Homeworkers explain the pros and cons of living overseas

By Linsey McNeill
Home » Homeworkers explain the pros and cons of living overseas

Couple Dan and Jodie Bartholomew Oates, both travel advisors with Independent Travel Experts, and Ruth De Avila, a member of Holidaysplease, all work from overseas. While Dan and Jodie chose France for their foreign adventure, Ruth is based in Israel.

So are they living the dream – or pining for home?

Ruth De Avila has been living in Israel since 2014, having joined Holidaysplease in 2006. She runs her travel business, Blue Skies and Sunnies, from the small town of Ness Ziona, about 20 minutes south of Tel Aviv.

“I have my original telephone number via a voip line so the move was swift and easy,” she said. 

“Most clients know I’m in Israel and I don’t believe it’s put anyone off booking with me because I’m not in the UK.

“Having spent many years visiting family in Israel, I always knew it was somewhere I wanted to live.

“With only a two-hour time difference from the UK, it was an easy decision especially when I could bring my number over too.”

Dan and Jodie moved to France eight years ago, drawn to the idea of living somewhere sunny with cheap property but still close to home.

He admits that while they have enjoyed the experience, there have also been challenges.

“What is so charming about France is also what ends up driving some people away,” he said.

“There is great romance around moving to France, it’s like a step back in time 50 years, with shops shut on Sundays, historic stone houses, and quaint ways. But if you are used to the hustle and bustle of England, the peace and quiet of rural France can be quite isolating, especially through winter.

“France has unmatched beauty and affords most English people the large homestead and land they could never afford in the UK, living the dream with a postage (vegetable patch), perhaps a small holding with animals.

“We loved the experience of having goats, quails, rabbits, guinea pigs, chickens, incubating geese eggs with our girls and the truly amazing wildlife with herons on our lakes and woodpeckers and hedgehogs abundant in our garden.

“There is a life offered like that of previous generations where children catch tadpoles, and raise caterpillars to butterflies and no 10-year-old has the best trainers or the newest phone, or probably any phone at all.

“The French lifestyle offers more family/work balance for most people, but as with any big decision, it’s best to do your research and be really thorough, over time.

“When we were first considering moving to France we read up on everything from the weather to schools, and traditions to etiquette but we still missed some really important points.

“We didn’t look to see how differently France approaches special needs because we didn’t think it applied to us, and found the French system was difficult to navigate when our children were diagnosed as autistic.

“The school system is very different and a lot of English people struggle to feel settled with it. 

“Most importantly, none of the books and websites can prepare you for the huge difference in culture, it’s something that doesn’t lend itself well to words so you have to live it to understand, and I would highly recommend renting for a year to experience all the seasons at least once before you make a permanent move. 

“There is no doubt that working from home in the sun of a French summer with apéros is a nice place to be, and for many families France offers a life unachievable in England, so long as you are happy to leave family and friends behind, as COVID showed us that popping back on a flight or ferry is not always so easy. 

“Our work with ITE makes it easy to work from just about anywhere, so whilst we have enjoyed our French adventure, we are now excited to move back to the UK to have takeaways and friends over and introduce our children to ice cream vans and family celebrations, and leave the adventuring to another family.”

See also: Want to work abroad? Here’s how

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