Sunday, January 29, 2017

How to Reinvent Yourself After a Divorce – Part 2

In Part 1 of my chat with a very special lady, Deborah Bine of the Barefoot Blogger, we learned about Deborah’s early life, her fabulous Aunt Rose and how a chance trip to a Saturday market in Uzès, a little town in southern France, changed her life. 



Market in Uzès - Photo by Peter Curbishley


In our final segment together, Part 2, Deborah talks about why she started blogging, the challenges of learning a new language later in life and gives us some tantalizing tidbits on upcoming travel adventures. 



M-T:  Your Blog, the Barefoot Blogger, is, among other things, a great travel guide for women who want to travel solo.  I absolutely LOVE the name.  How did you choose it?  How long have you been blogging?  What do you love about blogging? 

Deborah:  The “Barefoot Blogger” is the second time I’ve used the word “Barefoot” to describe one of my ventures. The first was “Barefoot Bangles,” a custom jewelry business I did on the side while living in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Aside from loving to go barefoot, I liked making necklaces and earrings that I would put together from new and old and vintage babbles and beads. When I left Myrtle Beach, moved to Beaufort, South Carolina, and decided to move abroad, my passions changed. I wanted to create a Blog to document my new life and adventures — so I could remember it all when I’m in a nursing home. “The Barefoot Blogger” seemed the perfect name. Since starting the Blog, it’s almost become my life. And I love it. I spent a career as a writer in advertising and marketing. Now I can write what I want to write. It’s given me an intro into photography, too.




Holiday Party with Friends at Le Mas d’Augustine, a B&B in La Bruguière

The best thing about the Blog is that it’s introduced me to people who have become my best friends — from all over the world. I love when readers show up in Uzès and invite me to join them for a drink. I’m always available for a free meal, too! Others write for information or advice about making a move themselves. It’s really thrilling to know I can help others take a step towards living or traveling abroad.


  
 

Uzès Truffle Festival - a Proud "Papa" and His Champion Truffle Pig


M-T:  Did I forget to mention that you moved to France without being able to speak a word of the language?  As a former language teacher of adults, myself, I know how difficult it is to learn a foreign language as an adult, even when immersed in the culture.  I am in awe of your courage in taking this on.  How do you manage day-to-day?  Have you been making any progress with the language? 

Deborah:  I still struggle with the language — three years later.  When they say “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” I’m the poster child. I excuse my language-learning problem with the fact that the first three years in France, I spent six months out of each year back in the US. My son and daughter-in-law produced two beautiful grandchildren for me during that time and I wanted to be nearby.




Deborah's Dilemma - "Do I Shop or Do I Snap?" She Opts for Both.


This is my first year staying in France full-time. Now I’m trying to concentrate on learning French with three lessons per week, both private and groups. I manage day-to-day by using a few basic words and terms and a lot of sign language. I’ll admit the first year here I was exhausted most of the time from trying to hear and be heard. I still cringe if the telephone rings or if someone comes to the door.  



 

A View of the Medieval Garden from Deborah's Bedroom


M-T:  I understand you’ve got some exciting trips coming up that you will be sharing with us on your Blog.  Can you give us a little sneak peak as to what’s in store for your readers? 

Deborah:  The highlights of last year were trips to the Dordogne and the Loire Valley. I wrote a series of posts about each of those adventures. This year I’m looking forward to going to Corsica in early summer. Then I’d like to see more of the south of France — Marseilles, Perpignan, Narbonne and Toulouse to name a few. My visit to Antibes last year was just the tip of the iceberg to all that’s the Cote d’Azur. This winter I visited Barcelona and realized how easy it is to travel from Spain to the south of France. So I’m going to focus on places to visit in France, if you start out in Barcelona. I’m excited to explore as much and as often as I can — and still afford to live here.




A View of the Tower of le Duché from Deborah’s Guest Room/Office


M-T:  Thank you so much, Deborah, for taking the time to share your life with my readers.  I’m sure they’ve enjoyed our time together as much as I have.  I’m also sure that Aunt Rose/Auntie Mame would approve of how you have “reinvented” yourself.   Auntie Mame always said that life was to be lived, not just read about -- “Life’s a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!”  Maybe we all should spend a Saturday afternoon in a village market in southern France.  What a great place to stimulate an appetite for life, n’est-ce pas
                                                                                                           
Do you have any final thoughts, comments, bons mots to share with us? 

Deborah:  Thank you for letting me chat with your followers about the things that spurred me onto a new life in France. If I could say anything to encourage your readers to follow their dreams it is: “make it happen.” We all have commitments and lives that are complicated. If you really want to make a move to a different life, start by assessing the things you feel are holding you back. The more you start unraveling your commitments the easier it is to break away — to find your bliss. If all else fails, give me a shout and I’ll give you a push!





Walking away from the past toward the future can be exciting, challenging, frightening and exhilarating.  All it takes is those first few steps to get you going and, as Deborah says, “If all else fails, give me a shout and I’ll give you a push!” 


I hope you enjoyed getting to know Deborah Bine.  She’s an amazing lady leading an amazing life. 

 

 
To follow the adventures of the Barefoot Blogger, check out her Blog.

With the exception of the Market in Uzès, all other pictures are courtesy of the Barefoot Blogger. 



16 comments:

  1. Dear Ladies,
    Kudos to you M-T for thinking of this interview, your readers will love it. I admire your courage Deborah. I too made a conscious uproot w/o language skills and moved to Berlin shortly after the wall came down, but being 29, I was young and impetuous. To make this sort of a move later in life takes real faith, determination and is downright ballsy.
    Good luck and may your bare feet always be guided by a smooth path.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Linda, your comments are always a delight. You may remember I interviewed a very interesting lady not so very long ago (namely, you) and my readers loved you.

      Thanks so much for stopping by.

      Cheers, M-T

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    2. What fun this has been, M-T! Again, thank you for asking to know about my new life and for letting me visit with your readers. I'm looking forward too a time when we will visit together, have a glass of wine and cheer those women who are inspiring us to write and share our stories.

      Delete
    3. I had great fun working with you, as well. Getting together "en chair et en os" as the French say ("in the flesh, so to speak") is definitely in the cards.

      I think I once mentioned to you that I have not been to the south of France since I was a little girl. I'm waaay overdue. Now I've got a great excuse. Keep that white wine chilled for me.

      I know you have been and will be an inspiration to women who need that little push to reinvent themselves.

      It's been a joy to get to know you.

      Cheers, M-T

      Delete
  2. We don't live in France but we do spend about 3 months of the year there. I would agree it is a wonderful place to be. The markets are superb and the pace of life seems to be slower.

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    Replies
    1. I always enjoy your posts from the south of France, Josephine, and I always feel a teeny bit jealous that I'm not there to enjoy those glorious markets with you.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Cheers, M-T

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  3. Wow, the Market in Uzès is so lovely and charming! I enjoyed these fascinating interviews, Marie-Thérèse! I like to travel more, myself, but have never done so alone. I go many places alone, but never out-of-town. What a brave, adventurous lady.

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    Replies
    1. She really is to be applauded, Debra. I doubt I would have the gumption to do that at my age. Spending time in France with family is always a joy for me, but I'm never alone.

      You can understand why Deborah fell in love with that wonderful market. There are markets like that all over France, even in big cities like Paris. They are a feast for all your senses.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Cheers, M-T

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  4. Excellent post and photos

    http://tinyurl.com/jmm888x

    ReplyDelete
  5. I just love the Barefoot Blogger and reading about her adventurous life in Uzes. It's inspiring!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have always believed that the best source of inspiration comes from ordinary people doing extraordinary things, which makes them extraordinarily inspirational.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Cheers, M-T

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  6. What a courageous and adventuresome woman!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I doubt I could be that courageous and adventuresome, but, then again, sometimes we find hidden strength within us that often surprises no one but ourselves.

      Thanks for stopping by, my friend.

      Cheers, M-T

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  7. Dearest Marie-Thérèse,
    Love the Truffle Pig photo as that has been our work and interest for decades!
    Well, I have a strange feeling about going some place and NOT speaking the language...
    Sounds like doing things in reverse. Sure she got away from her divorce and such, and kind of secluded living in that tower. But climbing that many steps each day and getting older is not a very good outlook in my opinion. She is not in her 30s anymore!
    As much as I'm an adventurer, I've always foremost been a planner and a realist.
    We could have lived on a mountain in Italy where the chickens roamed free and things looked romantic. Yes, in June but come back in the mud in mid winter... And what if you get a heart attack right there? No ambulance would be able to pick you up timely...
    Interesting to read though and I admire anyone making the plunge!
    Hugs,
    Mariette

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I share your enthusiasm for truffles, black and white, and the talented pigs who hunt them.

      It is a daunting task to make a new life in a foreign land where you do not speak the language. I doubt you would have a problem, Mariette, as you are multilingual. I admire her courage in taking this on.

      I, too, like to plan ahead. My husband calls me the Chess Player -- always thinking several moves ahead. What will my opponent do and how can I counteract it? Which is why I admire so much those who are willing to give up control and "fly by the seat of their pants," so to speak.

      Always love your comments, ma chère amie.

      Gros bisous,
      M-T

      Delete

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