Welcome fellow and future French expats, world travellers and curious armchair travellers.
- Are you dying to escape the rat race and move to France for one year or more and experience the trip of a lifetime?
- Do you wonder how you will ever be able to afford to make your French family sabbatical dream a reality?
- Are you curious about what it would be like to live in France from the perspective of someone who is NOT French
- Or do you simply enjoy travel advice and quirky travel stories like the day we found dog poop on our doorstep, what we hate about France or why you need to pack Vaseline in your luggage.
Hello and welcome!
My Name Is Annie André and I created this site for you.
My goal is to empower and equip you with the courage and tools you need to achieve your French year abroad or French family sabbatical travel goals.
Whether you want to spend 6 months in Paris or 1 year in the south of France with the kids, here you’ll find an eclectic mix of practical advice, kick butt inspiration, interesting stories about living in France and more; all told from the perspective of someone who has been there and done that with a family and kids in tow.
I’m a cubicle escapee and seasoned world traveller turned French sabbatical advocate, MOM-preneur, hireable web content manager, chief storyteller / writer and founder of Practical Adventurology.
I’m also addicted to spicy food; Just thought you should know.
Why take a year off to live in France?
Taking time off from a busy life and stressful job can be life changing. Not only can it help give you a bit of perspective, it can also help reboot, revive and give you the time to re-connect with your spouse, kids and family. Taking time off can also give you a chance to rebuild your life the way you want it to look rather than the way you think it is supposed to look.
How and what you do during your time off is unique to you. How we chose to do it was by combining our dream of living in France with our goals ( family, personal and professional goals).
In other words, a year in France can give you a chance to do all the things you put off because you were too busy to do them while running on the treadmill of life. Imagine having one full year to live in France while finally having the time to write that book, learn French, become a yoga instructor, teach English, learn a new skill or anything else you can think up.
WHY JUST ONE YEAR?
Lets face it, although moving to France might be THE DREAM, it’s not always possible to completely abandon your life back home forever. There are road blocks to living in France FOREVER. Like the fact that if you are not a member of the EU, it is virtually impossible to find work unless you have a very specialized occupation. Or maybe you don’t want to leave all your friends and family behind. Whatever your reasons, 1 even 2 years in France is doable for almost anyone with a little bit of advice, courage and know how. I want to be that person to help you.
WHAT THIS SITE IS NOT ABOUT
This site is not about living in France PERMANENTLY for reasons I explained above. And although many of the articles about French life and culture will help you adjust to long term life in France, I do not write about how to find a job or how to move to France permanently mainly because I have no first hand experience but mostly because I want to stick to what I know best and that is to help people temporarily spend a year or more in France. Sometimes called a career break, life sabbatical, family sabbatical, gap year or year abroad.
How this site came to be!
My husband Blake Elder and I escaped our cubicles, packed up our 3 kids and left our California lives behind with the goal of living in France for a year to give each of us, kids included a chance to do something unique and special. Write a book, experience French culture, broaden our horizons, raise bilingual children, get in shape and more. You get the picture!
It was during the research and planning stages of our French family sabbatical that I realized that there just wasn’t a lot of practical AND organized information out there for people like me.
Sure there were lots of backpacking sites for the young and care free but I had a family, a career, a house, a lifetime of possessions and all that other stuff that comes from living a conventional life.
That’s when I realized that if I had trouble figuring it all out that other people might too.
I decided to make it my mission to share my research and 20 + years of adult travel experience, resources and connections to create the site I wish existed when I was researching our own adventure.
Voila this site was born.
My greatest hope is that this site will not only show people it is possible to spend a year abroad or to travel more and for longer periods of time, but that it will act as a resource to help inspire and empower people to follow all their dreams whether it involves travelling or not.
Born To Be A World Citizen
People I meet always ask me where I am from and to that I always have a hard time answering because I was what you would call a “Third Culture Kid” aka “TCK”.
A term used to describe children who travel more than they spend in one home country, who probably identify with other cultures or multiple cultures vs just one.
I was Born in Thailand to a Thai mother and French Canadian father and raised in 3 countries.
Over the course of my life, I’ve travelled and or lived abroad as a child, a teenager, a young adult and now as a wife and mother of three in the south of France.
I have lived in places like Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, Taiwan, the United States, Canada and now France. I’ve also spent months at a time slow travelling the world, visiting places like Scotland, the Netherlands, Macau, Korea, Hong Kong, the Philippines to name a few. In total I’ve been to over 25 different countries so far.
How We Ended Up In France
Although living in France has always been a dream of ours (my husband and I), we never actually believed it was something we could achieve any time soon because we were tied to our jobs and life in California by golden handcuffs.
Then the economy took a turn and we BOTH got laid off from our jobs on the same day. After a long bout of unemployment, something clicked, (probably the sound of those golden handcuffs coming off).
That’s when we decided to take the road less travelled and do the unthinkable.
We decided to rebuild our lives the way we wanted it to look rather than the way society told us it’s supposed to look.
This entailed making plans to start fulfilling the dreams and goals we kept putting off. Living our lives to the fullest and creating sustainable incomes that supported our lives, our hearts and our family without selling our souls or sacrificing our financial future.
So we gathered up our three kids ( our then 2 teenage boys and 4 year old daughter), lived nomadically on the east coast with family for almost a year between Montreal and Maryland trying to figure out what our next steps were going to be.
Flash Forward A Few Years
We’ve been in France since 2011 and we’re enjoying all that France and Europe has to offer. But we’re not just site seeing, drinking wine and eating cheese. We’re making the most of our stay here and working our butts off accomplishing our other goals while the kids are immersed in French culture and attend public French school.
Blake has already finished his first novel. We’re both working on our freelance careers that enables us to be home with our kids and work from anywhere in the world.
Subscribe, Follow, Connect with Annie Andre
If any of what I said interests you than stick around. Sign up for exclusive emails updates
Please stay in touch. I would love to connect via social media or email. Or just leave a comment on one of the blog posts. I always respond.
- Email me at annie[at}annieandre.com or go to the contact page
- Follow me on twittter @AnnieAndreHacks,
- Friend me on www.facebook.com/annieandre
- Follow me on Pinterest www.pinterest.com/annieandre
Meet The Gang
If you want to read more about our story just sign up for email updates. I post occasional updates of what we are up to. Plus you can download my free packing checklist when you signup as a gift to you. Otherwise, start reading the Blog.
If you want to meet my wonderful hubby and three kids than come on over and Meet The Family.
- Travel + Self + Passion + Family + Money & Entrepreneurship –>Through “The POWER OF TIME OFF” to achieve your wildest dreams and happiest self.
If you want more personalized help, someone to talk to who can help you get UN-stuck and help you work out whatever challenges or mental mind blocks your facing than consider booking some one-on-one mentor and strategy sessions with me. .I’m here to help you. Sometimes the best help you can get is from someone who’s walked in your shoes before.