How to satisfy wanderlust from your couch

I have two favorite places to sit in my house, what about you?

Mine are:

1) In front of my computer

2). In front of my TV

No, I’m not a lazy bum, but I admit that there are two things I love, other than my husband of course (although I don’t mean to call him a thing) and that’s:

  • The Internet
  • HGTV’s House Hunters International (preferably with a nice cold glass of Chardonnay.)

As far as the Internet, I’ve taken up way too much time discussing this whole social media thing lately, and just in case you need to make sure you don’t fit in the 6 % category, I urge you to check out Sandra’s step-by-step guide to overcoming digital overwhelm.

Anyway, coming back to my second favorite seat in my house: the one in front of my TV, this is where I could easily spend hours watching HGTV’s House Hunters International, but thankfully the Internet has saved me from becoming a TV addict.

What is House Hunter’s International? and what makes it so exciting?

If you’ve never heard of the program, here’s a brief synopsis:

“House Hunters globe trots from Sao Paolo to Prague. Home hunters and their real estate agents check out all sorts of architectural styles and work through the idiosyncrasies of buying real estate in other countries. In any language, home buying is an emotional experience.

My explanation of why I love this show is simple; it’s about wanderlust with a twist.

Wanderlust is a strong desire for or impulse to wander or travel and explore the world”

What better way to escape our depressing economy and job market than through “pretending” that we’re on vacation looking at potential homes to buy. Not surprising, the number of viewers has been growing with an average of about 1.37 million viewers between Sept. 28, 2009, and Sept 7, 2010, and here are some reasons why I believe more people are flocking to this show.

  • we want to escape our busy life
  • we dream of a vacation home
  • we’re nosy
  • we like to snoop around the inside of people’s homes
  • we like to see how houses are furnished in other parts of the world
  • we want to immerse ourselves in another culture, architecture, and way of life
  • we want to see what houses cost in other parts of the world
  • we want a good deal in a foreign country
  • we want to taste new foods, meet new people, see new environments and learn from others
  • we get bored in one place and crave adventure (that’s me and my Gutsy side)
  • we’re looking for another place we could move to (now that’s my real reason for watching House Hunters International)

The other night I watched several back to back episodes of HGTV’s House Hunters International. The one that interested me the most was a couple from Washington DC, who were looking for a house in Botswana. Now I have a blogger friend, Lauri Kubuitsile,  who is a prolific author living in Botswana. I was so excited to see her country and had no clue how beautiful Botswana truly is. Do you really have zebras strolling in your back yard?

Gabarone is the capital with a population of around 186,000.  The American husband on the show was offered a teaching job at the University in Gabarone and I turned towards my husband and said, “Duke, couldn’t you get a job teaching business or law there? Perhaps I could teach French in a school in Gabarone.” He didn’t seem too keen.

The three homes they showed in Botswana were gorgeous. It could have been southern California, as far as the vegetation and the outdoor swimming pools, as well as the price tag for renting which shocked me: $1,800- $2,200/month. Then I thought, “Perhaps the teaching jobs pay well at the University.” A little disappointed, I did expect rent to be much lower but often I’m surprised by house prices and the rent they’re asking on these shows. For example, $5,800 in Budapest. All I can say is I have a feeling they inflate the prices for the show. I know for a fact that the price of condos and houses on Ambergris Caye, Belize, where my family lived for a year, are much higher on the HGTV show than when you actually go there, rent a cheap (hut) and become familiar with the island and the local realtors.

I did a search on HGTV for an episode on Belize, and found one video which I think you will enjoy as it shows why so many seek a second place to escape their work life. A stressed out woman from San Diego wants a second home on Ambergris Caye. She wants to unplug from her busy life in the U.S. This video made me want to move back to savor our slower-paced life on Ambergris Caye, where we lived in 2004-2005.

Do you have wanderlust? In what way? Is there a particular country or place you’d like to move to, have a second home or anything else you’d like to share?

 Photo credit above (Tambako the Jaguar)

Comments (38)

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  1. That could be a seriously dangerous show for me to watch, given how much I crave travel as it is. I rented an apartment in Italy this summer with my family, and I would go back in a heartbeat.

    I could easily see myself buying a home there. IF I had the money/time/resources, etc. etc. etc.
    Julie Hedlund recently posted..Gratitude Sunday 53My Profile

    • Gutsy Writer says:


      I remember when you first arrived in Italy. What an experience! Are you writing about it?

  2. Lady Fi says:

    I’d love to live in Botswana. Shame about the high prices of renting a house though.
    Lady Fi recently posted..Butterflies of joyMy Profile

    • Gutsy Writer says:

      I agree. This was an expat community though. Miss Footloose explains this in her comment below.

  3. I seriously love that show! I totally get wanderlust when I watch it too. To live by a beach somewhere, it’s a dream I hope to someday achieve. I don’t know where I would choose, but it would be someplace warm!
    Jennie Bennett recently posted..How does the world go on?My Profile

  4. Sonia, it’s soo great to meet you! I heard about your blog through Pennie James’ and just had to stop by when I heard about your stint in Belize! Loved the presentation you shared on your media page and learned tons through it, especially as I’ve started writing a book. =)

    I find that I can relate to the feeling of wanderlust as a desire to wander rather than travel or explore the world. Nevertheless, I’ve lived out wanderlust in a sense as I’ve traveled much more than I should have for someone who doesn’t really enjoy traveling. =) On top of that, I do enjoy imagining what it would be like to live in different parts of the world. Wish I could watch House Hunters here in Peru! Although, I guess I’ll be able to live it out instead as my partner and I will be apartment hunting on the Peruvian coast this Thursday! =)

    I so enjoy your energy and really value all the knowledge you share, Sonia! Excited to be in touch! =)
    Samantha Bangayan recently posted..My Seven Links in PeruMy Profile

    • Gutsy Writer says:


      I’m excited to meet you too. Just hopped over to your blog and you do have an amazing background traveling around the globe and I’m curious that you’re a Spanish/English translator since you also lived in Japan, and now Peru. What prompted your love for Peru?
      Good luck with your apartment search on Thursday. I bookmarked your website.+

      • Thanks for stopping by my site, Sonia! =) What an honor to have you visit. =) I first came to Peru on an internship in 2008 and fell in love with who I became in my new environment — away from the competitiveness of city and North American life, I found myself more relaxed, more flexible and more creative! On top of writing again, I also love the tradition and warmth of the people here. =)

        Speaking of flexibility, we just had an earthquake not too far away in the Peruvian rainforest and felt the tremors here. Now that there’s an avalanche warning, we’re delaying our trip to next week. Talk about flexibility! =P
        Samantha Bangayan recently posted..Mishaps in the Andes as Reminders to Be GratefulMy Profile

        • Gutsy Writer says:


          It sounds like you like adventure too. Also a less competitive and more relaxing life in Peru than in Orange County, California sounds like something I could get used to myself.

  5. Barbara says:

    House Hunters International is my FAVE on HGTV! I think everyone should watch it just to see how much we are all alike, no matter where we live. It might eliminate some of the fearful misinformation we see everywhere.

    The only thing I don’t like on the show is the narrator.

    Belize looked very beautiful in that piece! I’m sure you miss it sometimes.

    • I watch The House Hunter programs, but I’d prefer to house hunt the areas around Jackson Hole, WY,Yellowstone, MT, the High Sierras, Santa Rosa or Calistoga in CA. The area must have an active art league, lots of scenery for plein aire and photography– and I want a huge kitchen with a 6-burner stove, and a Big refrigerator so I’m not stacking anymore on narrow shelves. My own private space for my art, reading etc., would be a plus.
      That’s about it! Florida heat is too much for me now, and hurricanes are not someting I want to worry about–been through 5. We had a whopping t-storm Sunday that didn’t quit!

      • Gutsy Writer says:


        This is the first time I’ve heard you a little disappointed with Naples, FL. I can understand the frustration with the heat, however, I am surprised that you might prefer to move somewhere else.

    • Gutsy Writer says:


      You bring up a great point about how much we are all alike. That’s something I’ve been thinking about more and more.
      We have the same taste in shows.

  6. Betty says:

    I love that show too! And my favorite pass time is the same as yours. 🙂 Perferably in front of the computer with the TV going on the side… ahahaha
    They just showed that show about Belize the other day and I was thinking of you the whole time. 🙂
    Since I reliaze I will never be able to travel to all those places I love seeing and learning about them on TV. But I agree with Barbara, the narrator´s voice is really “nerve grating”. I usually mute when she talks.
    Betty recently posted..RodeoMy Profile

    • Gutsy Writer says:


      So good to “see” you again.
      Yes, it’s fun to watch these shows, however, I’m embarrassed to admit that I haven’t paid attention to the voice. I guess I’m so into the locations. Plus the realtors are different in each place. That’s part of the fun. They all speak perfect English too.

  7. You’ll not be surprised to know I love that show, Sonia 😉 and of course I don’t get it here in Moldova, but I may get it on my computer come to think of it. Sheesh, more time in front of it!

    The thing about rents in foreign places, even poor countries like Moldova, is that there is an “expat market” because of embassies and international corporations that usually don’t care what they have to pay for offices and housing for their people. Also, many local houses may not be up to western standards and tastes so entrepreneurs either build apartment buildings or fix up existing houses for the purpose of renting them to foreigners who have money.

    I’d love to live in Botswana for a while. Have you read the Alexander McCall Smith’s books set in Botswana?

    • Gutsy Writer says:

      Miss Footloose,

      Good point about the expat community causing a rise in rentals. I can sense your frustration with the lack of TV. Can you get satellite with BBC, and other European stations?

  8. Jeanie says:

    I saw that show for the first time by chance a week or so ago…it was very interesting and I can see getting hooked on it. There are lots of places I would like to go and stay for a couple of months to learn about the culture and get to know the people, but as far as moving some place permanently I am pretty happy where I am.

    • Gutsy Writer says:


      Now you might get hooked like the rest of us women. Apparently this is a show with a female demographic mainly, although my husband likes it too.

  9. Sonia,

    I didn’t have wanderlust until I started reading this article. I don’t even have a T. V. but your description of the location in Botswana tickled my excitement. I already live in paradise (Hawai’i but I can see how this show intrigues you! Thanks for linking to my post on overcoming digital overwhelm.
    Sandra / Always Well Within recently posted..A Step-by-Step Guide to Overcoming Digital OverwhelmMy Profile

    • Gutsy Writer says:


      I wonder how long you’ve lived in Hawaii?
      You probably live where so many want to live. Or is it just in our heads?
      Thanks for the fantastic article you wrote on overcoming digital overwhelm.

  10. winsomebella says:

    In celebration of my next significant birthday, I hope to rent a flat in Paris for six months and immerse myself in the culture of my ancestors and be gloriously anonymous. Till then, I’ve got a long list of places I hope to explore. Most involve mountains and water, two of my favorite things. You scratched my itch.
    winsomebella recently posted..Where I’m FromMy Profile

    • Gutsy Writer says:


      My dad lives outside Paris, so I’m lucky to visit him once a year. I think you’ll have a fantastic time in Paris. Do you speak any French?

  11. Ola says:

    Thanks God I am not that digital:) My favourite place in my house is my kitchen and sofa:)
    Ola recently posted..Odrobina kultury tym razem/A bit of culture this time:)My Profile

    • Gutsy Writer says:


      You must like to cook. I wish I spent more time on my sofa just reading a book, rather than a computer screen.

  12. Lauri says:

    Those were the rich guy houses!!! You could get a fairly good house in Gaborone for about $800, but too Gaborone is expensive. And let me know when your husband is at UB, both of my children are there (architecture and physics) and my husband (educational management). I’m the only person in my family who is not in school, well except the dogs and cats. And sign me up for the FB group you mentioned on my blog.

  13. Gutsy Writer says:

    Thanks Lauri for your comment. I figured it must be the better off people, because those houses looked very beautiful. I remember being impressed with the front door, made of solid wood that swung open in an unusual way.
    Shall check that you’re on FB. If so, you can request to be a member of the SCWA group. Just type in SCWA group, that’s the southern California Writers Association, and I’ll click OK to let you join.

  14. Bob Lowry says:

    Thanks for the reminder about the HGTV show. We eliminated cable TV about 6 months ago so shows like that disappeared from our radar. But, your post and link reminded us of the availability on the Internet. Now we can go back to feeding our wanderlust again!
    Bob Lowry recently posted..What Will Be Your Legacy?My Profile

    • Gutsy Writer says:

      So you plan on spending more time in front of your computer screen watching HGTV? Just asking?

  15. I’ve only seen “House Hunters” a few times but it is an interesting show. I am continually surprised, though, by people who reject a house over some easily changeable feature like wall paint, carpeting or the like. My wife and I have bought and sold several properties for investment; the realtors love us because we can see through such minor defects which completely turn off potential buyers.

    But that channel has my absolute favorite show “Holmes on Homes” where Holmes comes in and repairs the schlocky remodeling work of previous contractors. I am a consummate remodel freak and I am aghast at how many remodel jobs by unskilled amateurs and professions that I have had to undo and fix.
    Robert the Skeptic recently posted..The Surprising Adventures of Baron MunchausenMy Profile

    • Gutsy Writer says:

      Robert, is that the big blondish guy with overalls? If it is, there’s something about him I don’t like, although I’m sure he’s very competent.

  16. Oh goodness me Sonia! I don’t think I needed to know about this site. I’d love it too.

    My fave seat is the sofa with a book. Anything to get off the computer!
    Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot recently posted..Have You Ever Eaten Malaysian Food?My Profile

    • Gutsy Writer says:

      But Annabel, with 3 kids, two blogs and a business, do you ever have time to sit and read on the couch?

  17. Sandy Azancot says:

    That show does inflate the prices. they shot an episode in our neighbourhood in Belize–Maya Beach. THe couple that bought it got it for less than what they said on the show. She plays poker in my lady’s poker group some times and that is what she said.

    • Gutsy Writer says:

      Thanks for sharing Sandy. I don’t know if you know that our family lived on Ambergris Caye for a year and we paid less too. Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see you again. Sonia.

  18. Penelope J. says:

    Anywhere but when I am – if I had the money. But seriously, I’d love to spend time in London, time in Valle de Bravo, a colonial town near Mexico City, and time here in San Diego but only because my sons and immediate family live here.

    Haven’t watched House Hunters. For me, in my current position, it would be like reading the menu of 5 star restaurants that are inaccessible to me.
    Penelope J. recently posted..Do Not Judge A Book by Its CoverMy Profile

    • Gutsy Writer says:


      Not necessarily, HGTV also follows inexpensive places and houses. That’s what I love about the show. I get to see places in Europe, some very expensive, others less than I expected.
      They also cover first time home buyers. I don’t think I could live in London full time. Could you?