Doubts about moving abroad? How we overcame our fears & moved to France

The impossible dream of moving abroad. Mistakes to avoid because your dream is counting on you.

Doubt about moving abroad? Read This!
Doubt about moving abroad? Read This!

Move abroad? I can’t do that, or can I? Here’s how we finally took the plunge and moved to France after letting go of fear and limiting beliefs. See if you recognize any of these.

We Moved To France With Our Children! No Regrets Except

Every year, millions of people dream of moving to another country, backpacking through Europe or spending a gap year abroad but never do anything about it. 

For years, my husband and I were in the same boat. We discussed how great it would be to move to France for a year with the kids, always ending the conversation with, “yeah, but we have careers, we can’t afford it; what about the cars and all of our stuff in our house?

And that would be that, end of the conversation.

Then in 2011, we did it.

We moved to France with our three children. Only instead of meticulously planning our move for years, waiting for the perfect moment, we did it under the strangest circumstances.

Losing our jobs was the incentive we needed to move abroad:

After we lost our jobs and endured long-term unemployment, we cut our losses and put our stuff in storage, fled the high cost of living in California and moved in with my aunt in Montreal while we looked for new jobs so we could start fresh on the East Coast. 

Six months after we moved, we decided, out of the blue, to do it. 

We applied for the French long-stay visa, looked for a furnished apartment to rent in France, and six months later, we landed at the Charles de Gaule airport, caught a connecting flight to Marseille and started our new life in France on October 6, 2011. 

Marseille just a few days after we arrived to live in France back in 2011
Photo of the kids, one week after arriving in France.

The limiting beliefs that stop you from moving abroad

Looking back, I still find it hard to believe we made the life in France when we did under some pretty stressful circumstances. My only regret is waiting so long to move to France.

 It goes to show you the power of fear and limiting beliefs that are deeply rooted in our subconscious. 

Do you recognize any of these?

1) I can’t afford to move abroad.

Money is s a legitimate concern. Maybe you really can’t afford to move abroad…

Or, maybe what you’re really saying is, “I can’t afford to live abroad and have the lifestyle I want.” 

To make our move abroad a reality, we didn’t live in a lavish apartment in Paris. Who wouldn’t want that? We had to settle for an apartment in Marseille that was a little beat up. 

2) It’s not the right time, or I can’t do it now because…

There’s never a perfect time. 

In a perfect world, you can pick the ideal time to move abroad, save plenty of money, and find the perfect high vaulted ceiling apartment to rent. The reality is, there rarely is a perfect time.

It’s kind of like having kids. You’re never really ready until you do it, but you rise to the occasion and make it work.

3) 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’re going to move overseas and you can financially sooner rather than later, go for it. As we get older, there are certain things we can’t do physically anymore. So why wait? 

4) Safety is an illusion

I hate saying this because it sounds a bit cliché and corny, but 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, two-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.

5) Don’t try to get approval from others

Naysayers are everywhere. 

I once knew someone who wanted to join the circus with his wife. I thought they were crazy. What annoyed me the most was they didn’t give a crap about what anyone thought. Jokes on me because they weren’t put off by negativity or disapproval. They pursued their dream despite it.

Our family has had to deal with guilt trips & negative comments about moving abroad with our three children.

So be prepared to deal with soul-sucking negative energy vampires who disguise their negativity as constructive criticism. It’s your life and your dream. You have to do what makes you happy.

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

On the other end of the spectrum is believing life will be this picture-perfect dream. 

Moving to another country is fantastic, but many aspects of moving abroad are challenging. 

The worst part about it is you can’t prepare for everything because you don’t know what you don’t know.

You might have all your Immigration and visa papers in order until you show up at the consulate and they tell you that you need something not previously listed.

Or maybe you move to the perfect city, but when you get there, you realize everything you read painted a pretty picture rather than reality. 

7) 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.

Winners never quit, and quitters never win.”

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Annie André

Annie André

About the author

I'm Annie André, a bilingual North American with Thai and French Canadian roots. I've lived in France since 2011. When I'm not eating cheese, drinking wine or hanging out with my husband and children, I write articles on my personal blog for intellectually curious people interested in all things France: Life in France, travel to France, French culture, French language, travel and more.


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