If you have dreams of purchasing a property abroad, hold onto them. Nurture them. Feed them. We held onto our dreams, and here we find ourselves, in Istria, in northern Croatia – or, as it is known, “Terra Magica”. We are developing a wealth of knowledge about how to make that move abroad. How to build those crucial networks. How to cope with unfamiliar bureaucracy and systems when buying a house in a foreign country. How to forge a new life.
Escape to Istria…
Do you dream about moving abroad? To somewhere where you’re guaranteed sunshine, a slower pace of life, a different life? We did – always. Every time we went on holiday we imagined what it would be like to stay, and carve out a new life. But, of course, we never did because you just don’t do that. Or, do you?
In 2016, after a holiday in Croatia, we returned home to Manchester, and as we usually did, we went online and looked at all of the beautiful properties which were for sale and imagined buying one of them.
Which we did. Yes, that’s right – we actually did what we had been dreaming about!
To cut a long story short – the longer version will be in the book (yes, honestly) – we flew back out to Croatia, saw the house, fell in love with it, met the couple selling it (who have now become friends), put our West Didsbury house on the market, sold it and bought our Istrian stone house. Family and friends thought we were mad. And maybe, we were, a bit, but that little streak of madness propelled us into a life that we could only dream of. When family and friends visit now, we don’t think they think we are mad anymore, because they too have fallen in love with Istria. This is what they think now.
Two and a half years later, we’ve almost completed the renovation (on the left, the bedroom then, the right, now). It’s not been the easiest of journeys, but with determination, we think we’ve cracked how to forge a new life in a new country. Whilst no two countries are the same, we think that we have amassed some gems of knowledge that may help you, if you are considering doing something similar. Through this website, we will share what we have learned and hopefully inspire you to realise that yes, dreams can come true, however mad they seem.
But, we’re not sitting back and resting on our laurels. Now that we feel more confident with the Istrian way of things, we’re almost ready to embark on our second project. We did not move here with the intention of buying a doer-upper and moving on as soon as it was completed. But, it’s strange how things work out and sometimes you just have to go with the flow.
For over two years we’ve driven past a neglected building, which has been up for sale as long as we’ve been here. A sad looking, one level industrial unit, with a pitched roof, unsightly rendering, ugly UPVC windows, and sitting below a cemetery. Albeit a very beautiful cemetery with a fifteenth century, frescoed church across the road and views across rolling hills and vineyards, to the Adriatic. A property which we suddenly realised had Grand Designs potential, which gave us the same feeling we had when we viewed our stone house.
So, here we are again, hoping to realise our next dream. Maybe you will realise yours, too…