Why We Decided To Leave California: Before we moved to France

Why we left California: before we decided to move to France

Why would anyone leave life as they know it behind in order to start over somewhere else?  We all have our reasons for the things we do. Here are some of ours that eventually lead up to our decision to move to France.

Back story

The decision to leave California was slow in the making and quick in the coming. What does that mean? Annie and I, both with East Coast roots, had been talking about moving East for several years. Recent vacations had been to Montreal, Quebec City, Washington D.C, and Annapolis.

Meanwhile, every now and then we’d read in Outside Magazine or some similar publication, an annual article about “The  Best Places to Live.” Here are a few recent examples:



As I noted in my previous post about lifestyle design, California no longer appealed to us. So the seeds for change were there, but they had not yet started to grow.

The Catalyst To Leave California

Then, in the Fall of 2007, the company where Annie and I were working had a lay-off.

The lay-off package was very generous. With a bit of frugal living, we had about a year’s cushion of money. Using COBRA we continued our family health insurance through Blue Shield.  We used the time to travel, including an extended vacation to Paris and Edinburgh.

The Decision

We worked on projects that we never had time to before.  Annie began to prototype some ideas for her business, and she was now able to formally launch it. The result was Le Neko Noir (www.lenekonoir.com – Cute life inspired handmade sleeping masks.).

With this, Annie decided she never wanted to go back to working for someone else. She wanted to run her own home based craft business, and also be at home for our three kids. I fully supported Annie’s decision, but it meant the loss of a six figure income.

So what happened?

Time Off Gives You A Chance At New Perspectives

The year off clarified a few things for us. We liked having our time for us, and not for some other company. If possible, we did not want to work for someone else. We liked to travel. We liked hanging out together. We wanted to continue to live this way. This meant moving. But,

we had to decided where we wanted to move.


We were opening Pandora’s Box, and it was going to be fun, hard, crazy, and rewarding.