We wanted to know what it’s really like to live like locals – in another country.
Neil in Paris!
Gai in Florence -Pont Vecchio
One of the best ways to embed yourself into a community… is to live in someone else’s house. We discovered an ideal way to do that.
House and pet sitting!
Neil at Chateau Chaufaille SW France
It’s sweeping the world as a unique and convenient way to travel for long periods of time, rent free!
The possibilities are enormous!
La Fontanella, Umbria
For one year – we visited a smorgasbord of locations in 4 countries
– beginning in our own back yard, Australia…then moving on to France…The United Kingdom …and to Italy.
During our year-long “Village to Villa” journey, we savoured …going coastal …going country….going quirky!
To kick off the tour, we show you Australia’s Gold Coast – where WE live!
Gold Coast canals
After spending serious time in the wine growing areas of South Australia, we were ready to take on France!
We spent a few days sampling the delights of Paris
Neil in Paris!
– then we settled into rural life in south west France – to live like locals.
Connecting with neighbours gave us a real sense of the French village lifestyle.
Chateau du Mauran SW France
This 200 year old classic Chateau deep in the south of France – was our home for one glorious month during spring time.
We gained a real perspective on the luxury of villa living.
After driving the length of France – we settled into our stylish farm house in Normandy.
From here we explored the famous WW2 landing beaches and historic coastal towns.
We also witnessed the birth of a lamb – which was awesome!
Crasville lambs Normandy
Hampshire in England – showed us how to achieve the perfect balance of city and country living. New friends introduced us to the joys of English pub culture.
For two weeks, we were the Laird and Lairdy of a modern castle!
We immersed ourselves in the rich and often quirky history and traditions of Scotland.
Gai & Ian Smith, Balatar Bagpipes
Neil’s kilt by Gordon Nicolson
There are few places in the world as pretty as the Cotswolds – a cluster of quintessentially English villages straddling 5 counties.
Our Minchinhampton base put us close to these iconic villages.
Great Tew cottage, Cotswolds UK
Ottery St Mary delivered the peace and tranquility of the East Devon countryside.
The large stately home came with an intriguing combination of pets.
Our love of animals lead us to a Sanctuary of very friendly donkeys…..
and an American bald eagle called Baldrick!
Gai & bald eagle at Hawkridge Birds of Prey Exmouth UK
We had clear blue skies to enjoy spectacular coastal regions – like the famous Lyme Regis.
We finished our year in a magnificent home high in the mountains of Umbria in central Italy.
La Fontanella in the mist
Being invited into the homes and lives of our warm and generous new friends and neighbours – was a highlight of our year of living like locals.
Italian women Umbria
Village to Villa is based in reality – not everything goes to plan!
The animals have their own idea about the rules!
Becky eyes off a pheasant
But they will always reward you with a special thank you for being there.
Living like locals in 4 very different countries – has given us an exceptional insight into other ways of life.
Olive harvest Umbertide Italy
Truffle hunting in Umbria
It’s shown us how to find the SPECIAL in the everyday.
Belac France in autumn
Chateau du Mauran iris
Village to Villa is a new way to experience travel and lifestyle from a fresh and personal perspective.
WHILE WE WERE TRAVELING – WE WERE SHOOTING AND WRITING A TV SERIES!
Village to Villa – series 1 – 13 episodes
Neil at Hampshire UK
Fortress St Giuliana, Umbria
Currently we are still writing and our editors are cutting episodes.
Meet the crew.