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

chasing the impossible dream we moved to France

If you’ve decided it’s time to chase that elusive dream of moving abroad congratulations, and good luck. It won’t be easy going against the grain. Here are 5 mistakes you should try to 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. The four minute mile was impossible at one point and so was a flying airplane.

My dream although not as grand has been to live in France. That dream fizzled after college when my career started to take off and when my children were born. It just seemed so impractical, unrealistic and foolhardy. There were always reasons why it could never happen until finally one day my husband and I decided to go for it. It wasn’t the most optimal time almost like having kids. You’re never really ready but you make do and make it work.

Along the way we learned a lot and made heaps of mistakes which you can benefit from. Here are some tips I learned while chasing the impossible dream.

Update: we have been living in France now for 5 years

View Larger Map  << For Now We Live In Marseille France>> 

Since  October 5th 2011, me and my three children have been living in the south of France in a city called Marseille. Blake my husband, stayed behind to tie up some loose ends for a month but he is with us now.

1) Be prepared to work hard

You’re probably wondering how we did it. To that I say a lot of hard work, planning, preparation, sacrifice and time. We wanted to give up a few times and other times it just didn’t seem possible. Immigration and visa laws can be complicated and the bureaucracy is tiresome.

  • We didn’t have cushy jobs lined up.
  • We didn’t know anyone who could help us in France
  • We did it after being unemployed for several years living on our savings and cutting back on all our luxuries.

Despite all the hurdles and obstacles we continued forward with our goals. It was risky but it was worth it. I feel alive, I feel inspired, I feel like I can do more. Best of all I feel happy. Everyday is like one big adventure.

2) Don’t procrastinate

Don’t fall into that trap of believing you have to wait until retirement to live in the momentWhat I find annoying and interesting about our journey over the last few years is that when my husband and I had great jobs in silicon valley with a comfortable lifestyle. We just trotted along through our life in a ho hum manner.

Don’t get me wrong, life was good but it was somewhat ordinary. Back then, I measured myself based off of career success and money. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I find myself wondering why I just drifted through life day after day without trying to achieve more dreams and accomplishing more outside of my career? Why did it take something big ( 2 job losses and long term unemployment) to shake us awake from our life which we seemed to be sleepwalking through?

“No risk no reward”

I’m not sure why I (we) waited. Maybe living comfortably doesn’t inspire greatness. We’ve accomplished more during our time of hardship than we ever did when we were living a safe and comfortable life with great jobs.

3) Safety is an illusion

Don’t put off your hopes or dreams because you are 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 everyone 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 a great Bistro around the corner from us.

About the Author

Annie André Is a half Thai, half French Canadian/American freelance writer, digital marketer and author of THE LIVE IN FRANCE GUIDE: an expat travel and lifestyle blog featuring destination guides, inspiration, travel tips, personal advice and anecdotes on working, living and playing in France. ( Equal parts weird, wacky and wonderful).

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