Andy Baldridge and Erica Saar-Baldridge and their children on a boat with a crew from HGTV’s “House Hunters International.” The couple decided to move to the Patagonia region of Argentina in December 2017. (Brianne Belle)

Andy Baldridge and Erica Saar-Baldridge and their children on a boat with a crew from HGTV’s “House Hunters International.” The couple decided to move to the Patagonia region of Argentina in December 2017. (Brianne Belle)

From Oak Harbor to Argentina, family’s journey to air on HGTV

An upcoming episode of House Hunters International will feature a Whidbey Island couple and their six kids.

By Laura Guido / Whidbey News Group

OAK HARBOR — Erica Saar and Andy Baldridge met in Spanish class while attending Oak Harbor High School in the late 1990s. They never guessed that, years later, they’d be reaching back to those nearly forgotten lessons as they tried to get by in Argentina.

Many people dream of dropping everything and moving away for a year. The Baldridges, along with their six children, actually did.

Next week, their journey will be broadcast on HGTV’s “House Hunters International.”

“We did it all for the experience, mostly for our kids,” Erica Saar-Baldridge said.

The pair has traveled to 50 countries, usually for vacation, but they always felt they were missing some of the experience. In December 2017, the family arrived in Bariloche, Argentina, in the Patagonia region.

With the children being 11 and under, Saar-Baldridge and her husband agreed that it was best to introduce them to new, worldly experiences while they were still young.

“It’s been my No. 1 goal to raise my kids to be global citizens,” she said.

Three-year-old twins Calista and Colette may not fully remember the trip, so Saar-Baldridge hopes the episode will serve as a time capsule — something to look back on.

Saar-Baldridge said she knew a friend who’d filmed with “House Hunters” and had a great experience. She decided to reach out to the show and pitch the couple’s plan.

Their episode is set to air 10:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Saar-Baldridge and Baldridge were both raised in Oak Harbor and met at the high school. They dated, but it was “nothing serious,” Saar-Baldridge said. They parted ways after graduation, as many couples do. She went to Eastern Washington University and he went to University of Washington.

After college, Baldridge sent a friend request to his high school sweetheart.

“It just went from there,” Saar-Baldridge said.

They lived together in Bellingham before taking off for Argentina. She worked as the human resources director for Kulshan Brewing Co. in Seattle, a job she could do remotely. He was a data scientist at Boeing.

Andy Baldridge and Erica Saar-Baldridge and their children on a boat with a crew from HGTV’s “House Hunters International.” The couple decided to move to the Patagonia region of Argentina in December 2017. (Brianne Belle)

Andy Baldridge and Erica Saar-Baldridge and their children on a boat with a crew from HGTV’s “House Hunters International.” The couple decided to move to the Patagonia region of Argentina in December 2017. (Brianne Belle)

The language barrier was the biggest hurdle for the family. All six children entered primary school and had lessons held exclusively in Spanish, despite not knowing any before arriving.

During the last six months, the older daughter was speaking only in Spanish with her friends.

“Our kids did better than we would’ve expected,” Saar-Baldridge said. “It somehow was never really a problem.”

The family spent six days filming, between 12 and 15 hours at a time, which was hard on the kids.

“It was stressful and a little chaotic and overwhelming,” Saar-Baldridge said, “but also really, really fun and exciting.”

After the year was up, the family moved back to Washington. It was difficult to leave, Saar-Baldridge said.

Now, they eagerly await the airing of their “House Hunters International” episode.

They’re a little nervous. Saar-Baldridge said they haven’t seen the final product yet.

The Whidbey News Group is a sibling organization of The Daily Herald.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Logo for news use featuring Whidbey Island in Island County, Washington. 220118
Everett man dies after being hit by car in Island County

Jacob Weigert was running across State Route 20 toward a bus stop when he was hit Wednesday morning.

Lynnwood
Lynnwood police shoot at man during pursuit

The man is wanted on multiple warrants, including one for attempted murder, according to police. No one was hurt.

The “Village of Hope,” a tiny home community including 17 shelters, is set to open on Mission Hill Road in Tulalip in September. (Tulalip Tribes)
Tulalip Tribes to open tiny home village with 17 shelters

It’s called the Village of Hope. Monthly culture nights will feature classes in Lushootseed and “Tulalip cooking.”

Everett
Man shot at Everett apartment

The man in his 30s was shot Sunday night. No arrests had been made.

Arlington Public Works employees use The Big Sidewalk Sucker to lift a concrete panel from the sidewalk. The device saves the city some money and time to level ground below the concrete. (Arlington Public Works)
This thing sucks and helps repair sidewalks in Arlington

Public works crews can remove heavy concrete panels from sidewalks, so the ground underneath can be restored.

United Way of Snohomish County CEO Craig Chambers at their headquarters on Wednesday, June 29, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
New CEO expected to reinvigorate United Way of Snohomish County

The nonprofit lost staff and funding during the pandemic. Craig Chambers wants to turn things around.

New LGI Homes on Thursday, May 12, 2022 in Sultan, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Red-hot housing market cools, a bit, in Snohomish County

The amount of housing inventory is rising. Demand is slowing. Higher mortgage rates are a cause.

John McKeon stands in front of a mobile headquarters vehicle while discussing the funding needs of Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue on Wednesday, June 22, 2022, at the search and rescue headquarters in Snohomish, Washington. McKeon said a priority for the group is to find money for new covered parking for a number of vehicles that do not have a garage to be parked in. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue wants rescuing

They’re asking for nearly $1 million in federal recovery dollars, but funding has been hard to come by.

Snohomish County Prosecutor Adam Cornell at the Snohomish County Courthouse on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
How to answer Snohomish County’s basic crime questions? ‘Transparent data’

An initiative funded in part by Microsoft could reveal racial disparities, while creating an “apples to apples” database.

Most Read