Page 1 of 1

Downshifting - home and abroad

Posted: Tue Nov 30, 2004 1:11 pm
by Tracey Smith
8) Hi,

I am a Downshifting Columnist and have an on-line site called

Although it is aimed at readers who want to move abroad to follow their dream, many of the things I write about are very relvant to downshifting in your home country long before you reach for an atlas :lol:

In my experience, you have more chance of making a successful move into a self-sufficient lifestyle if you take it slowly, so I believe this site has it right on the money.

I wish every success with their venture!

Posted: Tue Nov 30, 2004 3:11 pm
by Oscar
Hello Tracey,

Is 'Frenchentree' - 'your' site then ????
I have been logging in to this site for a long time now, there is always something of interest there, but I didn't realise you owned it ??

Posted: Tue Nov 30, 2004 5:38 pm
by Tracey Smith
Salut Oscar!

Thanks for the compliment on the site.

I am just the downshifting section writer - that honour goes to my brilliant Editor, Guy Hibbert :lol:

FE is his brainchild, but I have been writing my section since it started over a year ago.

I am glad you like it!

Posted: Tue Nov 30, 2004 7:32 pm
by Andy Hamilton
Good site Tracey, I'm sure that some of the visitors to our site will be interested in yours too.

Posted: Wed Dec 01, 2004 8:24 am
by Tracey Smith
Thank you Andy :D

We have a smallholdings section too, penned by Columnist Sue Coleman of Smallholder Magazine.

I think when you are starting out on the road to self-sufficiency, you are hungry for all the information you can get your hands on - I know I was.

So for articles on:

Downshifting, click



Thank you.


lurve the site

Posted: Tue Dec 14, 2004 11:25 pm
by Emma
lurve the site Tracey, you said you gave up four hours of commuting - wow I don't envy your past life :geek: I do your present one though. How much of a hindernace is it if you can't speak a word of french??

Posted: Wed Dec 15, 2004 10:38 am
by Tracey Smith
Hi Emma,

It is surprising how quickly you can learn a new language when the need arises!

Our plan to move here evolved over many months and as soon as we made the decision, we got cracking.

Michel Thomas CD's, the BBC's interactive website, books from charity shops and libraries - anything we could get our hands on really.

It made an enormous difference. When I first arrived with 3 very young children, 2 dogs and a husband who returned to the UK to tie up the loose ends selling the house, I was glad for every morsel.

But in truth, you only need a few key ingredients to make it work.

1) A good basic knowledge, numbers, general conversation, who, how, where etc.

2) A willingness to get involved with the local community, talking to other villagers, folks in the shops about anything and everything.

3) Confidence to give it your best shot.

4) Humility to accept and invite correction gracefully!

With so many different dialects throughout the country, you need to learn your local language!

In my experience, a basic hunger to learn will take you all the way.

The downside of that is, when you enter dialogue with a new person and they hear you have a strong, confident local accent, they tend to assume you can witter on ten to the dozen!!!

Learning to say "Sorry, I have limited volabulary", is a must :lol:


Posted: Wed Dec 15, 2004 1:52 pm
by Dave
Hello Tracey,
I'm Dave, Andy's twin and the other founder of the site. Thanks for the feedback about the site, it's always good to hear that someone thinks what you do is worthwhile. I have a similar view about downshifting, it's long been my dream to be self-sufficient but I realized some time ago that it's not something that should be taken lightly. A lot of people seem to go head-long into it with very little practical skills and quite often can fail, which seems a terrible waste. Self-sufficientish for me is one step of the journey and a good starting block for those still in the urban part of the transition to self-sufficiency.
Thanks again for the feedback - Dave

Posted: Thu Dec 16, 2004 3:19 pm
by Tracey Smith
Hi Dave,

Thanks for your note and how right you are!

I think I am so attracted to this site because it offers advice on this 'middle ground'.

Downshifting certainly ISN'T for fact, I would go as far as to put people off, rather than turn people on to the thought of it.

If you make a big commitment, ie, trade a briefcase for a hoe and move to the sticks, it might not take terribly long before you realise how much there is to it all. By then of course, it could be too late.

Taking it slowly is the best and only way forward.

I made a programme with ITV earlier in the year about a downshift move to France that didn't go to plan. The family and their 4 children moved back to the UK. They settled back well, but the upbeaval was enormous for all concerned.

The realities of an extreme downshift are quite a shock to the system and I would agree with you, a 'hands on' practical approach to things definately helps.

I have a great friend, Chas Griffin (talented author of "Scenes From a Smallholding", which is an excellent read and available at and he has been consulting for a programme due out in the new year called, "The Real Good Life".

It will be interesting to see what comes out of it. I just hope it shines a light on how it really is.