Exotic Lives

Do you want to own a vineyard in Argentina? Run a coffee plantation in Panama? Live on a yacht tax-free? Buy a castle in Budapest? Find a deserted island? Get free of big brother? Open Bread & Breakfast in the Czech Republic?

EXOTIC LIVES is a travel/escape series which explores how ordinary people became fascinating people by rejecting the rat race of modern life and carving a new destiny in far-flung places.

Some of them went looking for romance or a "meaningful" life. Some of them wanted to escape the past or find a new future and fresh adventures. All of them found the courage to re-invent themselves and shed old habits and their fear of change by plunging into different cultures and forging a brand new path in life.

The Stories of Exotic Lives

1. “Dreams Uncorked” The Pugliese Vineyard, Argentina.

Restless and unhappy in Ottawa, Canada young Mauricio Pugliese jumped at the chance when he was offered the job of reviving and managing a vineyard in Argentina. To be sure, there was hard work to be done, land to be cleared, and new vines to be planted. But what an adventure!

Northern Argentina is teeming with rich foliage, haunting rock formations, blue mountain lakes, pungent red wine, and succulent beef. Seduced by this paradise, Mauricio Pugliese seized the opportunity and began a new life.

2. “Living el Dream” Hanging Ten in Nicaragua

Sometimes a life dream becomes an obsession. Don Montgomery is tall and handsome – a blue-eyed athlete and successful high-school teacher. Two years ago he quit his teaching job and took up residence in a remote beach town in Nicaragua to open a surf school and lodge, where clients, friends and his two daughters can “leave their worries behind. To incredulous friends and family he says, “I don’t want to die knowing there were things I was too scared to try. Set against a backdrop of surfing footage and exotic Central American sights and sounds, this is the story of an average man living an extraordinary life.

3. Entrepreneur With a Heart on the Costa Blanca - Karla Darocas

Toronto-born entrepreneur extraordinaire Karla Darocas is living a life she could only have imagined. As a young woman studying art at university, she was already running her own communications business. Moving to California, the career flourished but the heart was lonely. One morning after a restless night crying, she received an email from Jose Darocas, a summer fling she had in Spain many years earlier. Thinking that fate had intervened, she invited him for a visit. But fate revealed more surprises; after Jose arrived, the World Trade Centre was hit. In the midst of it he proposed, and Karla folded her company, gave away her possessions and informed her shocked parents in Toronto that she was moving to Spain to marry her boyfriend.

Today, living with her husband on the Spanish coast, she heads several enterprises that marry social good with good business. She loves her life on the Costa Blanca - a beach which she says is paradise, and there’s no freezing weather! The entrepreneur with a heart is living her dream.

4. Living La Vida in Costa Rica - Dave and Monica Dolezsar

Dave and Monica both worked long hours for the oil and gas industry; he was an engineer and she was in marketing. While they both loved their jobs, they gave it all up, Dave says, because "Why do the same thing for the rest of your life?” So with one-year-old Cassandra in tow, they went looking for adventure in Costa Rica. They bought a little resort with a Tico house, two cabinas, a restaurant and bar on the beach near the Panama border, “a place that most people would only read about in an off-the-beaten track guidebook." It needed work, but they tackled it.

Spectacular views, a beautiful new home, and a thriving new business are only part of the amazing transformation of Dave and Monica’s new vida bella!


Producer: Vanessa Dylyn

Writers/Directors: Jeff Vanderwal, Alan Burke

Produced in association with:

CTV’s Travel and Escape


Discovery HD Canada