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Move to Italy – it is possible

We made the move to Italy looking for a better life for ourselves and our children, we have never seen ourselves within somebody’s timetable.

Today on Valentines Day it seems the perfect time to recommit to all we are creating here in Italy, to each other and to our children who are the inspiration for all we hope to achieve.

We knew we wanted to do something we loved and that would be inspiring to others.

Imagine how it feels to wake up in the morning to softly falling snow outside your bedroom window, to see your world transform into something magical. Or to spend the day throwing snowballs and making snow angels with your kids.

luca snow dbl

Imagine finally finding your special place in the world and being able to share it, it is possible to move to Italy and these days easier than ever before. I think I read through every page of Living and Working in Italy: A Survival Handbook (Living & Working in Italy) before we left Australia and I still have my copy.

I’m sure you’ve heard of other people who’ve made the move to a simpler lifestyle, changing country, having a sea change and just leaving the rat race behind.

So this year I’ll be sharing with you some of the inspiration behind our move to Italy and our quest to change our lives for the better.

I know that if we can do this with limited funds, two young children in a medieval Borgata in the mountains then you can do it as well.

I’ve been putting together a guide that explains exactly how we went from the suburbs of Queensland to the Alps of Italy.

Here I am heading out with Sam and the kids, yes with a hot water bottle, carrot and cup of tea, no wonder the locals look.

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Just recently I had a Skype call with a couple in Australia looking to make a move to Italy with their young children. It had me see just how far we’ve come and how much we’ve learned along the way.

We chatted for some time about chasing a dream, a better life for our kids, school systems, cost of living and what it’s really like to pack up and move your entire life to the other side of the globe.

After the call all I could think about was how ‘lit up’ I was, how passionate and in love with this life we are making here in Italy even with the highs and lows I wouldn’t change a single day.

This is what I’d love to share with you along with life here in the Borgata.

We have had huge snowfalls and today it started falling again. Over a metre has been forecast for Monday, luckily it is a holiday here in Italy so we don’t have to manage getting children to school.

 

luca snow dbl

We are honored to have been nominated in Italy Magazine’s Blog Awards 2014 for Best Living in Italy blog. If you haven’t done already it would be wonderful if you’d take the time to vote for us by clicking here.

And we are currently in talks with House Hunters International about a ‘where are they now’ episode due to film in late March.

Thanks again for believing in us, and even more importantly , believing in yourself and your dreams.

 

and the gang x

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Rustic Italy – Stay with Us – an update

Stay with Us

“Seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary”

Robin Williams – Dead Poets Society

 

It feels like a new phase of our life here in the valley is underway at the moment.

A positive feeling of accomplishment, moving forward and creating new dreams.

Most of our concern to date has been creating an income of some kind. We are living on the funds from the sale of our last renovation in Australia, this won’t last much longer.

Our  aim is to create a way that we can travel and enjoy our life here in the valley using the internet to build an income.

I’d love to build a community of fellow dreamers, those who want to take the dream to reality.

I never thought we’d be able to come so far so fast, and with such little funds.

house hunters international

We finally got to view our episode of House Hunters International.

The DVD arrived last week on Sam’s birthday which was perfect timing.

It’s such a strange experience seeing yourself on TV, we had no idea how they would edit the five days worth of filming into a half hour show. I’m happy to say they did a brilliant job, not missing anything and showing us in a good light.

We all cracked up at the end with Luca’s catch cry, just brilliant.

Yippeeeeee Dooodle………PRICELESS

If you didn’t get to see the episode leave a comment below and we’ll try to work something out.

sam white house

Although it’s been messy it looks fantastic.

Work has progressed on ‘Casa Bianca’ and so much has been happening here in the Borgata. Sam has removed the front of the building on one side. It was an awful job and parts were falling off, just tapping the surface showed how easily it would come down. Now the face of the building looks more authentic. Claudio is going to sandblast the remaining concrete away to expose the original rock.

Our lovely ‘Turin Guy’ who has bought part of the Borgata (including the small house directly opposite our big double gates) plans to take the exterior wall down and have it rebuilt in September. The original road will be closed for a short time while the work is done. At the moment it bows out a bit and needs some TLC.

It seems like the Borgata is coming to life, getting a little facelift and gathering new people.

In the meantime we continue cleaning out the sheds, the house and getting ready for future visitors.

We hope one day you’ll be able to stay with us.

 

sam white house sam white house

Why did we wait so Long?

Recently we bit the bullet and created a Host Page on Workaway. If you haven’t heard of Workaway it basically links up those wanting to work in exchange for three meals a day and a place to sleep. Our very first work away person arrived last Friday, we picked him up from the train station after having a brief conversation on Skype the night before. He will stay with us until September.

sam in hole

He’s been fantastic, he and Sam have been out each day working in the borgata. Together they have built a wall, and pulled the front render from ‘Casa Bianca’. They have also done some cleaning inside ready for later painting, and done a bit of renovation work in the entrance. I wish we’d done this when we first arrived.

Workaway is a brilliant idea and one I would have used back in my 20’s when I was backpacking if only it were available then. I wonder how many people would like to stay with us here through Winter and experience the snow, celebrate with a white Christmas and really get the full idea of life in the mountains.

Our Workaway chap (I’ll pop his name in once he’s okay with that) helped Sam ‘dispatch’ the rabbits ready to go into the freezer. Funnily enough he adores animals and our cats and the dog just radiate towards him.

It’s been great having someone to chat with in English, and the locals in the Borgata are a bit perplexed by the whole idea. I can envision a whole team of Workaway people coming to stay once the locals cotton on.

We’ve got more done in the past few days than in the last six months.

It just helps to motivate us having someone here, Sam loves the company and I love the conversations at meal times.

sam with rabbit

onion beans

I’ve also continued with my love of ‘personal development’ and I’ve been rethinking how much time I give to the most important aspects of my life. Where I need to spend more time and where my passions are.

Now it’s more time for the kids, we take a walk together most days and I’ve been cutting back my time online. I now try to check in on our Renovating Italy facebook page (my big passion) only a few times through the day. I’d rather be out living life here with my family, creating new projects, and then connecting online again in the evening.

luca cat dbl btch

How about you?

are you heading towards or away from your dreams?

What are they…… Carpe Diem xx

and the gang x

 

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house hunters international

House Hunters International – meets Renovating Italy

House Hunters International

Our episode of House Hunters International is set to air at last. It feels like we’re almost famous, no seriously, the blog is already expanding with new readers (ciao to you if you are new here). Friends that have been reading along from the very start are sharing all over the place and my Mum is trying to figure out how to view our House Hunters International episode in Australia.

Renovating Italy is about to go International……House Hunters International (click on this link for air times and date)

house hunters international

You might have read about our adventures with the crew from House Hunters International back in December. I think we are one of the few families to be featured at Christmas…and yep complete with snow. Well we have an air date for American viewers (July 27th) and once the episode has aired we will be sent a copy. Hopefully we wont be cringing, and will find a way to let you all see the episode asap.

I can’t wait to see the finished product, and find out which house we bought ……. I seriously fell in love with the wrong house.

We were asked to send in a 4 minute audition video (see below), did a skype call with the producer and had five days of filming in total.

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Luckily we’re not shy, I was doing wardrobe changes in the car and in the end just thought ‘Oh well this is us, no make up and totally exhausted towards the end’…..

I figure that if we tried to act in some way that wasn’t us then why bother, we want people to see that dreams are possible and changing country can be the best thing you ever do.

So much has happened in the nine months since our House Hunters International episode was filmed. We have purchased further property in the borgata to renovate. Buying the ‘White House’  right next to ours was a lucky break, and came with outbuildings and land. We aim to have it ready for friends and guests to visit come 2015.

In the meantime I hope you are able to enjoy our House Hunters International episode.

Thanks again to all involved you made the entire experience priceless.

Signatureand the gang x

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Rustic Italian Living Room – before and after

It’s all those little moments that make life a very big adventure…

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We arrived in Milan airport almost a year ago now, and it seems like yesterday until I look at these photos. Our Rustic Italian living room has slowly progressed and although not finished is now a space I love. Creating our rustic Italian living room has been my favorite part of the renovations. My desk is here, it’s where I write,  it’s where we sit in the evening, where the kids like to play, the spot for my few treasures.

We have slowly peeled, painted, renewed and replaced hundreds of years of wear and tear. The house now breathes again, still much to complete but she knows she’s in good hands. It’s as if she trusts us to care for her, and future generations will still see that original spirit, and hear her voice.

 The first step for our Rustic Italian living room was removing all the plastic paneling, nailed to the rock underneath it was a nightmare to remove. The section around the door to the upper level had been burnt at some stage and was black and buckled. The walls underneath were black with soot and grime, originally a bright blue they showed promise.

The ceiling was pitch black and the beams had been covered with Masonite and blackened over time. With no light we needed a torch to navigate the room even in the day time. We pulled up the timber floor which had rotted in places and widened the doorway to the kitchen. Once we got back to the bare bones of the room we pulled all the nails from the wall one at a time, gave it a wash, sandblasted the ceiling, and finally the windows arrived, it all started coming together.

In the middle of everything we had the House Hunters International crew out with us for five days of filming. Through the year I had to return to Australia for a family issue with my dear Mum. Sam ended up in hospital a few times, we had visitors from Australia and New York, met up with fellow bloggers, laughed, argued and cried.

So here we are almost a year into our Italian Dream and it was all worth it, even with the struggles. Nothing ever works out the way you think it will…..who knows what this year will hold.

Christmas time saw us flooded with cards from all over the world. I asked if you’d send us a Christmas card and never expected the results. Our postman was totally confused and I was almost to tears with the wonder of it all and the outpouring of love. Stories were told and dreams shared, I’m planning a little surprise for you all throughout the year. I also declared that I am going to spend my 50th birthday in Paris and invited you all to Dare to Dream, and to come along if you could.

So when I sit at my desk writing and thinking of our journey it seems we’ve come a long way, yet are only just beginning.

It will be a year since we landed in Milano on the 11th of March 2013…..yes we are still Chasing our Dream xx

Wishing you all love and joy in your own dreams ….

and the gang x

 

our house hunters international episode

Our House Hunters International Episode – The valley shines

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 All the world’s a stage,
and all the men and women merely players …

 William Shakespeare
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house hunters international

During our first skype conversation with producer Ethan, we asked him if we would be right for House Hunters International. Our house isn’t grand in fact quite the opposite. We are closer to fifty than thirty and have two young children…….’yes yes don’t worry it’ll be great’.

Now,  I think his vision was spot on. Our valley shone and the people of Bobbio Pellice and Malpertus became  part of the story just as they are in our daily lives. We got to show off our beautiful valley in Piedmont and why we fell in love with it.

I don’t want to let too many ‘cat’s out of the bag but I can say that we had the best time with the crew from House Hunters International, we filmed through snow, rain, and dropping temperatures for a total of five days (Now you know where we disappeared to).

We had to re do many shots as Sam kept saying ‘Bloody Hell’ and I got over enthusiastic with the ‘Oh my God’. We didn’t realize how often we said it until we had to stop ourselves.

Other than that what you see is what you get. The crew are now like our adopted family. They were beyond wonderful, encouraging all the way and fantastic with the kids.

Luca can’t make up his mind which job he wants to take. We couldn’t get him away from behind the camera. Carina glowed and was a natural.  I got to see so many ways our kids could take on a life outside the box.

Sitting together for a final interview gave us a chance to reflect on our new life in Italy…..(you’ll have to wait and see!)

our house hunters international episode

house hunters international

This quiet location saw us stop filming for sheep, men on horseback, a small child on a very squeaky trike, cows being led to barns (all with huge bells), the town hall bell, and curious locals…..still the show went on and nothing fazed our House Hunters International team.

Our Italian estate agent Bruna bought a touch of elegance and of course properties to view, wait till you hear her gorgeous accent.
house hunters international

our house hunters international episode

This lovely store owner called us in to taste his local salami and cheeses, the House Hunters International crew couldn’t help but buy something and we all got photos taken, what a great business man, he had us literally eating out of the palm of his hand.

our house hunters international episode

our house hunters international episode

 

house hunters international

house hunters international

house hunters international

house hunters international

Luca fell in love with Joe’s ‘skunk’ and thought it wonderful that he could hear us all talking in the other room. Whoever said never work with kids or animals had it all wrong.

 

house hunters international

So if you ever get that call from House Hunters International I hope you’ll grasp the opportunity with both hands like we did. It’s an experience none of us will ever forget and one I’ll always treasure.

We would like to say a very special thank you to …

Patrizia Geymonat (Mayor) – Sindaco Comune Bobbio Pellice

Community of Malpertus

Community of Bobbio Pellice

Trattoria del Centro – Bobbio Pellice

Bar 1990 – Bobbio Pellice

Ristorante L’Alpina – Bobbio Pellice

Macelleria Dario Geymonat – Bobbio Pellice

La Vignassa – Bed and Breakfast, Torre Pellice

Hotel Villa Glicini – San Secondo Di Pinerolo

Claudio | Paolo | Jane | Enzo | Sarah | Allie | Gill | Ian and Laura owners at La Vignassa

~

House Hunters International

Our Crew 

Producer – Ethan | Director – David | Camera Men – Gordon and Mike | Sound – Simon and Joe | Behind the scenes – Andrea

And our wonderful Estate Agent

Bruna

 

 

 

 

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