For any couple serious about moving abroad, appearing on a show like Escape To The Continent and having a trip to their chosen destination with the crew will be helpful in meeting people, finding out more about the different regions and cultures.
However, it’s not all fun and sun when you take a peek behind the scenes of a popular TV show. There’s also a lot of planning involved in the actual move abroad, as Ken and Paula Sheridan discovered when they appeared on the popular new BBC series, Escape To The Continent.
The Sheridan’s applied for the show after years of talking about the possibility of living abroad. Running a lifestyle business (iHubbub’s home business free online shop) gives their working day more flexibility and it’s also easier moving an online business abroad with them. After returning home from their honeymoon in Italy where they rescued a stray dog, they decided to apply for Escape To The Continent.
As well as being taught how to cook an authentic Spanish Paella, Ken and Paula went cycling with Miles and Ingrid, an expat couple living in the heart of Valencia.
Although they were given this treat as a surprise, it came as a shock to Paula who hasn’t ridden a bike since her shoulder operation that went horribly wrong several years ago. When she was told she was going cycling along the beachfront she went weak at the knees.
Most people would be delighted, but Paula kept thinking she was going to fall off the ‘horrid’ rental bike. It wasn’t shown on TV, but she did crash into a palm tree on her first go. Luckily for Paula, her supportive husband kept giving her quiet encouragement without anyone seeing that she was nervous.
Paula, who is the bestselling author of the digital marketing guide, Pimp My Site, said: ‘Ken told me I could do it! And he was right. I was determined not to spoil the day, for the crew, for Miles and Ingrid and for Ken, who loves cycling. I came to Spain to share the experience of finding our new home with Ken and even though I was terrified of the cycle ride, I had to grit my teeth and bear it. Actually, only Ken knew this at the time, but I was pretty close to tears as I kept thinking I was going to fall off and injure my shoulder again!’
Miles and Ingrid had been told about the day’s activity and cycled down on their own bikes. Some of the crew thought that she'd have to go with them in the car while Ken, Miles and Ingrid cycled on their own. Paula wasn't having that.
Thankfully Miles came to Paula’s rescue and lent her his mountain bike. Without Ken and Miles, Paula probably wouldn't have gone cycling.
Paula added: ‘I jumped onto the bike Miles kindly lent to me and away I went. I had to do a few practise runs with Ken peddling beside me, but that helped get my confidence back.’
Despite this hick-up Paula said they had a fantastic experience on Escape To The Continent. Seeing the show on telly has made them very excited to go back to visit more properties. Both Ken and Paula recommend that anyone moving abroad for a different continental lifestyle take part in the next series of Escape To The Continent.
For those people on Twitter who think couples go on this show for a laugh or a free holiday, forget that. On #EscapeToTheContinent there were comments made about some of the other couples going on the show to 'snag a freebie holiday', but only if you have been on a show like this do you know the reality.
It is not all about fun and seeing properties - you will work long hours from morning till night and you will do the same shots over and over again from so many different angles. Often saying the same thing in so many different ways that you forget the original question.
From Paula’s career in PR she knows this kind of filming schedule can get some people down, but her and Ken loved the whole experience. They didn't mind all the behind the scenes preparations and the different shooting angles because they knew the crew were introducing them to people who could help them in future.
It also gave the couple a huge leap up the ladder in their journey to buy a property abroad. There are so many things that can go wrong. One often reads horror stories of people losing their home when they did something they didn't understand because they couldn't speak the language.
Ken said: ‘This is one of the reasons we wanted to be on the show. Having inside information and contacts will be very helpful when we choose our property and finally move over there. And of course, we'll have some instant friends, like Santos and Miles and Ingrid.’
On the show the couple also expressed an interest in finding a property with potential to create a writing retreat or secret hideaway for business couples in need of seclusion and privacy.
Selling up and moving a home from one continent to another is a huge move and takes a lot of planning. The Sheridan’s have already had their home priced to sell and once they have found their ideal property and all their ducks are in a row they’ll be off.
They also want to keep a small bolthole here in the UK so they can come back to visit their sons, friends and family. So, for Ken and Paula, their Escape To The Continent will be about finding two new homes - one abroad to live in most of the time and another smaller property that they'd keep for coming back to spend time with family.
That's a lot of home finding and planning - and all the while running their businesses and Paula finding time to write her novels. Both have done this kind of move before as Ken was born in Dublin and came to the UK as a youngster and Paula moved to the UK when her son was only three years old. Thus they know the ins and outs of moving from one continent to another.
The couple were delighted with so many people on Twitter giving them positive feedback: about their properties, Ken’s stylish shirt combinations and mostly about how ‘perfectly in tune they were with each other’.
What’s next for this couple moving abroad? They have several places to view in the mountainous region west of Granada. The stunning views the region offers will give Paula inspiration to write her novels.
Find out more at http://secretworldretreat.com/tags/escape-to-the-continent.
Watch their episode on iPlayer at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b040rvyz/Escape_to_the_Continent_Spain_Valencia/