We Moved To France: Mistakes To Avoid When Chasing Your Dream 

By  Annie André

**Boring Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something, I might earn  "une petite" commission (which helps me buy more croissants) at no additional cost to you. Merci for your support**

chasing the impossible dream we moved to France

If you’ve decided it’s time to chase that elusive dream of moving abroad congratulations. Oh and good luck too. It won’t be easy going against the grain. Here are 5 mistakes you should avoid when chasing that dream you once thought impossible to achieve.


Achieving a dream means not listening to that voice in your head telling you it’s impossible. If we all listened to that voice than nothing great would ever be achieved. People used to think the four-minute mile was impossible and at one point no one ever imagined a big hunk of metal could ever fly and carry passengers.

My dream, although not as grand and earth-shattering has been to live in France.

That dream fizzled after college when my career started to take off then I had children and I thought for sure it would never, could never happen. It just seemed so impractical, unrealistic and foolhardy.

When we finally decided to move to France, it didn’t seem like the most optimal time. But I thought the same thing when I had kids. You’re never really ready but you rise to the occasion, make do and make it work.

During the process of figuring out how to move to France, we learned a lot and made heaps of mistakes like not doing more research on finding the right city in France to move.  But many other mistakes were more psychological. Here are some tips to help you get into that positive mindset because it’s so easy to make the mistake of listening to that voice in your head that tells you, it’s impossible.

Update: we have been living in France since October 5th, 2011

1) Don’t assume it will be easy: Be prepared to work hard

I knew it would be hard moving abroad to France but I had no idea in what way. What’s that old saying? You don’t know what you don’t know?  Immigration and visa laws can be extremely complicated and bureaucracy is really a drag.

Despite all the hurdles and obstacles, we never let them stop us. They might have slowed us down but we just kept going for it.

2) You don’t have to wait until retirement unless you want to

Don’t fall into that trap of believing you have to wait until retirement to move abroad. There is nothing wrong with waiting but if you want to move abroad before then, just go for it.

3) Safety is an illusion

Don’t put off your hopes or dreams because you’re afraid of losing your safe comfortable life. It’s riskier to NOT go after your dreams because you risk your happiness.

I lived the life I thought I was supposed to live. College, career track, marriage, kids, 2 car garage and the burbs. I made all the safe and practical decisions I was supposed to make. We thought we were safe but we still ended up unemployed and in a very dicey situation.

4) Don’t try to get approval from others

I once knew someone who wanted to join the circus with his wife. I thought they were crazy for wanting such a frivolous thing. What annoyed me the most was they were not moved or swayed by any of the negativity or disapproval. They pursued their dream despite it.

Be prepared to deal with naysayers and don’t let them get you down or sway you. It’s your life and your dream. You have to do what makes you happy.

See also- How to deal with naysayers and tell you friends and family you want to move or live abroad

5) Don’t give up

Your dream is counting on you so don’t give up. It feels better to have tried and failed than to have not tried at all. It won’t be easy but it will be worth it. Just remember “Winners never quit and quitters never win”


The year prior to moving to France, we lived like semi-nomadic vagabonds and stayed with family and friends, some old and a few new. I want to thank them. Thank you for opening your home to us. Thank you for your hospitality. Thank you for your generosity and kindness.

Thank you, Chambers, Elders, my aunt Huguette Andre, Rolfe / Levac, Elders / Shupp, Dickinson’s and Couchsurfing hosts.

It made for an interesting year and we loved staying with each and every one of you. Now pack your bags and get over here and stay with us. We have Brie and red wine waiting for you. And there is an always a great Bistro around the corner from us.

  1. Hi Annie.
    I am a French native and I have been living in the USA for the past 33 years. I have both passports and both nationalities and I am completely bilingual. I was wondering if you would advise that I TRY moving to France and trying to find employment. I am 48 yrs old and I would be moving alone. Any suggestions?


    1. Hello, I wish I could answer this question for you unfortunately I am not qualified to answer that. You certainly do have an advantage over other people in that you will be legally able to work since you hold dual citizenship. I think the best thing to do is look online or contact companies in France directly and take it from there..
      Good Luck to you.

  2. Greetings Annie,
    I am beginning to prepare for a year in Provence with my children. One of many questions i have is what to do about a car? Is it possible to buy a used car for a year, then resell? Then I assume I will need insurance and to register the car. I see you can lease a new car, but it is still a little expensive for me. Can you advise?
    We are very excited for this great adventure.

    1. Hello Margery,
      Yes, it is possible to buy a car and resell it just as you would in the US or Canada. There are used car places where you can buy cars and you could talk to the owner of the used car place and ask them if they would rebuy it after a year. I would advise you to wait until you arrive to start searching. It will be much to hard to handle this from afar.

      The alternative is you can go to http://www.leboncoin.com. It’s the equivalent of craigslist int he us or online classifieds. Here is a link to some used cars i found.

      As far as your liccense. You will have to probably give up your license to recieve a local one. or… you may be able to just use your license while you are here since you are only staying for a year. It depends on the area where you go.

      The first thing i would do if i were you is to go to your local “Mairie”. If you don’t know what that is, it’s like a city hall or town hall. They will always be able to tell you what to do next. Be prepared for them not to speak any english though…

      Hope that helps. Just a little.

  3. Hi Annie! I found your blog today so it’s my first comment. :) I’ve lived as a resident in 4 different countries and they were great experiences. But now I’m back home and I feel like going abroad again…back then it was not my choice to leave home (I had to do it for different reasons, e.g. parent separation, moving to parents’ home countries, and further studies). But this time I want to do it because I want to and not because I have to. I like the idea of a single-life adventure at a new place. But I don’t know if I should try out a place that I have already been to or a place that I have never been. I feel that in your case where you had your family with you, at certain times I’m sure they were a strong support group. When I went to study abroad as a university student, I was all alone and some days I felt like giving up because I didn’t have that support. But at the end of the day, it was an awesome experience. Possibly one of the very best in my life. I’ll be reading your blog often, I can relate to it. I’ve just embarked on a very odd and scary career adventure recently (I quit my day job).

    1. Sabrina,
      Thank you for stopping by, and thank you for sharing your story.
      I can relate to your feelings Sabrina. Living abroad as a child myself and studying abroad as well. I agree that moving abroad on your own is scary.. and lonely. There are so many different set of challenges of moving abroad. But you have one thing in your favor now. Experience. You know what it is like. You can prepare better for the next time. YOu can really maximize the benefits for your next trip abroad.

      But now it sounds like you’ve embarked on a scary adventure having quit your job.
      I have a funny feeling it’s only the beginning of many changes to come. Can’t wait to hear more.

  4. Hey Annie,

    I approve of your choice of location ;-) nice move!! Have you moved to the South of France for good?

    We love the South of France & live between the UK and Antibes (generallly dicatated by school holidays ;-))

    I’m a first tiime visitor to your blog & wanted to leave a comment to say congratulations on a great blog.

    take care & keep up the great work!

    1. Alan,
      Thank you for stopping by.
      Antibes is lovely. It sounds like you have a great life living between the UK and Antibes. I’ve been there once a few years ago and looked into staying there but couldn’t find many rentals that were furnished.

      We are not sure if we will stay here in France longer than one year. It depends on a lot of things. The kids, work, money etc. I of course want to stay here. Probably not stay In Marseille. But maybe move to another town near water. We love the ocean and water.

  5. This is amazing! I’m really happy living your dream worked out for you and the family. It is truly inspiring to see you acting out what we talked about some month ago. Few people take that kind of action.

    Same timezone, no ocean between us – we could actually get our two families to meet.

    Looking forward to your upcoming articles! We plan to start our adventure by spending 3 month away from home next summer – lets see where that takes us.

    1. Philipp,
      You said it, no ocean, no time zone. There is no excuse. how far is it from me to you? Can i take the train from marseille to visit your city? I’m just trying to get a bearing on where it is and maybe plan a short visit.

  6. I really am glad you shared this with people. I’m feeling similarly challenged these days and your words are inspirational for me. If I’m in your area, I will definitely stop by for a chat with some red wine.
    Best wishes and blessings.

    1. Hi Dennis,
      i’ll keep a bottle chilled for when you arrive. Over the course of the last year, i’ve come in contact with a lot of people who feel similarly challenged. You (we) are not alone. ps the weather is gorgeous here albeit it’s a bit windy because we are nearing winter months. so come on down.

  7. Hi Annie,
    It´s so wonderful to see that you are super happy in France and that you now have the time again to share all that wonderful adventures with us!

    Very well said: “Don’t put off your hopes or dreams because you are afraid of losing your safe comfortable life.” I´m really inspired by your strength and your commitment to make this great adventure happen with 3 kids and after such a long struggle of getting the visa!

    Thumbs up!!!

    1. Thank you ursula,
      Dreams are important. It’s a sad thing when you look back on your life and have no fond memories because you were afraid to do anything. :( But you don’t have to worry about that.

  8. So that’s where you’ve been. Off moving to France! Okay, you are forgiven for vanishing on us like that. I would have thought you would blog about your journey but that’s still on it’s way. I can’t wait to real all about it.

    Well, my life changed drastically when I was in my mid 20’s. I was actually suppose to get married and I thought I would have two kids, the house and life would be great. That didn’t happen and neither did the marriage.

    So my life took a different turn and had it not, I wouldn’t be where I am today. So I learned early on that you don’t have to settle with what you believe is the norm.

    I hate all of this happened to you but because it did, you are now living your dream. I do believe things happen for a reason although at the time we can’t see how anything good can come from them. Just glad it did for you and your family Annie.

    Thanks for sharing this with us and I’ll look forward to your other posts.

    1. Adrienne,
      I’m so glad i am forgiven. It was so hard for me to go AWOL. But i felt so divided between the kids, moving, visas and getting set up somethign had to go. I knew could always blog about it after the fact.

      I had to make this dream happen and then i can talk about it. Now atleast i feel i can walk the walk and talk the talk. I wish i could have blogged about it as it happened but i’m not that good at organizing my time yet. But I’m getting there.

      I’m so glad you havn’t forgotten about me. You have such an energy about you and i can’t wait to catch up… )

  9. Fantastique! As a married father of two boys myself, I am looking forward to reading more about your adventures, and more importantly, the lessons you learned along the way. And yes, big dreams are to be had!

  10. Sister from another mother! Thanks for the update. Still seems like yesterday you made that video showing your home on the road. Now you’re in France!

    Are your kids in school? That’s funny your eldest has a gf already! A ladies man for sure.

    So how are you spending most of your time now? How is the weather?

    If Eleanor and I make it to the south of France, I’ll let you know for sure.

    1. Hey brother from another mother. (that never gets old).
      Yes the kids are in school. i spent the first month setting it all up for them. it was a lot of work but i’m finally kid free most of the day so i can focus on work and getting busy. sound familiar?

      You better come out here. There is another blogger who lives out here and you and Eleanor should def come out and hang out. Please stay with us too. i’m serious. it would be fun.
      Most days i work a few hours on blog (as of last week) sight seeing 3 days a week. The rest of the time just doing normal stuff. you know, like a local.

    1. Ameena,
      HELL YEAH! we should meet. Sorry i got carried away. How long does it take by train to go to you? I may come with my hubby. i’m assuming you and John like wine right. If so we already have so much in common.

  11. Safety is an illusion, an evasive illusion. I’m so happy for you and your family. The south of France sounds wonderful. I say Meg and I are going to have to meet up with you all very soon!

Comments are closed.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

We Should Be Friends

__CONFIG_colors_palette__{"active_palette":0,"config":{"colors":{"9b988":{"name":"Main accent","parent":-1},"5b927":{"name":"Accent Light","parent":"9b988","lock":{"lightness":1,"saturation":1}}},"gradients":[]},"palettes":[{"name":"Default","value":{"colors":{"9b988":{"val":"var(--tcb-skin-color-0)"},"5b927":{"val":"rgb(241, 245, 248)","hsl_parent_dependency":{"h":209,"l":0.96,"s":0.33}}},"gradients":[]},"original":{"colors":{"9b988":{"val":"rgb(47, 138, 229)","hsl":{"h":210,"s":0.77,"l":0.54,"a":1}},"5b927":{"val":"rgb(243, 246, 249)","hsl_parent_dependency":{"h":209,"s":0.33,"l":0.96,"a":1}}},"gradients":[]}}]}__CONFIG_colors_palette__
__CONFIG_colors_palette__{"active_palette":0,"config":{"colors":{"3e1f8":{"name":"Main Accent","parent":-1}},"gradients":[]},"palettes":[{"name":"Default Palette","value":{"colors":{"3e1f8":{"val":"var(--tcb-local-color-9b988)","hsl":{"h":210,"s":0.78,"l":0.01,"a":1}}},"gradients":[]},"original":{"colors":{"3e1f8":{"val":"rgb(19, 114, 211)","hsl":{"h":210,"s":0.83,"l":0.45}}},"gradients":[]}}]}__CONFIG_colors_palette__
Sign Up