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Giuliettaexpat introduces us to the inspirational initiative of Yaël, a french friend who went back to France, after 9 years of living a determined life abroad.

 

For women like us, life abroad is often the chance to reinvent ourselves, to discover new skills and latent talents we never knew existed.

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Relocating abroad often means foregoing a career and a structured life. On the other hand it can open new doors, unravel unfamiliar worlds and cultures, change your outlook on work, success and personal fulfillment!

Yaël was a practicing lawyer in France but left nine years ago to follow her husband with three small children in tow. Now 40 years old, she can boast of life abroad in places like Taiwan, Tokyo and Portugal and the addition to the family of two more children. To this day Yael sees her sojourn as a splendid working break to take care of her beautiful family. “I had always dreamt of having a big family, and I gave time to my children for all these years with complete enthusiasm. But, I always knew this natural break would end with me returning to a professional life”.

Returning to France in the summer of 2012 with her family installed in the beautiful suburbs in the outskirts of Paris, Yael like many women, had to face going back to work and to an “ordinary” life. However, Yael wanted to go back to professional life and this needed preparation so she embarked on what she describes as an entrepreneurial stage. It wasn’t long until she knew this was not what she wanted…

Years of freedom coupled with the sense of adventure that pushed her to travel with her family have certainly played a big part in her ambitions. Her real enthusiasm emerged through a life coach who helped Yaël in being absolutely clear about her aspirations and with whom she started discussing her wonderful project. Her entrepreneurial skills emerged little by little and her enthusiasm to create “something” finally produced results.

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OWTOO, a website for holidays on farms with fun activities for the whole family, with friends or as couples, was born. The idea is to offer weekends with “constructive” activities to share, inspired by Yaël’s experience in Taiwan and Giappone. OWTOO’s thematic weekends allow the discovery of sculpture or life on a real farm; milking the cows included! The objective is to share your experience with family and friends with the intention that you leave having accomplished activities together, rather like family team building.

Little by little, Yaël’s project has taken shape, brought about by her strong enthusiasm for creating something using the skills she has learned from her life experiences. Her project has even added new skills to her repertoire from creating a website to looking for business partners. Yaël travelled all over France contacting the farms personally and assessing their ability in communicating their particular speciality; inspecting the quality of the service and examining the aesthetics of the immediate environment.

Yael wanted to create an entire experience of distraction from ordinary life for her clients, one where rest is total. Choosing locations that offer complete relaxation and a real ‘back to nature’ experience were paramount.

Her work has been titanic, the concept being completely new, was difficult for convincing new partners to trust her and support her once the website was up and running!

Now with the first 30 farm rooms and the first 39 “packets”, the website is online. Surfing it is a pleasure. You certainly feel that you want to go on holiday and have a great time and immediately jump into a new activity, to make discoveries and to do it with the people you love!

Of course there’s always the future to think about, to keep on growing with new offers and new places, and then who knows, maybe start operating abroad… In the meantime overseas visitors also have their space on the website: in the section SO FRENCH they can find the farms that welcome people in English…

I am fascinated, as I am sure you will be, by both the concept and the energy of this lawyer-mother who has been able to reinvent herself thanks to her nine-year sojourn around the world.
Giuliettaexpat
San Francisco Bay Area
Otctober 2013

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