- Travel and Places
I’m Outta Here! Stories about Setting Up in a New Country
I'm Outta Here Travel Books
Travel books fascinate me, particularly when people make that huge leap of faith and buy a house in a foreign country. Often that involves renovating the new home too.
My earlier hub Scintillating Armchair Books on Travel focused on travel books by authors who left home for extended travel. This one includes more of my favorite books on travel where the authors have purchased a home in a foreign country.
Each author has a marvelous twist on the travel book theme - visit the country, fall in love with a local man, the location, a property, renovate it or any combination. This selection of travel books is in France, Italy and Mexico.
I’ve read many more but here are some of my favorites.
French Love Affairs
Mary Moody is the author of three books on travel: Last Tango in Toulouse: Au Revoir (Running Away from Home at Fifty); and Long Hot Summer.
Australian broadcaster, author, keen gardener, cook and raconteur, Mary Moody escaped her life (husband, family, job and home) for six months in France, alone.
Mary has a knack of making anywhere she rests her head like home complete with friends (locals or numerous visitors from home), lots of laughter and good conversation. Tables groan with the food she prepares. Mary writes about numerous long lunches and dinners she hosted or visited in rural France and I often felt as though there was a place set at the table waiting for me - all I had to do was arrive, relax and imbibe.
In Au Revior (Running Away from Home at Fifty) she falls in love with Italy’s food, the people and the place. Her first six months in the country becomes a tempter and you get the sense she will repeat the experience.
She does. On a subsequent trip, after an extensive search, (and false starts) she eventually locates a suitable property to buy in the Lot region (2 hours drive inland from Bordeaux), so begins another tale – that of its restoration.
Her endeavors are shared in the books Last Tango in Toulouse and Long Hot Summer.
Mary’s books are a gentle and amusing romp. They are easily digestible. Her honesty in the way she handles this tumultuous change in life and relationships is refreshing. If you enjoyed the first, to satisfy your curiosity, you will have to read the second and third.
I recommend you read these books in order. However, some information is repeated to give context so you could read them as stand alone books.
Her website http://www.marymoody.com.au/ details her many books, tours and more.
After reading about the trials and tribulations associated with the purchasing process and renovations in a country far from home, with unexpected issues, it is a treat to see photographs of her completed home. Her web site also gives details of how to reserve her retreat in France.
Love Story in Italy!
Marlena’s Italian story is a gentle tale of unfolding love. Love of the country, the food and lifestyle and love of the man – a Venetian banker named Fernando.
A Thousand Days in Venice is one of the classic “across a crowded room, I know he is THE ONE” stories. The story of how the two met would be a great plot for a romance novel, but no, this is real life! If you are a little bit of a romantic then you will love this book.
Marlena left her life in America after meeting and falling for Fernando, packed up her treasures and transplanted herself into his life and his country. His home is long overdue for renovation and a woman’s touch. Whereas he loves to live very simply and doesn’t “see the issues” with his existing home, she is used to sumptuous surroundings. This conflict forms the basis for some interesting negotiations between them as Marlena persuades him, successfully, to transform his home.
Before she left America, Marlena was a chef and food writer so her Italian adventure provides a wonderful canvas for her passions which she shares (including several recipes) with us.
A deliciously warm, true story of how romance has the power to surprise and transform lives.
More Italian Passions
Another travel book by Marlena de Blasi is The Lady in the Palazzo: At Home in Umbria.
Lovers of the first of Marlena de Blasi’s travel book will be surprised to read that the couple leaves Venice! This book, again written in her rich eloquent style, covers the purchase, and the challenges associated with renovating, a 13th Century Palace.
A Thousand Days in Tuscany is the sequel. I definitely recommend you read this one after devouring A Thousand Days in Venice as it builds on the romantic story Marlena shared in her first book.
Both books are delicious – romantic, written in a lyric style and her descriptions and her love of her man, the country and its food will leave you wanting more. She is a food writer and her descriptions of the products and recipes she shares will leave you salivating.
If you don’t enjoy flowery prose however, leave these travel books for someone else to enjoy!
Marlena has another two armchair books on travel. They are:
- - it chronicles the joys and despairs in renovating a home (this one is a 13th century palace) in a different country. The Lady in the Palazzo: At Home in Umbria
I don't want to give this one up!
On Mexican Time – a travel book by Tony Cohan
I discovered, early in my “life on the road” that I can’t always buy the type of books I want because the selection in English is sometimes limited. This sometimes leads to discovering new authors and books.
One day, I was browsing through the books in a second hand store, and on the sale table, was On Mexican Time by Tony Cohan. What a find!
After visiting Mexico numerous times, Tony and his wife Masako fall under the spell of the country and the expectation of a more relaxed way of life. They succumb and move towards a new live in San Miguel de Allende. Here bougainvillea cascades down the multi hued casas; basic supplies are purchased from sales people on their street and people “drop by” for a chat.
Tony weaves some of the countries history, its colorful characters, and the changes to “their” town into his narrative in an easy manner.
On Mexican Time is another book on travel I want to keep with me!
A "Brilliant Life on the Road"
If you enjoy living some part of your life vicariously, put these books on travel on your Christmas/Birthday present wish list.
I’m enjoying life “on the road” away from my home country, but my journey is a little different to the approach taken by these authors but still I enjoy reading them.
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