I love it. I hate it. I love it. I hate it. I love it.
HGTV’s House Hunters International is one of a a small handful of programs I watch on TV, which include Stephen Colbert and the Jon Stewart Show.
For those who don’t get the HGTV channel or have never seen the show, House Hunters International is a spin-off of House Hunters, a program that follows individuals, couples and families searching for a new home with the assistance of a realtor. They always end up with 3 choices, and a selection is revealed (the viewer fun is in guessing which home they select). House Hunters International properties are featured from around the world.
When I watch, half the time I want to strangle the way-too-typical expats who complain that their European apartment doesn’t come with a big closet or American size kitchen, and the other half of the time I’m swooning over the lifestyle of a family moving from Thailand to Australia where their needs – not wants – include a pool or adjacent beach.
But what many of the featured homebuyers are searching for is a dreamy home – or really a dreamy life – away from” it all” in a country defined in idealistic terms. While I appreciate the show’s attempt to feature semi-retirees or international businesspeople that can afford quite a lot, alongside more working-class professionals choosing to relocate, I can’t help wonder if when these home searchers become home owners in Croatia, the Caribbean or Italy, how much they will integrate into the country they are moving to. This is something I often wondered when meeting expats when living abroad, who often lived in expat bubbles, and many of you reading this know exactly what I mean.
But I know that’s not really the point of the show. And I watch. and watch. And try to understand just why I am completely addicted to this show. I think it’s my passion for travel, the location shots and personal stories of why these people are moving to remote locations that pique my curiosity. Or, as a new homeowner, I love the renovation ideas and home decor (especially the tiles).
I wonder who the interns are tasked with cooking up the episode names that include “Texans head for Cost Rica” and “A Trulli Happy Life in Puglia, Italy” (Really? Come on!), and “Londoners seek a more Leisurely Life in France.” (I’d love to see a follow-up series featuring buyers one year later , like “Stuck in Sicily with a Renovation Nightmare” or “The Mosquitos suck in Belize” or “Why are the Locals Laughing at Me?” )
All vacations come to an end, and I guess that’s the point I’m trying to make. And for this former expat – and perhaps for some of you reading this – when you are no longer on vacation, and start to live the highs and lows of daily life as a resident in your new country, that’s when the real fun begins. I hope after these international house hunters finish furnishing their gorgeous new foreign digs, they will experience rich rewards beyond a new house.
But, likely, I’m not the target audience of House Hunters International.