A novice Norwegian farmer swaps lives with an overworked Devon taxi driver, while they both struggle to decide where they see their futures heading.
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Many of us feel like we're stuck in a rut.
My heart sinks when I think about sitting in front of a screen
for another 20 years.
But what if you could experience a world which couldn't be further from
-the one you know?
-There's so much more to life than going to work.
Imagine being flown across the world...
..and opening your eyes...
..to find yourself in someone else's life.
I'm certainly outside the M25 now.
In this series, six Brits...
Excuse me, do you speak English?
..will swap places with complete strangers...
Welcome to your new home.
..from across the globe...
I never dreamt to be in a place like this.
..while their opposite numbers...
-Are there any crocodiles in here?
BELL TOLLS ..test drive life in Britain.
Oh, my gosh!
Is that Big Ben?
For seven days...
..both will be immersed in a culture
which is totally different from their own.
I'm not in Kansas any more, Toto.
Could walking in someone else's shoes...
It's been a wake-up call.
..pave the way to a better life back home?
I would really want to have a life just like this.
What can you learn by seeing your world through a stranger's eyes?
What would you do if you were me?
I really don't know what the impact of this is going to be.
Two young men in their 30s have agreed to swap lives.
Both moved to the countryside to pursue their dreams.
Keep your eyes closed.
But both have found the move harder than they thought.
Brit Struan is working so many hours that he has no time to seek the
eco-friendly life he craves.
It's a circle that I've got into.
At the moment, there isn't really a solution there
to get me out of where I am.
While Norwegian snowboarder Alex is finding the reality of becoming a
farmer much tougher than expected.
To be a farmer, you need to be a hard-working, manly man.
That's not really me, no.
Now they are about to swap worlds
to see if living each other's lives
will help them balance their dreams with reality.
Brit Struan moved from the Midlands to rural Devon seven years ago for
wife Gemma's work.
I'm very lucky with where I live.
It's a beautiful part of the country,
beautiful part of the world.
They had hoped it would allow them to balance work with a more
My dream would be more of a subsistence lifestyle
where I can grow a lot of my own food,
go out fishing, try to have a smaller impact on the planet,
really, because we are making a mess of it at the moment.
That's definitely the dream.
While Gemma is now running her own eco-pet shop
and online sales business,
Struan is currently working as a cabbie.
Concerned he'll miss out on potential fares
if he doesn't make himself available,
he clocks up an average of 80 hours a week.
I need to put in those hours to make sure I've got enough money
to pay the rent, pay the bills.
It's a bit of a vicious circle.
The hours he works leave little room to search for his ideal job or spend
time with Gemma.
We don't see each other,
so it's kind of a big chunk of that
enjoying where you are is missing.
She's asleep when I leave in the morning
and she's asleep when I come back.
My work-life balance, you could say, is quite off at the moment.
Taxi driver Struan is about to swap lives with Alex,
a novice sheep farmer from Norway.
Although they had no previous experience, last year,
Alex and wife Janne decided to pursue their dream
and buy a 1,800 acre farm near Voss, in southern Norway.
The idea was
to kind of have a big place where all our friends and family
could come up and hang out and have fun.
I never really wanted to become a farmer.
I just wanted a farm so I have a big playground.
But in Norway, their dream life comes with a catch.
Anyone who owns farmland is required by law to run it as a farming
-I never really thought of making money out of animals.
I just want to build a zoo.
I want all kinds of funny animals.
But running a farm this size requires a level head.
I'd like Alex to come back from this experience
ready for new challenges,
and I'd really like him
to figure out more about himself,
so that he'll be more motivated when he comes back.
Janne probably wants me to grow up a bit, but I don't think I have to.
Since taking on the land,
Alex has worried if he's a natural fit for farming.
It's a good time for me to do this swap now,
cos I'm a bit undecided what I want to do with my life right now.
Their adventure begins when they open their eyes.
Three. Two. One.
Open your eyes.
Ah, this is beautiful.
Is this England?
For the next week, the two men will be living each other's lives.
But first, they need to find their way to their new homes.
"Alex, Fennavegen, Voss."
Their only clue is each other's name and address.
I'm trusting my instincts and I'm going that way.
Feels like I'm a long way from anywhere at the moment.
The majority of Norway's terrain is made up of rugged mountains and high
plateaus, making it extremely difficult to farm.
Less than 3% of the country is used for agriculture,
compared with 71% of the UK.
Some houses down here, a little village or something,
so I am going to head on down there.
Hopefully, I'll find somebody down there
who can tell me where to find Alex.
When Norwegian Vikings sailed to invade Saxon Britain in the ninth
century, seizing fertile farmland was as much of a prize as gold or
-I guess the train station's a good place to start.
Struan is hoping his time away will give him a chance to think about
what's been missing from his life.
It's a running joke in my family
that I've done every job under the sun,
and I really do feel like it's time to try to find something
that I'm going to stick to.
Whilst Struan puts in long hours in his taxi,
Gemma has worked hard to expand her pet shop business.
I think I'm quite lucky to be able to do something I really love,
but it is hard work and I do tend to work in the shop all day
and then work all evening.
She's doing well with her business.
We hope that it's going to keep growing.
But whereas Gemma has struck upon her passion,
Struan has always struggled.
Struan says, "Oh, I wish I could find my calling,
"as such, like you have."
Really, I just want him to find something
he's really passionate about,
work that he sort of skips out the door for.
I guess he's at a point in his life where something needs to...change.
I would love it if I came back with a clearer view of my future.
Maybe it will give me some light at the end of the tunnel.
At the moment, I'm just in a really long tunnel.
Norwegian farmer Alex has been dropped
in one of the UK's most productive farming regions.
In Devon, more farmland is used to raise livestock than grow crops.
I think I see sheeps.
Maybe I'll meet an English sheep.
So, it's the perfect place for the sheep-breeding novice
to pick up some tips.
It's just really, really beautiful.
Alex has arrived in Dartmouth,
just across the river from Struan's home in Kingswear.
Actually reminds me of Bergen a bit.
You can smell the ocean and hear the seagulls.
That's really lovely.
I could easily live here.
Before moving to rural Voss,
Alex lived in Norway's second city, Bergen,
and had never farmed in his life.
When we started, we were like, "Yeah, this is going to be fine!"
But then, after a while,
we kind of realised how much work it really was.
We google a lot of stuff about farming,
and that's how we learn everything.
They took on 23 sheep, two horses and a llama called Caballo,
which is where Alex's career as a farmer hit its first snag.
We bought all these sheeps,
and then I realised I was allergic to animals,
so now I have to take medicines every day.
I want to find this cottage.
-See the top of the hill?
That's where you've got to go. Just follow the road up.
Getting closer. Woohoo!
Here we are.
In Norway, Struan has arrived in the town of Voss.
But he's still to find his way to Alex and Janne's farm.
I'm trying to find somebody called Alex,
and I think this is a place as well - Fennavegen?
THEY SPEAK NORWEGIAN
THEY SPEAK NORWEGIAN
-You'll take me?
Thank you. Got a ride!
The majority of Norwegians speak English.
Unfortunately, Struan's Good Samaritan isn't one of them.
I'm sorry, I don't understand.
OK. I'm just going to smile and nod.
Both men are closing in on their new homes.
HE HUMS HAPPILY
-Hi. Are you Alex?
-Hi, I'm Struan.
-I'm Janne, though.
-Nice to meet you!
-Nice to meet you.
Alex, nice to meet you.
-Really nice to meet you.
-Come on in.
Oh, wow. That's quite a view you've got there.
-How long have you lived here for?
A year. Little over a year.
-Only a year?
-Do you want a cup of tea?
Yeah? No worries.
So, what is it you do, then?
I'm a sheep farmer.
-You're a sheep farmer?!
-I'm trying to be.
-You're trying to be!
-There you go.
So, who have I changed lives with?
Tell me about Struan.
You have swapped lives with Struan. He drives a taxi.
Are you both famers?
You don't have any other jobs or anything like that?
Oh, yeah. We both have other jobs.
-But we try and work as little as possible.
It's like a transition thing.
Once we build it large enough...
-..then we can just live off of here.
The idea is that eventually it is just the farm?
Oh, yeah, definitely.
It's definitely the sort of thing that I'd like to do.
Living off the land, being more self-sufficient,
working the land a little bit.
That's definitely something that really appeals to me.
The place is really beautiful
and it's just been an incredible experience,
and tomorrow I'm going to work as a taxi driver.
Bit worried about that.
Yeah, talk to you tomorrow.
It's Struan and Alex's first day living each other's lives.
-How are you doing?
-How are you?
-Yeah, really good, thank you.
Are you ready to go and do Stru's job?
-Sounds easy, but we'll see.
Sounds easier. But you'll be fine.
Alex may be handy with a snowmobile back home,
but this is the first time he's driven professionally.
Really, really nervous.
Just got to get used to it.
A couple of minutes, I'll be the best driver in England.
Most of Struan's fares are across the River Dart,
in and around the picturesque town of Dartmouth.
Negotiating the ferry is a regular part of his working day.
It's nice. Woohoo!
Now it begins, eh?
This is where all the traffic is and all the steep hills.
This town is just incredible.
The buildings and the water and...
I could definitely live here.
But there's no time for sightseeing,
and Alex is about to see there's more to being a good cabbie
than just the driving.
Hi, I'm Alex.
Sorry I was a bit late.
Now, hang on. I've got to be like the Queen.
Bum in first, then legs.
The way to go.
Struan's customers expect a good chat as well as a
I'm 77, coming this year.
There's many a story. I could write a book.
I'd be rich if I'd have written it out.
-I was on the stage.
You wouldn't remember, you're still a baby.
What do you do for a job?
I'm a sheep farmer from Norway.
Oh, are you? Well, I've got a grandson, nine,
and he goes every weekend to help on the farm with the bullocks,
-and he came to see me on Monday...
-What's a bullock?
-A bullock, what is that?
-It's a cow.
-It's a cow? OK.
They are called bullocks, they can't breed or anything.
They can't breathe?
They're just men, bullocks.
-Oh, yeah, OK. They can't breed.
-Yeah, they can't mate.
It turns out that most of Alex's fares seem to know more
about livestock than he does.
So, how long have you been sheep farming?
-For a year.
-For a year?
How much do you know about sheep farming?
To be honest, I know very little.
-Is that right?
-Yeah, I learn it all by googling it.
We just bought finished lambs.
-Oh, I see.
So, the finished lambs are now ewes, is that it?
-What do you mean?
-They were lambs last year, were they?
-Yeah, they were. Yeah.
-Hoping they are pregnant by now.
-The two tooth, yeah?
Do you know that? Two tooth, four tooth, full mouth?
-You don't? OK.
That's how they work. First year, they have two teeth.
Second year, they have four teeth.
-Third year, they have full mouth.
-Didn't know that.
The missus is better than me.
Oh, that's brilliant. That's what you want, really.
-You want an enthusiastic partner.
To be honest, I don't know how he does it.
I couldn't do it.
I'm a nerve wreck already. I've done it for four hours.
It's more fun to take your snowmobile up to the mountain
and have a beer.
In Norway, Struan is hard at work on the farm.
There is a lot of wood to move.
The physical labour is a far cry from the hours he spends sitting
in his taxi.
Yeah, it's getting pretty tiring.
You don't need a big, like, expensive gym membership out here.
The whole place is your gym.
But on the farm, the jobs never seem to end.
-Shall I take this down to the sheep?
This is going to be a first time.
What's the hardest bits about this lifestyle?
I think the hardest is,
like, the amount of energy it takes.
Does Alex enjoy doing all of this?
The animals are a bit more my thing.
But he... They're growing on him.
We've been very clear that this is our dream, but of course,
once you start it, it's a lot more than what you think.
-Both positive and negative.
Do you and Alex get to spend a lot of time together because you've got
-ALL the time.
It's a team effort.
It sounds perfect.
Today, even though I've only just started,
it's already got me thinking about how I could try and implement things
like this into my own life.
Hopefully, slowly make a move towards the lifestyle
that I really want for myself.
Me and Gemma, we don't get to spend anywhere near as much time together
now as we want to.
-That's a shame.
-We haven't really been married very long,
and we are almost living separate lives.
I feel a bit bad for Struan and his wife.
I think when you are married to someone,
it's important to do things together and spend time together.
Today has been a really interesting day.
Being a taxi driver...
..is probably not the job for me.
I think I am a bit too restless for it.
I could never do it for 70 hours a week like Struan does.
Hopefully, Struan has had a good time at the farm.
I can imagine my wife has been...
..whipping him and getting him into work straightaway.
It's been a good day.
It's been hard work. It's been really hard work.
It's been nice spending quite a lot of time with Janne today,
getting to know her some more,
being able to speak to her about her and Alex's relationship.
And I love how Janne talks about being a team.
Cos I always think of Gemma and myself as a team.
But that's difficult
when you're not really spending very much time together.
After a day doing his job,
Alex is getting the chance to see what else makes Struan tick.
-It's quite cold with the wind today.
-It is a bit cold, yeah.
Although they moved to Devon seven years ago,
Struan and Gemma have only managed to make one small step towards their
dream of a more sustainable lifestyle.
-Can you pet them?
Go for it.
Oh, they're so calm.
On a small patch of land near the house,
they have a small brood of chickens.
-This is silver legs.
-While Struan and Gemma have started
with just a few square metres,
Alex and Janne jumped straight in
and bought almost three square miles.
Did you always want to be a farmer?
I didn't always want to be a farmer, but I've always wanted a farm.
I just like to have lots of land.
-Lots of land to play in.
And also have a few funny animals.
But I never thought I'd be doing it for real.
It all happened really fast.
-You've got a farm.
Sometimes I think, "Whoa, what am I doing?
"This isn't me." Can I try to hold one?
Yeah, you can. You can try.
It's really unusual to be able to buy a farm.
Normally, it's generation to generation.
They kind of pass on the knowledge.
Luckily, we've got good neighbours helping us,
and telling us when to do stuff.
They're pretty independent chickens.
When we bought it, we didn't know anything.
We knew that the animals needed food.
That's about it.
Now, we know a little bit more, but not enough.
We still need help.
Did you grow up in the countryside?
-No, I didn't.
I grew up in... Yeah, in a town in the Midlands,
but I always loved animals.
-You always wanted to have a place like this?
Struan, he was from the Midlands as well.
His dad was a gamekeeper.
His first friend was a chicken.
Apparently, he used to walk around with this chicken.
Yeah, I think we've both always had that sort of...
sort of dream, or that love for being outdoors and...
-We've not done too bad so far, I think.
No, no, no. You've got a really lovely place here.
Speaking to Alex is making Gemma realise
that their work-heavy lifestyle
is making it hard for them to achieve their dream.
Wow! Four eggs.
To ever make it happen,
they're going to have to make some hard choices.
If we want to do this, Struan's got to cut his hours down,
or I've got to cut my hours down.
We've got to commit to so many days a week to work on our land.
That's something I think we're going to have to have a good chat about
when he comes back.
She hopes Struan's trip will give him the confidence
to do what makes him happy.
I want him to come back saying,
"I'm not going to think about when I'm going to do it
"because I am going to do it."
You know, be more focused, take a chance, rather than going,
"Oh, I can't turn away work
"because we're not going to be able to pay the bills."
In Norway, Struan wants to find out more about Alex and Janne's plans
for their land.
They want to develop part of it as a paying snowboarding and mountain
biking venue. But, for now,
their only visitors are friends and family.
Hi. How are you doing?
My name is Sven.
-Sven? Nice to meet you. Struan.
-Remi. Sven and Remi, nice to meet you.
-Nice to meet you.
Come on in.
-Thank you very much.
Were you surprised when Alex said he was going to buy a farm?
Oh, yeah. We got surprised.
He's a typical city boy, just like us.
Never had anything to do with a farm,
but when he told us that he was going to buy
almost the biggest farm in all of us,
I thought, "OK. This can go both ways."
Do you think he's doing well so far with the farm?
I guess it's a lot of fun here as well?
Exactly. Especially in the winter.
But we can't really come visit without doing some work first.
OK, so it's a deal?
-You know, you work and then they'll let you play?
Overworked taxi driver Struan
is about to discover why Alex and Janne took
the leap and bought the land in the first place.
Alex and Janne met whilst snowboarding.
As well as a future business venture,
it's an activity they still share with their friends,
and the farm offers plenty of space to indulge their passion.
That's good. Good, Remi.
Next, it's Struan's turn.
I can totally understand
why Alex doesn't want to do too much work on the farm
all the time. Why would you, when you've got this as your playground,
and you own it?
It's definitely hitting home more and more
that my work-life balance needs to change.
I focus so much on working hard, on making sure I've got the money,
that I don't spend enough time with my friends and family and doing the
things that are really important in life.
Oh, yeah. Ha-ha!
-Hold it faster.
That was fun.
I can imagine that, if I lived here, I'd be doing this all the time.
With the perfect playground outside,
Struan wants to find out what Alex might get out of his time in the UK.
He needs to grow up a bit.
-He's 30 years old
and he wishes he was 16.
-Working as a taxi driver
and to not be able to just run off in the mountains and snowboard
-whenever he wants...
I think that would be good for him.
Yeah, it opens his eyes to see how lucky he is, maybe.
Yeah, yeah, I think you could be right.
On our way to a sheep auction!
-Get to see some sheeps.
-Some sheeps. Some English sheeps.
During his time in Devon,
Norwegian farmer Alex is keen to pick up any farming tips he can.
They look cool!
So Gemma has brought him to one of the country's biggest livestock
auctions. There are few places in the county where so much farming
knowledge is gathered in one place.
Most farmers are generational farmers.
They've been around for years,
and their parents have taught their kids,
and so on. So they all know what they're doing.
But novice Alex is soon out of his depth.
So these are all female?
I guess. I don't...
-I don't know.
-And are those...?
-Well, if you look under his tail...
-He's a female.
-Or she's a female!
There are more than 33 million sheep in the UK,
compared with approximately 700,000 in Norway.
The UK's sheep industry is worth more than £1 billion per year.
These are really cool. It doesn't say which breed it is anywhere, no?
I want to get one of those red ones.
I didn't even know there were so many different breeds.
-Hello, are you all right?
-I'm Alex, nice to meet you.
-Pleased to meet you.
-Nice to meet you.
You're the boss of the auction?
Well, of the sheep market, yeah.
-Erm, do you keep sheep?
-Yeah, I'm a farmer from Norway.
-Well, I'm trying to be a farmer.
Trying to be a farmer. Have you just started, are you...?
Yeah, well, we bought the farm a year ago.
-So we have 20-something sheeps.
Right, yep. And what breed are they?
Er, Norwegian white sheep, it's called.
-Ha-ha! The traditional sheep of Norway!
-I don't think we've got any of them here today.
So how does this auction work?
-Do you not have...?
-No, no, we don't have auctions like this.
Right. Erm, we'll have ten or 12,
maybe 15 buyers, and they'll be bidding,
and the person that bids the highest obviously gets them.
And you stand and shout, "Rrr-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba..."
-Yeah, yeah, yeah, like that.
-OK, so these are sold?
-They're not sold yet, no.
-We start at 11 o'clock.
I'll be bidding on some of these.
I didn't even know places like this existed.
I'm buying something here. One of those red ones.
They're saying, "Please, take me to Norway!"
57, 5-5-5 2-2-2. 52.
Bid here for 9-9-9...
There's only one bid.
Sell away at £60. All done at £60.
Stand on 5-4-2...
I don't understand anything. What's going on?
-Are you keeping up?
-I'm trying to!
Well done. Stick to it.
I'll stick to it.
I'm just going to raise my hand and bid something, and we'll see.
And again. They are 9-9-9 5-5-5 2-2-2...
I'm just trying not to bid on anything,
keep my hands in my pockets,
so I don't come home with 20 sheep!
How much do you reckon they will go for?
-You'll see in a minute.
-It's impossible to follow what he says.
One bid, on the left.
Next lot up are Alex's red sheep.
I'm going to really focus now and see if I can...
£60, £60, £60...
Seven bid, seven bid. Eight bid, eight bid. 58, bid. Half.
58. Halving, halving it.
Should I bid now?
Halving, halving, halving it, halving it.
-Anyone? Sure to sell away at £60. At 61, 61... Tim Hawkins.
That was quick! I didn't even...
That was over before I realised it was started!
I guess I won't be buying anything today.
He may be going home empty-handed,
but being amongst so many farmers has given Alex food for thought.
Full of knowledge, the old farmers.
Yeah, there's so much stuff I don't know yet,
so it's been really good talking to them.
They're all happy with their life and loving it. It motivates me.
Makes me want to do it even more.
It's a few days into the swap...
-..and the boys are starting to settle into each other's lives.
So far, Alex's time in Devon has reminded him
how much he wants the farm to be a success.
When me and Janne first became a couple, we rented out a farm.
And then eventually, we decided to just buy one.
And there's one haddock and chips for you, sir.
-Thank you. I will.
Farm life, you have a lot of responsibility.
You have a lot of, er, lives on your hands, I guess.
We don't know nothing. In the beginning, nobody believed in us.
They were all like, "Ah, those city folks, they're going to fail!"
But now they're all cheering for us, and they all love us now, I hope.
For Struan, his trip to Norway is reminding him that he moved to the
country to get closer to nature, not spend his life in a taxi.
I think maybe I have become a bit obsessed with making the money,
because of the job that I do, it's not a steady income.
So if I could focus less on the money,
or have another source of income,
that really would be a good thing.
When I went to university,
I studied Animal Behaviour,
and quite a lot of that was at an agricultural college -
where they had sheep, they had cows, loads of horses and stuff -
and I haven't done anything with it for ages,
so it's really nice to be back doing it again.
I want more for Gemma.
She deserves a lot more from me than I'm giving her.
Maybe breaking the routine for a bit will just allow me to take a step
back and think about, where do I see us in five years' time,
and what can I do today to work towards that tomorrow?
Struan wants to use his time in Voss to experience the self-sustaining
life he craves.
Today, he's going hunting with Alex and Janne's neighbour, Tom.
So, is hunting a big part of your life for getting food?
I was born in this mountain and, when I was younger,
it was very important for getting food on the table.
Now it's not so necessary, but
I want to continue it because I enjoy.
It's probably a bit sort of primeval as a man, you know,
hunter-gatherer and all that sort of stuff.
Go out with a big stick and bring back something to eat.
Norway has a high level of gun ownership.
There's around one gun to every three people,
compared with one in every 35 in the UK.
You have to learn to read everything.
This is an open book for me.
Yeah? So you look at this and you know...
I know what is maybe in here.
This is a fox track. This white line.
And the other one there is a rabbit.
-Yeah. So maybe the fox has gone for this rabbit.
Maybe find a rabbit, but the rabbit hears us, 500-600 metres,
the rabbit will hear us when we talk.
-OK, so it's important to be quiet.
-We have to be quiet,
go slowly and make sure we don't crush the snow.
-You've got to be very patient. You've got to be very quiet.
I still like the idea of being able to go out and hunt for your own meat
and finding it and preparing it all yourself.
-Yeah, yeah, I saw him. He went...
He was a little bit too fast.
Back in Devon, Alex is about to experience one of Struan's favourite
pastimes, with friend Matt.
-Hello. All right?
-Alex. Nice to meet you.
-Yeah, yeah, yeah.
-Come to do a bit of fishing, then?
As well as a chance for time out of his taxi,
fishing allows Struan to embrace his passion for living off the land.
I'll wind him up a little bit, couple of turns.
-And I'll give it a bit of a jig.
-Is that the best technique?
-So how long have you
-and Struan been friends?
-I met Struan about four,
four and a half years ago now, mates ever since, really.
Now we do the taxiing,
we don't see so much of each other because we both...
-I do taxiing as well.
-Yeah, I drive a taxi as well occasionally.
-Yeah, it seems like really long days.
I don't think you woke up one morning and thought,
"I'd love to be a taxi driver," but, you know,
truth of the matter is it pays the bills.
-I got one!
-You got one. That's it, in gear, wind up.
Oh, yeah, little mackerel.
Struan seemed like an active guy.
I think he could be doing something else.
He needs to find a job that doesn't take up all his time
and do the stuff that he really wants to do,
and hang out with his wife and build a life together.
I got heaps!
-What do I do now?
-Swing him up to me.
-I'm going to tell him, "Quit your job,
"get a farm or do whatever you like."
And if it doesn't work,
You can always just go back to your old life.
You're not losing anything by trying.
In Norway, it's an early start.
Janne is keen for Struan to learn
what rearing or hunting your own meat really entails.
So they are visiting an abattoir.
This is completely new for me,
but I'm looking forward to seeing the process.
I know if you want a subsistence lifestyle, you need to make use of
-Butchery is a skill that every self-sufficient
farmer needs to master.
I am an animal lover. I'm quite against
sort of the mass slaughter of animals,
so I prefer to sort of just produce or hunt
for exactly what you need for your own personal use.
-Your against mass slaughter?
-This one? Um...
So if I'm going to feed you and him, then you both have to come up and
slaughter your sheep.
Before we have dinner.
a less intensive way of farming,
so like 100 sheep or something like that, not so bad,
but then you get loads and loads of meat being produced and people buy
loads because it's on buy-one-get-one-free,
and then they forget they've got it
and half of it goes in the bin anyway.
-I hate the waste of it.
Which one do you want?
Which one? I like this one.
-You like that.
-Mm-hm. Come on.
Until now, Struan's dream of a self-sustaining lifestyle
has been just that.
You almost have to detach yourself a little bit from the animals
that you see in the field frolicking to this.
Does this make you feel uncomfortable?
It does make me feel a little bit uncomfortable.
But I've always been a believer that, if you're going to eat meat,
you should be willing to do all aspects associated with eating meat.
I think if you don't feel a little bit bad about it,
you're missing something.
You think Gunnar is missing something?
The guy with the knife? No, he's not missing anything!
This isn't a goat, this is meat.
Yeah. Yeah, definitely.
There's an obvious difference between sort of Norwegian
and British people, that Norwegians are very much straight to the point.
There's no mincing their words.
-My first joint.
I think Struan has a different view of how it works,
eating meat and animals and all that.
I'm not sure it changes my perspective on wanting to have
a sustainable life, but it definitely brings it home
that the things that I'd have to do in order to have that.
So where does this go, in that pile?
-Oh, it goes in that one. Sure?
So you just threw a part of the animal away.
How does that make you feel?
You use everything you can possibly use, reasonably.
-They used to use fat to make soap.
-Yeah, you can make soap.
Are you going to take that box home and make soap?
No, they won't let me on the plane with that box.
While Struan is getting a crash course in butchery,
back in the UK, Alex is visiting fifth generation farmer Phil Bond.
Alex and Janne will have to handle their first lambing season soon,
so it's an opportunity to pick up some vital tips.
What experience have you got with the sheep, then?
I've got absolutely none.
We just google everything we do.
You're here today, and it's relatively quiet,
but four days ago, we had these 100 sheep lambing.
-60 of them lambed in four days out of 100.
So that's why there's all these family units in the box pens.
-These have all been born here since Monday.
-So it was like a maternity wing on a bad day here on Monday and
By the end of the winter lambing season,
Phil will have on average another 500 animals to care for.
You'll be keeping your sheep indoors when they lamb?
-Yeah, they'll all be indoors.
Which is great, but they are in here on all this bedding.
-So they're effectively on a hot, steaming dung heap.
-You've got all these sheep in a confined area
and you have a build-up of bacterias and diseases.
-You have to manage that, and some you win and some you lose.
When you look after animals comes a responsibility of sometimes...
-"That's suffered enough."
Which is not always easy.
It's a stark reminder of how tough country life can be.
The reality of running a farm is sinking into me.
It's not as idyllic as people think it is.
That's only in the photos.
Behind the scenes, there's a lot of stuff going on.
Back in Norway,
Janne wants to continue Struan's education in the realities
of nose-to-tail eating.
She's brought him to a farm where they serve
one of Voss's local delicacies.
HE SPEAKS NORWEGIAN
He's going to show us how we're going to...
This is the sheep's head, Smalahove, that's in Norwegian.
-And he's going to show us how we're going to do it.
Smalahove is a smoked and boiled sheep's head.
Is this something that you'd want to do at home?
I'm not opposed to doing it,
but with it being the first time I've done it, I'm not going to lie,
-it's freaking me out a little bit because...
..I'm holding this guy in the fire with a stick up his nose.
-And he's looking at you.
-And he's looking at me, going, "Why,
-"why did you do this?"
-"Why did you kill me?"
That's some stubborn wool.
-Smells like burnt hair.
-It's OK, buddy. They can't hurt you any more.
That was harder than
I thought it would be.
It's dead, but you've got this sheep and it's looking at you
while you've got it in the fire.
If I'm going to talk the talk, I need to walk the walk,
but that was...that was pretty hard.
But the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
I'm pretty apprehensive, I've got to be honest.
I've got quite a weak sort of gag reflex.
-You want to live in nature and kill what you find.
Yeah, but just certain things.
But I'm sure it's going to taste very nice.
If this is something that you do quite often, it can't taste too bad.
People aren't going to do it if they don't enjoy it.
Thank you very much.
-This is my first ear.
-Do fish have ears?
-Taste it, then. See what you think.
Did you like it?
I can't tell if you're going to throw up,
or if you're going to enjoy it.
-Um, the taste is good.
-But my brain keeps on saying, "You're eating an ear."
Oh, OK. Never had the eye.
Everyone says it's really good.
-Are you ready?
-Are YOU ready?
En, to, tre.
Stop thinking about it being an eye, it's just a piece of meat.
Did you like the eye of the ear more?
I think the eye was probably the best bit.
All the tastes are really nice, all the flavours are good.
But I've still got a sheep's head looking at me,
and I'm not going to lie to you, I'm...
It is making me a little bit queasy.
You're the one who wanted to use the whole animal.
If you slaughter an animal, you have to use everything.
It's disrespecting the animal if you leave some of it on the plate.
Is it too late to swap with somebody else?
-Janne's called me a few times on using the whole animal and
respecting the animal, and I'm still a strong believer in that,
but it's not as easy as you might think.
Maybe if I had to do that too many times,
there'd be a good chance I'd go veggie.
Yeah, given me a lot to think about.
Alex and Struan's time living each other's lives is almost at an end.
Having experienced English livestock auctions and picked up tips on
lambing, today Alex is learning the art of herding sheep
with farmer Neil Coe,
on his 2,000-acre farm on the edge of Dartmoor.
-You go that side.
Although Norwegian flocks are on average less than one sixth
the size of British ones,
shepherds in Norway do have to be on the lookout for predatory wolves,
lynxes, or even the occasional brown bear.
Lay down. Lay down.
Unlike Alex, Neil's family have been farming for generations.
He and his brother have 2,000 ewes, 250 cattle and 40 ponies to manage,
which require a mix of modern and traditional methods of husbandry.
Right, we're going to round the sheep up now, cos there's one here
-I see of my neighbour's sheep...
-..which we'll have to catch.
The one with the red mark on - he's not supposed to be here.
So, we'll bring him back to this gateway.
Mmm! So, what do I do?
-You drive down there...
You just say, "Go back, get off."
-No, no, no!
Bonnie, get on! And I say...?
-Go back. No!
NEIL WHISTLES, ALEX LAUGHS
Come here! Bonnie!
I think I've got it now.
See if we can teach you how to be an English shepherd.
-Be nice to my dog!
I'll be nice.
OK, we got this.
This'll be interesting.
Go back! Get off!
MUSIC: William Tell Overture by Rossini
-Tell her to lie down!
-Tell her to go back.
I don't know what you're saying!
Luckily, sheepdog Bonnie has more experience in shepherding than Alex.
-Tell her to keep.
Yeah, there she goes!
Lie down, lie down!
Now, all you have to do is catch your sheep.
-You've got to run in and catch it.
Er, which one is it again?
There's two red dots on the little one in the middle there.
-Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
-Right, you run in and catch it.
-Now! Go! Go, go, go! Get it, get it!
There, there, there, right in the middle.
-I can see it!
-That's the one, that's the one!
You have it! You've got it!
-Lie down, lie down.
Hold him under the throat, like that,
-that's the correct way to hold a sheep.
Right. This one doesn't belong to us, so we'll put her back out there.
You worked your first English dogs, caught your first English sheep!
That was really fun.
-Yeah. I've got to learn how to train my dog to do that.
-This is the most fun I had so far on this trip.
-Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Ah, good old Dartmoor farming, you see, you can't beat it.
-You can't beat it!
-It's their life.
-Do you have any...?
Sometimes have any doubts about what you're doing?
About the whole farming business?
There isn't any other job out there
that I think would want to employ me!
Or have me! No, I have no doubts.
I love it. I've got this, I've got my dogs, my wife and kids.
I love sheep farming, gives you a real sense of pride,
real sense of pride.
This is the best day so far.
Haven't had this much fun in a long time.
For internet farmer Alex,
his time with his English counterparts has been a revelation.
Really exciting to see how well him and the dog work together.
Hup, hup, hup, hup!
Yeah, it's really awesome.
It has been really motivating.
All the farmers I met are really proud of what they do.
Growing up, I was always a bit restless and got very easily bored.
So, now I...
Now I'm really confident that this is the thing for me to do,
because it never gets boring.
It's always something new, and it's always a lot of action going on.
Yeah, it feels...
It feels amazing here.
Knowing that you, you've found your one call in life.
Just use your arms.
In Norway, Janne is taking Struan on a trip up their mountain for a
Norwegian-style barbecue at their hut.
How are you doing?
It's a good work-out.
So, this is the cabin.
That's lovely. So lucky to have this here.
-You know, you've...
-I love it.
-It looks like you've got it all.
-Anything you want to do...
-And then pinch to stop.
-Or just sit down.
-That's how I'm arriving!
This is it, the cabin.
-It's tiny but nice.
Small and bijou.
-Are you hungry?
Let's go out and make a fire, and cook some hot dogs.
I really do love it up here, but coming here on the skis,
it was just exhausting.
-So that's got me thinking,
it's not just the work that I need to change, it's my whole lifestyle.
And, you know, make time to be healthy, make time to have fun,
make time to see your friends.
You can always earn more money, but you can't get more time.
True, very true.
I think Struan is a pretty restless guy.
I think Struan just needs to decide what he wants to do,
cos I think he's pretty good at making things happen,
so if he wants it to happen, then it will.
Time away from his taxi has given Struan the chance to think about his
life back home, and where his future might lie.
I've realised over my time here just how much I love being out in
the wild. I've enjoyed the farming life here.
Just being outside and being with nature,
that was sort of the real highlight for me.
Janne left me in charge of making sure
all the animals are fed and watered and cleaned.
And that'll be it for today.
I can't be in an office,
and even though the view's changing all the time in the taxi,
I'm still in one place, and it's very repetitive.
I've learnt that I'm a hard worker, but I get my priorities wrong.
I focus so much on working hard and making sure I've got the money,
that I don't spend enough time with Gemma,
with my friends and family and doing the things that are really important
I'm really pleased with how I've just handled that escapee!
I think this is very close to my dream life.
It's not exactly the same, but it's very close.
This experience has helped focus it a little bit more,
and as time goes on, I'll focus it a bit more when I get home.
Struan and Alex's week is up,
and it's time for them to say goodbye and head for home.
It's been really nice having you here.
Thank you. I've really enjoyed it. I've had a good time.
I want to get back to my wife now.
-I can see that.
-OK, thank you, Janne.
-Have a good day!
-It's been so much fun.
Yeah. Have a lovely journey back.
Before returning to their own families,
the two men will finally have a chance to meet.
I'm going to be interested to see how he's got on
in my life.
I'm going to make sure he realises
how lucky he is to have all this here.
He's got a great wife, he's got a great place,
and if they keep working together the way that they seem to already,
as part of a team,
then they'll be unstoppable.
I'm excited to meet him.
Just to see how tall he is.
I think that me and Stru are similar, in the playfulness thing.
We both like adventures.
I've been thinking a lot about my life.
I don't do a lot of thinking at home, but I'm thinking, like,
what I really want to do,
and why I do what I do and why it's the best thing for me.
I want to be a proud farmer, like the English farmers.
-How are you doing?
Nice to meet you!
-And you. Good to see you, man!
-Good to see you.
-So, how's it been?
Yeah, it's been really good. Tiring.
-Yeah. What about for you?
It's been, er, different.
Yeah? What did you get up to?
I've been driving your taxi.
Yeah? How did that go?
The scariest thing I've ever done.
-What have you been up to?
Been helping Janne out on the farm with the sheep.
-We went up to your cabin as well.
-I love your cabin.
-Oh, you do?
Yeah, yeah. I'd happily stay there.
What do you think you learnt about me and my life?
I think I learned that you worked a lot.
-Gemma's biggest concern was that you didn't spend
-enough time together.
-Yeah, that's one of my biggest concerns as well,
-I'm always working.
-Everybody I met around town,
they told me how wonderful you were and they all had great stories about
you. They didn't get to see you a lot, they said,
because you were always working.
Yeah, that's true. I don't get to do anything, like, as much as I should
-with other people.
-I think you should start following your dreams
and stop putting them off. Life is for living, you know.
Get out there and take a risk.
My advice to Struan was that he should work a little bit less,
spend more time with the people he loves, especially Gemma -
I think she really misses him.
The place they live in has so much potential.
He shouldn't work his life away.
You took a risk to get hold of your dreams,
and my advice to you is, keep going.
Janne's obviously a very driven, very focused woman.
So, I think with the two of you together as a team,
it's not going to take you long to get exactly where you want to be.
And you're going to be spending your time up in the mountains -
that's what's really going to make you happy.
I think you've got a really good future ahead of you,
and I don't think it's too far until you're there.
But I think maybe you should take a bit more responsibility on the farm.
Er... You've got a lot of restless energy, a bit like me.
If you focus that a little bit into your work life on the farm,
then it's all going to come to you a lot easier. I think.
Yeah. You might be right.
I'm definitely going to take Struan's advice.
I never thought of it that way, that you can just channel your...
childish energy into something creative.
I always just get mad, like, "Don't... Grow up, behave!"
And I'm like, "Agh!"
But now, you know, I can use all of that energy for something positive.
And I think it's really good advice.
-Well, it's been a pleasure.
-Definitely, take care, man.
-Have a safe trip home.
-Cool. I'll see you again.
When I get back to the UK,
I'm really going to try and work hard on what Alex has told me
and the things that I've learned.
I'm going to spend less time working,
more time with the people I love and more time doing the things
that I love.
Two young men in their thirties and both recently married are unsure if they can commit to changing their lives and committing to farming life full-time. Both men left the cities to pursue their dream lives - one is pursuing his fantasy life of being a sheep farmer, but the long hours and hard physical work is taking its toll, causing him to fall out of love with it. The other, stuck in an unsatisfying job and desperate to start his dream farm life, is terrified of taking the plunge.
Struan is a dissatisfied taxi driver who left the city to pursue the 'good life' in the Devonshire countryside but has winded up working 70-hour weeks, never seeing his wife or the chickens they bought in an attempt to become farmers. He is desperate to make a change, but is fearful to let go of the financial security that full-time employment offers. Struan, drifting through life and dipping his toes into a number of tried and tested career paths, left Manchester to pursue the good life, but is now more lost than ever.
Alex was sick of the 9-to-5 routine and left a good job in the city of Bergen to buy a mountain - but with no experience of owning land, running a farm and looking after livestock, this 'Google' farmer has become fed up and is worried his dream life is turning into a nightmare. He is a big kid who bought a mountain so that he could build a snowboard playground, but Norwegian law means he has to be a reluctant farmer and as a result, Peter Pan needs to grow up.
Struan realises he has the ability and expertise to flourish in this life, but needs the guts to take risks (which wife Gemma also realises they need to do) to take the leap and follow his dream. Alex realises he needs to grow up and that the farm is the best choice he has ever made.