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Arno and Jessica in "Ik vertrek"

Blog written by Arno

When we started dreaming about a new life abroad, we were inspired by all those couples and families we saw on “Ik vertrek”, a populair TV programm in the Netherlands. It translates to 'I'll leave' and is based on the BBC version of 'Now way back'. It follows people just before and during the start-up of their new life abroad. Ten years ago we've been followed by the crew of Ik vertrek and a few weeks ago they came back for a follow-up.

Au revoir party

Only on the day of our au revoir party we got in contact with the Dutch television to participate in their TV programm. That same evening the TV crew was present on our party, filming us and our friends, families and collegues. In the same winter of 2017-2018 they filmed us five times; twice in the Netherlands and three times in France. At the beginning it took some time to get used being followed by a camera, but after a while it became easier. November 2018 our emission was broadcasted, primetime Saturday. It was really weird to be recognised by Dutch holidaymakers, sometimes even with goggles or only by my (Arno's) voice!

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The local mayor

People often ask us why we choosed to be followed by the television and what it has brought us. Of course we hoped that the emission would give our new business a boost, but above all we thought it would give us a personal boost. The presence of a camera team could make our adventure even more challenging than is already was. Only on our second day in France this seemed to be the case, when we met the local mayor on a 1st WW ceremony and everything that came out of it. Indirect, the emission has brought us many beautiful things. We met people who we would never have met otherwise, we found a house, a job, got our ski passes and clothing sponsored, etc. If someone asks us if we ever regretted our participation, the answer is clear: No, it was a great and rich experience!

Time for a follow-up

Ten years later and a few months ago, Ik vertrek contacted us again. After hearing our story and the beautiful adventures we organise in and around the Samoëns, we got nominated for a 'follow-up'. We invited them to come over during one of the cool trips we organise, called 'Wintergration Station'. This is a team trip we organise on behalf of and in collaboration with Jack Hubbard. Jack is the owner of a company in Brighton, England and has also realised his dream to spend his life in the mountains. Jack lives a village away from us and has become a good friend and partner in many trips and adventures. Every few months 5 out of 50 employees come over to 'Dreamvalley', for a surprise trip in our beautiful valley. By experiencing mountain adventures with each other, pushing boundaries and having great conversations, we hope to improve their personal relations and make their work back at the office even more enjoyable.

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It was very nice to have the TV crew around again. It clicked well with Joost and Joost and fortunately not only with us, but also with our sons Sven and Vince. The morning skiing at Sixt was great and the crew enjoyed their climb (or should I say their quad ride) to the mountain hut. Together with our Wintergration Station guests, we had a fantastic night up high in the mountains. In the meantime Jess was busy creating a Dailycieux dinner for the guests in Maison la Cerisaie in Sixt.

Here you can watch the follow up of our Ik vertrek story (scroll to 21:40mnts) in the French Alps.

Turning hobby's into work

Joost and Joost asked us interesting questions about the last 10 years and our current life in France. This made us realize how much we both have grown. How fantastic is it that we have realised our dream by leaving to France for a new and more adventurous life. And how awesome is it that both Jess and me turned our hobby's into work. Jess as 'chef a domicile' and me as a hike and bike guide. We both love it to propose our guests a great experience; Jessica with her meals and Arno with beautiful adventures in the mountains. It is great to hear that someones life got changed because of joining a trip or retreat one of us or even both has been part of. For our boys, too, it is a wonderful and safe environment to grow up. They are outdoors a lot and know a lot about nature and the mountains already. Sven aged 4, loves skiing or following daddie on his bike through the forest. Vince is only 2 years old, but also loves it to play outside.

Life is like a mountain journey

As for all of us, our life is like a mountain journey. We also have to cross a valley first to enjoy the view again on the next mountain. It is a challenge for us not to focus on the top, but above all enjoying the beautiful views on the journey. To do so, you have to stand still sometimes. We are very grateful about our French life, the steps we have taken and the dreams that we have managed to fulfill in the Vallée du Giffre, also known as Dreamvalley :)

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