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Dreaming of Marseille: How We Got On House Hunters International 500th episode 

By  Annie André


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how we got on House Hunters International

Our family was featured in Reality T.V. Show House Hunters International. I was really surprised to hear that the show we were on was a milestone episode. The 500th one to be exact. It ran between the 19th and 21st. of June 2012 and it was called “Dreaming of Marseille”

This is a video update and response to readers questions

I received a lot of email from people who ask me how we got on House Hunters International. Many readers also wanted to know why France? I decided to make this video as a response and summary.

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After losing their high paying tech-jobs, Annie and Blake spent a year with family in Montreal and Maryland before deciding to take a chance on a better life in the south of France.

She wants to start a home business teaching people how to take a career break to travel or live abroad for up to a year, he wants to write a book, they both want more time together with their three kids. They decided that the answer to all of their dreams can be found in Marseille. They just need to keep to firm budget as they’ll be living on savings until Annie can get her home business up and running. Watch as House Hunters international moves the family to Marseille, France.” 

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  1. Hi Annie,

    First of all, you have a great site! You have one of the best websites that provide details on living abroad. Did you use an international moving company to move your belongings to France? If so, please let me know about the experience and the cost involved.

    Thanks,

    Ed

  2. What a great website, and that Househunters video you posted is so inspirational!

    (Truth be told if I were in your shoes, I would have stayed in Montréal! I studied there for my masters and my goal right now is to immigrate to Québec.)

    I have one big question and you may have answered it elsewhere on this website:

    How do you live in the South of France legally? Usually on House Hunters people are transferred for their jobs, so all the immigration stuff gets taken care of. Or, they’re just buying vacation homes. Do you have EU citizenship already? Or do you leave periodically so you don’t overstay a tourist visa? Or did you go through the whole long paperwork process despite not having “real” jobs?

    This issue is rarely addressed when people talk about living wherever they want to or being “location independent.” (That’s not a criticism, I’m just really interested.) It seems like the immigration issue is an even greater obstacle for many than the “no job” issue is.

    1. Going back to Montreal is not out of the question for our future. But for now this is where we want to be. Staying in Montreal is like staying in my own backyard. I wanted something different for us and the kids. Plus the kids are getting the chance of a lifetime to see a different part of the world.

      To answer your question, we don’t have an EU citizenship. US and Canadian citizens can only legally stay in France for a total of 90 days without applying for a visa. You can’t do a border run to a non EU country and come back to get the clock ticking again. You have to leave after that. ( i used to do border runs to renew my visa when I lived in Asia). It’s much more controlled here.

      Yes we went through all the paperwork To legally stay here and we applied for the “long stay visa” which allows us to stay up to one year. It allows us to stay here and put our kids in school but we are not allowed to work or draw from the social security system here. We self fund our health insurance. We plan on renewing our visas for another year. The cost of living is very affordable for us compared to what we were paying and we really want our boys to be more fluent in French for a variety of reasons.

      I started doing a monthly report a few months ago which addresses “location independent” where i talk about how i’m making progress to creating a business that will allow us to be location independent. Even if we end up going back to the states or Canada. Location independent means you have the option and freedom to work anywhere you want IF YOU WANT to. I will address this more clearly soon in some future articles and put it in my about page or a FAQ page.

      Thank you for all your questions. It’s really helpful to know what information people are looking to have answered. I try to keep it real and not glamorize our lives. Because we are here working extremely hard but we’re also having the time of our lives and doing it together with our family. Fond memories to be had for sure.

  3. Am a teacher in Bay Area. Have been wanting to do this forever. You are so brave. Loved your House Hunters segment rebroadcast July 2012!

    1. Victoria,
      Thank so much for watching the show and the kind words. I had been wanting to do this for a long time too. Especially with my kids. I’m not sure what grade level or kind of teacher you are but the benefits for the kids are 10X what i ever imaginged. People are so worried about their kids education suffering if they go abroad. The positives far outweigh the negatives by a long shot.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting and hope you realize your dreams soon.

  4. Annie,

    What a treat. Not only did you make it on the show, but on the 500th episode. That’s awesome. Congratulations!

    It was a different experience watching the show since I had just talked with you a few hours earlier. I was thinking you might actually take the third house. But it really looks like you guys made it your own.

    Again congratulations.

    Ken Pickard
    The Network Dad

    1. Ken,
      Hopefully that different experience was a good one. We did make this house our own and now we are going to move to a smaller town. Although Marseille has been good as a hub it’s too urban for us to live longer than one school year. We now have a cute little place in a smallish town where little french ladies pull their shopping cart with their pet dogs and dozen flours. It’s really that quaint. chat to you soon.

  5. You know I watched it on day one…I was thinking…she’s gonna get the 1st one because it was so much bigger. What a dream to move to a new country and set up shop. I love that you guys just went for it. If you ever get back my way in California, make sure you look me up. It’s not like you don’t know where I live anyway..small world Annie!

  6. Love it Annie! I hope I can be as hip as you when I am a mom with 3 little ones. You live a very exciting life.

  7. Oooh, can’t wait to watch this! On my way out to unplugged couple of days, and then the big Summit. But this will be a treat when I return. I might learn a little too..

  8. Hey Annie,

    Another very cool inspirational video for people to watch.

    Things are really taking off for you around here, well done. I’m loving the new look to.

    I haven’t watched the show before and would like to see it, but not sure they have it in the UK. Maybe I can catch it on YouTube.

    Congrats again Annie on a great new video.

    Love the Crepe’s :-)

    Dan Sumner

  9. Hi Annie,

    Wow, that was great. I tried to watch the show, but couldn’t find that channel. Not sure I have it or not. If there is a way to watch it somehow, please, let me know.

    I had to laugh because I love crepes, cheese, muscles and baguette and you mentioned them all in your video.

    Very cool story and how interesting that you attracted those TV people to contact you. The world is small with the internet and everything is possible.

    1. Sylviane,
      Don’t worry, when i get my hands on it i’ll post it somewhere. I still have not watched it either. It should be posted online in a couple of months?

  10. Hi Annie,

    My wife and I watched the show and thanks to you she’s now more amped-up than ever. Ready to start downsizing NOW! Heck, I might be writing about this in the future.

    Also: You most certainly do have the skills to pay the bills when it comes to video. I think you’re a natural.

    Anyway, so cool and inspiring what you guys did. A big virtual high-five for inspiring dreamers everywhere!

    1. Thanks Craig,
      I’m seriously looking into the video idea. we’ll see.
      I’m so glad your wife is jazzed up about taking the plunge. Downsizing is actually very liberating.

      We started with the garage and after that it just got addicting. But the books were hard. We had a room full of books and it was painful to let them go. Nostalgia.

      As always, hit me up anytime you need some help.

  11. Hey Annie,
    I was on vacation last week and they didn’t have HGTV so I missed the episode. Please let us know how we can watch it. Also, so glad to see you using video. You (and your family) were made for it. So happy for your success. Take care, David

    1. David,
      You must be nice and relaxed after your vacation. I’ll try to see about getting a copy and sending it to people who havn’t seen it. You included.

  12. This video response is another great video Annie, you are so good at it!!!

    BUT… it just frustrated me even more seeing as I can’t see the house-hunters episode in question.

    I WANNA SEE IT!!!

    Lemme know if you ever get a copy somewhere somehow.

    p.s. we’ll be coming to the S of France in a few weeks and plan to celebrate the 2nd year of our one year sabbatical there ;-)

    1. Thanks Alan,
      Blake my husband thinks i should pursue making video commercials for other peoples websites since i love making these short videos.

      As soon as i get a copy, you will get one too.

      We’ll be in Marseille up until July 31st. After that we fly to Berlin for a month and then we’re off to our new flat for the new school year. Let’s try to meet up..

      1. Should be possible – we have friends in Salerne which I think is not too far from you plus I have been close but still never actually visited Marseilles.

        Sounds like it can’t be August though as you’ll be in Berlin – but maybe next time and a few weeks was a little wrong on my part we actually fly out 6th August :-(

        Thanks for the vid – I loved it. Really cool – I love those shows anyway, but great to see someone I know so well in one. We actually were offered a place on a similar show in the UK called ‘A Place in The Sun’ but I actually turned it down believe it or not…

      2. DAMN, bad timing. Oh well. Next time.. i’m sure you’ll be down here again. Plus our new place is much closer to Antibes. Don’t your in-laws live there? Dam i love Antibes. ..

  13. Annie, First I want to say congrats on being on this show. I haven’t watched it – didn’t know it existed until now. But now I can brag to all my friends that I know a super family that is doing what you are doing.

    You are the poster gal when it comes to living your dreams. As an entrepreneur for most of my life, for me it is easy to pick up and go!

    There are so many people flocking to internet businesses because of the financial state. But here, you show how real things can be by sharing your life as an example. That my friend is what it is all about. Being able to do what you want to do.

    Love the kids! Now they are bilingual and learning more than a book can teach them.

    I don’t believe in coincidence. After my husband and I were chatting this morning as to how we wanted to sell our investment properties and just go (we don’t know where yet) the first thing I did was to get on this blog. Talk about signs! Ha!

    Thanks for the reinforcement and sharing your story.

    Donna

    1. Donna,
      Our meeting might not be a coincidence. Maybe the universe is trying to tell you you something?

      My father died the year before he turned 65. I was 21 at the time and it had a profound effect on me my whole life. I’ve never forgotten that we could die or something could happen in the blink of an eye.

      So I say go for it Donna.

      Whatever you and your husband decide to do, i’m sure it will be great, fulfilling and rewarding..

  14. Hey Annie,

    Another awesome video from you! I loved it!

    And how cool that you and your family got featured on the 500th episode of House Hunters International! That is so neat!

    I hope that you continue to get a bunch of great web exposure for this all! I’m going to be tweeting this to my readers to help out a bit too!

    Cat :D

    1. Awe thanks catherine. I’m so glad you liked it. I am getting lots of exposure which means i can inspire and help more people to take time off from life to re-boot.

      ps
      thanks for your support. it means a lot to me.. :)

  15. Annie, this is so inspiring. Congrats to you on this great accomplishment, but even more congrats for following your dreams, and creating a life full of adventure, joy and love. You’re an inspiration:) Cheers! Kaarina P.S. I’m going to share your video above on my FB Biz page:)

    1. Thank you Kaarina. i do so appreciate it. Dreams are good to follow aren’t they. People would be so much happier and the world a better place if more people followed their dreams more often.

      Have a great week.

  16. I was going to be ‘cute’ and go into this whole spiel about asking if you were married and can we be friends and if you wanted me to send pictures……..oops, looks like I did it anyway, huh?

    I saw you Facebook episode; pretty creepy indeed. I guess that person thought FB was a dating site or something…..yikes….

    Great vid, great family; sorry I missed the episode. I could have told everybody, ‘hey, I know her…..kind of….’.

    Good luck on your continued journey; thanks for sharing.

    1. Bill you are too late. a dozen other friends already tried to creep me out by doing the same thing.

      You can still tell people you know me. I won’t deny it yet….

  17. Now that’s just too cool Annie. They saw your video so see why video works so well? You’re living proof of what it can do for you and your business.

    I loved the show and will watch it again. I have it taped so that’s definitely possible and my neighbor wants to see it too.

    You are living proof that anyone can do anything when they put their mind to is.

    Congratulations! You guys are TV stars now. Yey…

    1. You are so right Adrienne. video does work. And don’t forget, that video was inspired by you. If i hadn’t been to your blog and seen you pushing video as a good thing i wouldn’t have been on house hunters international. :)

  18. Hi Annie

    I’m in the UK so haven’t seen the episode, which is a shame as your video is great. I even had a look for it on YouTube.

    I gave up my career at the end of last year to concentrate on looking after my kids, so I’m on a sort of sabbatical!

    I love that you are living your dreams. It’s very inspiring. My wife and I have dreamed of living in Switzerland as we can’t get enough of the Bernese Oberland. Maybe one day!

    Thanks for sharing.

    Tim

    1. Hello Tim,
      It is a shame I hear it was good LOL.

      I think it’s great that you are taking a short sabbatical to take care of the kids. i’m sure if you want to live in Switzerland you will make it happened. The first step is dreaming it. Now just start planning it.. :)

      Thanks for leaving a comment.

  19. Loved the video Annie! I, glad the episode aired so I didn’t have to keep waiting to see it.

  20. Wow Annie! What a super-inspiring video! I LOVED IT !!!

    Marseilles shares a few things with Bangkok: Lots of dogs and dog poop. Parking on sidewalks. Lots of homeless people(in parts of the city).

    Thanks so much for sharing a glimpse into your life with your readers!

    Love the soundtrack…where can we find that kind of music?

    1. Martin,
      i’m so glad you found it inspiring. The music is key to setting the mood isn’t it.

      So since we last spoke I found a good source for royalty free music. I donated some money and download some songs which i can use and edit.

      I also take certain parts of the song and edit it by using one piece of it, speeding it up, slowing it down etc. ..

      Here is one of the sites i use. http://www.incompetech.com/m/c/royalty-free/

  21. Hi Annie,
    really great adventure you are on, what can I say…And I love those House Hunters shows, I watch them all the time.

    1. Thanks Mariella,
      i think people like the show because they can travel vicariously through other people. And it’s a very wholesome show compared to some of the other reality t.v. shows online.

  22. No surprise! You guys are dreamers, and the world sure does love em! Congrats on the show and this best be a reminder that you must keep dreaming!

    1. Me too Ameena. i actually have not been able to get my hands on a copy since i’m in France and it aired in the U.S. Now has my family in Canada who were in part of the show either.

      sniffle sniffle. It was good free exposure though so i’m not complaining.

  23. Congratulations Annie!

    This is indeed awesome! :)

    I did see the Facebook update about your family getting featured on Reality T.V, when Adrienne had put it up. And I did ask her too about how could we see it, or those who weren’t in the same time zone. So glad you put up that wonderful video!

    And to top it up it was a milestone episode – the 500th one! You surely did touch a score there with your awesome video, which you are so good at making, and showing us the whole way things worked. Loved to see your kids, and Christine is adorable indeed. :)

    Thanks for sharing a part of yourself and your family with all of us. :)

    1. Thanks Harleena,
      Reality T.V. is not my cup of tea but I saw it as an opportunity to put myself out there to try and help more people. So far it’s working I’ve gotten hundreds of responses as a result of the show.

      So many people ready to take the plunge but feeling alone and not knowing where to start.

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