On our way back…
Today, in conjunction with the 101st Tour de France Grand Départ, we are launching our next adventure through France.
One of the goals of our 2012 Tour de France was to become familiar with many regions of France — the real France outside of Paris. As the French say, there is Paris and then there’s the rest of France — Paris is not France. Our 7-week experience proved this to be delightfully true and you can read all about it starting with our first blog post “Getting the Adventure Rolling“.
Another goal of our trip was to decide how well our fantasy of retiring in France fit with our reality. We have had this idea in mind for most of the 20 years we have been together. So what did we decide? At the end of any long trip, no matter how well-planned, one is usually pretty tired and ready to return home. It’s not a good time to make any life-changing decisions. At that moment, our conclusion was that we weren’t ready to commit to spending our retirement in France. You can read more about our self-reflection in Norman’s post “Looking into the Mirror“. However, as retirement draws near and becomes more concrete, we have begun to revisit this idea. This year, after considering several factors, the idea has taken life once again and this time, much more seriously. Our reality is that housing and healthcare alone will make a rather large dent in my anticipated retirement. Residing in one of the most expensive areas in the United States as we do, makes the possibility of greatly reducing our cost of living by moving to another country, even France, quite real.
So, for starters, over the next two summers we’re planning two extensive expeditions to the areas in France we think would be the most compatible for us. Based on our previous travels and much research, we have decided to return to Western France — specifically the region of Aquitaine with its renown cities of Bordeaux and Périgueux and slightly north into the region of Poitou-Charentes with its famous cities of Angoulême and Cognac. Two important factors in these choices… The climate in these locations is similar to that of our own here in the U.S. though somewhat wetter and cooler. There is a wide variety of available housing in a price range that fits our budget. Our plan is to experience both city and country living in various locations from a resident’s rather than a tourist’s point of view.
That said, we’re on our way back to France on June 12, 2015. If you’ve ever thought about moving to another country, or simply enjoy the experience of traveling vicariously, we invite you to join us and come along for the ride. Over the next year, our weekly posts will cover topics such as things to consider before you decide where you want to live, what it takes to become an expat, and learning the local language as well as French food, fashion, and culture. Check out Tour 2015 to discover our destinations where you will be able to follow us daily once D(eparture)-day arrives.