9-week house sit instead of 5 weeks.
After returning we decided we should concentrate on France as it would be more accessible as we live in France. The Spanish housesit cost us close to 600 euro due to covid tests for us and our daughter who came to visit for Christmas.
During the summer of 2021 we did two house sits and both were in a different part of France. New territory for us and it gave us the opportunity to explore new areas. On the first house sit we replaced the couple that worked as caretakers of a rather big estate. The house was for sale and the people who came to view it bought it.
From house sitters to becoming caretakers
To cut the chase, they asked us if we would like to become the new caretakers of this estate. After a weekend debating with the help of visiting friends, we decided to prepare a proposal. We based the proposal on what we reckoned it would take to maintain this 16 HA property.
We proposed what we thought was fair but if it did not happen, it would be fine. Guess what, the new owners approved the proposal without a single objection. In fact, they even congratulated my husband on the quality of his proposal. I suppose as a seasoned IT project manager, writing big budget proposals is not new to him.
So, to finalise the story, the house will exchange in the beginning of December. We are moving there the same day to become officially the caretakers of this gorgeous property La Bourdette. I will keep my current job and assist in the gardening while my husband will be riding a tractor lawn mower, maintain a huge pool and tackle what else comes his way.
We will be living in an annexe of the main house and have our own outdoor area and views. I can potter in the gardens, grow vegetables and have an outdoor area – an exciting prospect to say the least.
My interest in moving abroad may have been part of my genes. After all what other child would decide to learn German with eight years of age??
I grew up in the Netherlands with more German tv stations than Dutch. Germany synchronises all content on tv and this means that you get to see everything in German. To give you an idea, I grew up thinking John Wayne was a native German speaker as I always saw him speaking German.
In The Netherlands on the other hand, we had subtitles and everything we see on TV is in the original language. As a result many Dutch people pick up some English. Some generations learned to speak English purely because of the subtitles. Often, they have an American accent as we had more programs from the USA.
So as a result of hearing a lot of German on tv and living only 20 km from the German border I developed this interest in learning German when I was eight. On top of that my father took me on shopping trips to Germany to stock up on photography supplies. They were substantially cheaper in Germany.
My father was a keen amateur photographer and he had a dark room in our attic. He taught me to print my own black and white pictures so I could create little albums. How nice would it be to still have these albums!
An early interest in anything abroad
To sum it up, I learned to speak German as a kid and I had summer jobs in Switzerland for 5 years while I was studying. One of my best friends lived in Milan so guess where I hang out regularly? My first real job after graduation was for an American company in Switzerland.
It seems that from a young age I was standing with one foot abroad. So, it is not surprising to see that I ended up living in five different countries.
Another interesting thing is that I never showed much interest in Dutch boyfriends. I had a teenage fling for about 3 years but after that I tended to have boy friends abroad. The result was that I never really had ‘real’ relationships as I hardly ever saw these guys. But it stopped me creating any ties to the Netherlands.
My sister once said to me that I seemed only interested in finding a reason for going abroad. Looking back at my life, I realise she had a point. When I met my future husband in Australia, I certainly did not hold back then. In fact I thought he was an Australian, and secretly I hoped for an easy entry in the land down under.
Moving abroad multiple times
Since my twenties I have lived in Switzerland, UK, Australia, and France with short stints in Greece and Norway.
My first move was when I was single and the second and third while I was in a relationship. I moved with a four-year-old child, then with a seven-year-old plus a baby and in 2017 as an empty nester. I have experienced moving within the whole range of age categories and have surely accrued some wisdom over the decades
My last move abroad was after the kids left home and this move was my favourite. It was purely a lifestyle choice, and it feels like I am now perfecting the circumstances of the last chapter of my life.
Let me ask you something!
If a move abroad or relocation has been on your mind, but you think it is only a silly dream. Or if you reckon you would love to have such an adventure but you have no idea where to start…….
In that case, I like to invite you to tap in to my experience. I would love to help you unlock your dream and explore if a move abroad could be within your reach.
Many people dream about being successful. They create dreams and make plans, yet most don’t do anything to make these dreams reality.
WHY IS THAT?
I am sure people realise they must TAKE ACTION to make these dreams come true. Yet, usually they only talk about what they are planning to do. The so-called ‘gonna do’s’ in other words “I am going to do this”.
I can be blamed of this on many occasions, and I bet many of you are just as guilty. It intrigues me nevertheless and I like to dig into it a little deeper to get some clarity.
In general people tend to claim that successful people had a lucky streak, have the right genes or had a push in the right direction. Such things indicate external factors but ignore the hard work some one has put in to get where they are. I like to cast some doubt on the above and here are a few of my thoughts!
What makes a person successful?
Firstly, it has to be obvious that successful people did not achieve success overnight. Such achievement usually takes a long time and a lot of hard work. Outsiders only tend to see the end result and not the enormous effort and persistence it required. It may have taken years of starting and trying over and over over again that have led to this success. Apparently Michael Jordan practiced thousands of shots each week. None of these efforts would have been visible to others. You see only the tip of an iceberg but not what went on underneath.
Many hopeful people love buying motivational books or watch podcast that promise an overnight result and immediate riches. Such resources certainly motivate and create a momentum while you absorb them and even sometime afterwards. However usually people dabble and try a few things, possibly without many results. Unfortunately results may not appear instantly and the energy of the momentum soon fades out.
Maybe many purchase another book that promises the earth or download an additional so-called overnight success blueprint. Usually, the same thing happens and the conclusion is often that it does not work. Do you recognise this pattern?This is likely one of the reasons, that the motivational industry is so huge. It brings a shimmer of hope. It causes people to believe they have a chance and the result is that such products sell like hot buns.
Secondly, hurdle number two is mostly the lack of a clear vision. The lack of a huge WHY you want to achieve something. Longing to earn more money does not make you act. We all want that and the reality is that most people earn very ordinary salaries despite wanting to earn more.
How about a quick reality check!
The fact is that everybody has a chance! Most people forget that it takes execution to be successful. One of the biggest stumbling blocks has to be fear. Feeling the fear of not being able to do it or of being exposed as a fake and an imposter. I believe that the energy of external motivation gives you that moment of trust that you can do it. When that excitement disappears, you revert to your old self. The bottom line is that you may not have the resourcefulness to continue the momentum of progress. The bottom line is that you have to become the type of person that can be successful.
Tony Robbins claims that eighty percent of being successful is psychology and mindset. While twenty percent is attributed to strategy or the mechanics of doing the things you need to do. In other words if you don’t believe you can achieve something, you are very likely right. You won’t achieve what you have in mind or get some results in a minimal way.
What do you need to do to be successful?
People who have a clearly defined MISSION and a HUGE why will step outside their comfort zone. Those who can imagine the results that they want, will take the action needed to achieve results. So it comes down to a few principles that successful people have in abundance in their tool box.
Find your mission and get an enormous and big enough why!
Create a momentum by seeing the results you want in advance, over and over again
Be absolutely clear about what you want to achieve and get precision
Take the necessary often uncomfortable action and model what works
And that is all there is to it. It takes enormous action and determent execution how uncomfortable it may be. Let me know your thoughts and reach out if you haven’t got a clue what I am talking about!
The year 2020 was for many people a disaster. Many people lost their income and a large part of the year restaurants and cafes could not open their doors to the public. Kids changed to home schooling and university students had no choice than to study online. You could not travel unless it was essential. Several countries closed their borders, and many citizens were on waiting lists to return to their home country.
We stopped hugging and kissing, started wearing masks and dozens of people got ill. For some having Covid was a breeze while others are still fighting the aftereffects. The year 2020 – a year that many wish to forget and instead set our hopes for future years to come.
The year 2021 was not proving to be much better. Where I live, we were still wearing masks and cafes and restaurants seemed to be eternally shut. Non-essential shops closed, re-opened and were forced to close again. Certain parts of big shops were a no-go area.
The year 2020 seemed to go on……
We thought the pandemic was more or less over, but the little corona critter is a champion at mutating. More contagious corona strains were waiting to spread as soon as borders loosened their restrictions. Some countries kept their borders closed but in Europe it seemed that travel, albeit under certain conditions started to become easier.
It was understandable as for instance South European countries were close to bankrupt. They needed tourist income, and the hospitality industry all over needed a huge boost. Certain age groups have been vaccinated while others were still waiting. Test labs were churning out the PCR test results as many countries required that as a condition of entry.
The fact that travel would be easier was an attractive thing but also very worrying. The next mutation of the virus was only one flight away from entering Europe.
It must be very hard to be a leader nowadays because whatever they decided to do, it could be the wrong decision. The bottom line is that many people had had enough and were ignoring the restrictive rules more and more. Yet the danger of corona spreading further is not a thing of the past.
It is also interesting to see how Europa suddenly has become a continent with individual countries again. Every country seems to have different rules and criteria. Restaurants were open in one country while others are still in lockdown. In France, even in 2022, you still have to wear a mask when entering medical practices and hospitals.
How to adapt your lifestyle
Despite all what happened in the year 2020 and seemed to continue to some degree in the years after, you had the option to make the most of it. When you couldn’t sit on a terrace, you could always have a picnic outside instead. If there was a curfew, you could do things during the day. When the travel limit was 10 km, you could find a nice hike within that distance.
There is something to say about seeing the positive sight whether you agree or not…..
During 2020, we all learned to adapt and to live under different conditions even if we did not like it. Although many people managed to handle this forced lifestyle relatively adequately there are countless of people who suffered. Especially the elderly, but also young people and students who feel they have lost a few years of their lives. I also know of a few people whose relationships started showing cracks during lockdown.
In fact with a bit of imagination and following the rules, we even managed to fit in a few housesits!
Yet in the big scheme of things, the covid pandemic is by many seen as a thing of the past. However the little critter is still out there and only time will tell what is the impact…
Every now and then, we can’t help having negative thoughts about a certain situation in our lives or about or ourselves. We are very likely aware that such thoughts are not helpful, but it seems there is nothing we can do to change them. Our thoughts seem stronger than ourselves and keep popping up even when we don’t want them.
It may help to put pen to paper and start writing down our negative frame of mind. Assess it and ask ourselves what the evidence is for such thoughts and if it is based on facts. Could it be that we are misinterpreting the situation? Can we imagine how other people would view this situation? Even more to the point, how would we view this issue if it happened to someone else?
Would we be as negative when it concerns a friend or are we naturally biased towards our own situation? Do we instinctively believe that we are the cause of the problem, that the issue is unchangeable and may ruin our whole life? We may have a pessimistic view and see only the factors we can’t change and control.
The good news is that we do have the power to deal with negative thoughts! We have the ability to change the way we perceive and experience these pesky thought patterns. If we cannot think them away, we can at least take charge and reduce their impact on our wellbeing. Let me share a few tips on how to do that.
How to counteract negative thoughts!
Accept and take ownership of your worries and acknowledge that you are in a negative cycle or mood. Accept them for what they are and let them be.
Consider yourself as your own best friend and ask yourself the following. ‘What would she do in this situation?’ I can guarantee you that you will be less hard on a friend with similar issues than on yourself.
Challenge your negative thoughts and stop seeing them as a threat. Rewrite your story from the viewpoint of a neutral observer and with the encouragement you would give a friend.
Don’t linger on the negative situation how bad it may be, but instead focus on the steps you can take to change and improve the situation. Seek information how to make things better or understand the situation you are in.
Do not blame the cause but focus on what is going to help you as a person. Believe there is a way and implement little things to make it better bit by bit every day.
Practice this consistently, become more resilient and let yourself be transformed!
Easy Done Change
This may sound easier than it is and you may need more guidance on how to apply these tips. Sometimes it helps to discuss it with an objective outsider to get more clarity.
If you feel you need more advice, I suggest you reach out and I would be happy to explore this in more detail with you.
Are you dreaming of moving to a different country? Chances are you are perfectly happy where you are, but sometimes you can’t help craving the idea of a life abroad.
Longing for a different and better life for yourself and your family is often the initial inspiration for a move abroad. Maybe you like a cultural or climate change, want to immerse yourself in another language or just crave an adventure.
Reasons for moving to a different country
Many people from the ‘New World’ countries have a romantic presupposition about moving to older cultures. For instance Australians tend to see spending a period in France or Italy as the ultimate dream come true. While many retired Americans move to France for a longer period to find out whether such a move could be off permanent nature. British people have a reputation of seeking out a new beginning in many South European countries.
Such moves are all driven by positive motives. However nowadays more critical reasons come into play on a regular base. War, recession and wanting to escape a political regime are amongst those reasons why people consider moving abroad.
The hidden dangers of moving abroad
Aside from the romantic notion, the practical consequences of ‘moving abroad‘ can be daunting. Settling in another country could strip you from all your professional credibility and your qualifications may not have the same status as they have at home.
If your new country has a different language, it is likely to cause you severe stress. It will frustrate you that you don’t know how to do things. Your new local community might not immediately accept you or with great hesitation. These are just some of the ‘issues’ that may arise after settling elsewhere.
Whatever your motives are for moving abroad it is wise to spend time reflecting on a few essential things. Firstly moving to a different country requires a lot of preparation, organisation and the willingness to start from scratch. Secondly take your time to prepare yourself mentally and physically. Above all be willing and prepared to adapt to habits and customs in your new country.
Consider this before moving to a different country
Take time to assess your big ‘WHY. Brainstorm your motives, emotionally and rationally. Assess the things you will lose or gain and how you and your family will handle that.
Plan a temporary move. Rent a house in the country of your choice and live the local life for 6 months and see how you fit in.
Consider the practical and emotional consequences for you, your partner, your kids, your jobs and other essential things in life.
If the idea of a lifestyle change appeals to you, but you are unsure how to start, reach out and chat with me.