ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

I’m Outta Here! Stories about Setting Up in a New Country

Updated on July 31, 2010

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 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:



On Mexican Time: A New Life in San Miguel
On Mexican Time: A New Life in San Miguel

I don't want to give this one up!


Mexico Appeals!

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.

Renovating a Stone House in France


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • travelespresso profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

      No need to envy the lifestyle Green Lotus. If you want to do it, just pack up and leave when you can! I appreciate your comment, thanks for stopping by.

    • Green Lotus profile image


      8 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      I envy you and Mary and Marlena and Tony. What a dream to set up a new home abroad and leave it all behind.((sigh)) Cheers!

    • travelespresso profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

      It's a good read Seakay but be warned - you may get itchy feet and pack your suitcase. Take the trip to the book store or visit Amazon!!!

      Thanks for stopping by.

    • Seakay profile image


      8 years ago from Florida

      Just the title, Running Away From Home At Fifty, seems very inviting! Looks like a future trip to Barnes & Noble!

    • RuA-05 profile image


      8 years ago from Port Harcourt

      how do i make my own to be interested like that of hers plz help

    • travelespresso profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

      Hello CTW. Her books are very good and are nice quick easy, but interesting to read. Do enjoy them and thanks for stopping by.

    • Carol the Writer profile image

      Carolyn Blacknall 

      8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I love the title - Running Away from Home at Fifty! Sounds like she has good books. I will go read them!

    • travelespresso profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

      Thanks for your comments and I'm glad this bought back good memories. I loved Eat, Love, Pray and have written here about it here on hubpages.

    • Lamme profile image


      8 years ago

      Great Hub! I really enjoyed the book On Mexican Time, mostly because I have fond memories of a summer spent in San Miguel. Have you read Eat, Pray, Love? There are those who love it and those who hate it, not many in the middle.

    • travelespresso profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

      Awesome Micky Dee....I am glad you are able to "join me for a coffee on the road".....well almost anyway. Thanks for stopping by. I've many more articles to write and post here on hubpages.

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 

      8 years ago

      I mostly entered your realm because I'm addicted to espresso. I find your writing very entertaining too. I am in love with foreign, exotic places but I doubt I will never go to them. Still I imagine riding my bike in Italy and other places. Oh- and espresso too.

    • travelespresso profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

      Hello CTW - YES - running away from home at fifty is a great subtitle. That's just what I did (well near enough - besides - what's a few years between friends)! It's a marvellous feeling and I recommend it highly.

    • travelespresso profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

      Hello Leop

      Thanks for saying my writing brings these books to life. I am touched that you have said that. As always...thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    • Leop profile image


      8 years ago

      Great Hub. These books you mentioned really bring it to life. This is well written and the description are excellent. Italy sounds like wonderful place, never been there, but hopefully someday. Thank you for writing about this wonderful travel books

    • Carol the Writer profile image

      Carolyn Blacknall 

      8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Great hub! I love the sub-title: Running Away from Home at Fifty. Sounds like what I would like to do. Good video, too. Thanks for posting.

    • travelespresso profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

      Hello Dame Scribe - Too true - there's always something to learn from how other people handle particular situations. Thanks for your comment.

      TFT - Italy is a marvellous country. If you enjoy flowery writing then seeing it through Marlena de Blasi's writing in a Thousand Days in Venice is an excellent adjunct. Of course it is THE most romantic story. Enjoy the book. Stop by and let me know what you think of it.

    • Truth From Truth profile image

      Truth From Truth 

      8 years ago from Michigan

      Very interesting hub, I really enjoyed the part about Italy I might check out that book a Thousand Days in Venice. I have always wanted to visit Italy. Thanks.

    • Dame Scribe profile image

      Dame Scribe 

      8 years ago from Canada

      I always find other peoples insights and observations helpful and a learning experience. Great idea!

    • travelespresso profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

      Yes indeed there is Dohn. Wonderful reads if you like that sort of thing! Thanks for all your lovely comments over the past few months - I've really appreciated them.

    • dohn121 profile image


      8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      There's certainly a romanticism and escapism within the covers of these books you've mentioned, travelespresso. Isn't it great to find books you've not heard of? That's one of the many great things about used book stores, especially when they're off the beaten path. Thanks again.

    • travelespresso profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

      Hello coverley. Your writing is very good indeed. You paint amazing word pictures already but with practise you will get even better. Keep up your very fine efforts.

      Thanks for commenting.

    • coverley1 profile image


      8 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Hi write so well. I really need to stick at it(writing) so that I can improve and expand my vocabulary to include some interesting and descriptive words/phrases. I also found this article very interesting and informative, will investigate Mary Moody further. Cheers...


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)