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From Arizona to France: Vino Vagabonds

15 March, 2012 10:15  Erin Erin

vino vagabonds Hello, we are Jeff and Brittany, aka Vinovagabonds, and we both met in Arizona while going to school. Our love of wine quickly grew so we moved to Napa Valley and were ultimately led to the South of France where we are absorbing everything we can about the life, culture, food, etc.

1. Why did you move abroad?
We have been travelling the world of wine in order to get in touch with the places and faces behind the wine being made outside the United States. We came up with the idea after working in the wine industry in Napa Valley. The amount that we learned during our time in Northern California was something that inspired us to do the same with other well-known wine regions. We started in South America, sipping Tannat in Uruguay and ultimately Malbec and Torrontes in Mendoza. Provence in the South of France was a natural progression from there.

2. How do you make a living?

We discovered a website called Workaway.info that allowed to work in exchange for housing during our time in France. We work for a few hours a day in our host’s garden and then can go to the beach or visit nearby wineries during the rest. We also had the great opportunity to meet a Chinese woman who was interested in learning English and we taught her for a couple hours a day. It allowed us to pay for groceries and our daily baguette from the local bakery.

3. How often do you communicate with home and how?
We communicate with home several times a week mostly through Skype. It has truly allowed us to feel as though we are not that far away. We also keep in touch with many of our friends through Facebook and Twitter.

4. What's your favorite thing about being an expat in France?
Being a fresh face in the small town that we are living in. We are obviously not locals so getting to meet people and having them show us their favorite places is a real treat!

5. What’s the worst thing about being an expat in France?
Not being able to get legitimate work! We have had so many great money-making ideas while living here but the authorities would not take too kindly to us trying to make money without a proper visa.

6. What do you miss most?
Of course, we miss our family and friends but we have to say that we greatly miss proper sushi and Mexican food!

7. What did you do to meet people and integrate in your new home?

The project manager that also worked with us at our host’s home was a great outlet for meeting some of the locals and actually put together the flat we stayed in... so he was pretty integral in making us feel comfortable with our new digs.  

9. What is a myth about your adopted country?

That the French don’t like Americans… couldn’t be further from the truth! We have met nothing but the kindest, most welcoming locals that have made us a part of their community and have shared their homes and wine with us. We were at an event during the anniversary of France being liberated after WWII and met several soldiers that fought who praised us for our efforts during that time in history…’to brotherhood’ they said.

10. Is the cost of living higher or lower than the last country you lived in and how has that made a difference in your life?
Previously, we were living in Mendoza, Argentina and the cost of living was considerably less. Being in France the higher cost has forced us to focus on only the most important things like groceries and other essentials (luckily, great wine is inexpensive here). As a result, we have a lot more dinners on our patio with local friends.

11. What advice would you give other expats?
The only thing we can say is definitely learn the local language and meet as many people as you can, try not to be closed off by your own cultural differences.

12. When and why did you start your blog? vino vagabonds wine
We started the blog shortly before we left in January, 2011 and did it because we had never started a blog before and also as a way for our family to keep up with what we were doing and to be in touch with our journey. 

 

Blog Link Jeff and Brittany's blog, Vino Vagabonds

  Guide for expatriates in Paris, France

 

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