The Expat Chat: Lifestyle Travels and International Living

The Expat Chat is a weekday podcast where we interview inspiring expats who have thrown off the constraints of western congestion to enjoy their dream lifestyle in other parts of the world...often for a fraction of their cost of living back home. If you want the travels of Rick Stearn with the freedom of Tim Ferriss this podcast is for you.Subscribe today.
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The Expat Chat: Lifestyle Travels and International Living




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Oct 8, 2015

What do you do if you’re a stand-up comedian who has just lost his day job and your artist girlfriend has also lost hers? You move to France of course! Today we interview Tommy Barnes who with his girlfriend left London 5 months ago to get away from the rat race and stress of big city life.

They moved to the Auvergne region of France and have embraced the contrast between their old London existence and what small village French life has to offer. They have even dispelled a few myths about the French way of life that the English have stereotyped the French as having. To many their existence may seem precarious – Tommy has spent his days writing a book he hopes to publish while Rose looks to sell her sculptures, and they currently are surviving on redundancy money. Despite this however they are happier, healthier, and with their recent commitment to buy a house in the Loire valley, they are now determined to make France their long term home

We caught up with Tommy one beautiful summer’s morning. You can follow his hilarious stories about life in the French countryside at

What I learned from Tommy’s interview:

  1. The French are far more welcoming to the English than many English might think! They have both been welcomed by the locals and made to feel part of the community. The community spirit in French villages is a lot stronger than Tommy feels the equivalent would be in England
  2. Buying property in France doesn’t have to be complicated. Tommy purchased his house from a fellow British expat which helped make the process easier. Taking your time before committing to purchasing is also a good idea. Tommy rented in a couple of places and actually finished up buying a place he had previously rented.
  3. Not having a means of income isn’t necessarily a deterrent to making the leap. In Tommy’s case he’d lost his job and moving countries would have seemed highly unlikely in those circumstances but they have both used their redundancies to sustain themselves while effectively reducing their living costs by moving to rural France over the more expensive lifestyle of staying in London.
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