Plan B Explained
Let it be said that there has always been a “Plan B” — any serious plan for life requires alternatives. It was pretty simple. We were driving along in the car and one of us expressed the thought that moving to France was just not the best idea for us after all. We came to this realization for many reasons not the least of which was managing my serious health issues. While we were confident from our experience this past summer that French healthcare was completely reliable and definitely much more affordable than in the U.S., expressing your needs and getting the required care can be a challenge if you are not entirely fluent. Aside from that, there’s a boatload of paperwork and bureaucracy to wade through before you can participate effortlessly and freely in the system. This would require a considerable amount of time and energy we perhaps might not readily possess.
In addition, many things have changed in the European Union in the past year and a half. If you have been following the news, you know this. With major immigration issues, economic uncertainties, and the rising popularity of right-wing political parties, the easy-going, welcoming, secure atmosphere of the EU is beginning to dissipate. These circumstances affect everyone’s daily life in these countries whether citizen or expat. We viewed it as becoming a challenge we did not particularly want to take on at this point in our lives.
Being immediately agreeable on the pursuit of Plan B, we began to sort out our stateside options which, honestly, took less than five minutes. After a quick mental tour of all 50 states taking into consideration climate, cost of living, and various opportunities, we settled on Oregon — a state we are both rather familiar with from several living as well as travel experiences. As authentic Californians, we are really westerners at heart which I’m sure also influenced our decision.
Our chosen destination is Eugene, home of the University of Oregon and the Oregon Ducks. With a population of about 160,000, it is Oregon’s second largest city. At one-sixth the size of our current city, it will provide us with the small town ambience and much slower pace of life we seek. Eugene is situated along the beautiful, meandering Willamette River surrounded by an abundance of parks and bike paths we look forward to enjoying. From our research we know that we will be able to accomplish one of our major goals — buying a turnkey home (an actual house — not a condo or townhouse… ahhh, four private walls) for cash and eliminating our mortgage as well as HOA fees. If we can’t control the cost of healthcare (as we could by going to France), at least we can control the cost of housing which will make a huge difference in our retirement budget giving us the ability to visit France any time we want. Even though Oregon is a small state, there will be plenty of opportunities to explore as Eugene’s central location allows one to travel easily from the mountains to the sea to the desert all at relatively short distances. Granted, it will be wet and cool compared to the Silicon Valley, but such would have been the case in our French location. So we’re slipping on our rain boots, popping open our umbrellas, and setting sail for the Beaver State known for its Douglas Firs, hazelnuts, chanterelle mushrooms, Chinook Salmon, Dungeness Crabs, Pinot Noir wines… and RAIN! At the end of this month, we will make our first exploratory journey to reacquaint ourselves with the area… reporting live on the blog from Eugene, of course!
There’s a reason we often call those hopes, aspirations, or ambitions we have dreams. Certainly all dreams don’t come true nor were they meant to. Sometimes they’re even more cherished when they remain illusions. And you can always dream new dreams. Growing up moving so much as I’ve mentioned before, my mom taught me that old adage, “Home is where you hang your hat.” I have lived by that my whole life. I’m an expert at making anyplace home instantly even when we are only there for a few days. As long as we are together, I know we can follow our dreams in Eugene and make it our new home.
So, as it turns out, it’s a good thing we named this blog Paris and Beyond since “beyond” can represent anywhere. France will always remain our favorite vacation destination and you never know, maybe someday due to the wisdom of our choices we will truly be able to say, “My other house is in France.” Meanwhile, we are definitely looking forward to new discoveries and adventures on the road to this next stage of our lives just 566 miles away. We will keep you posted with all the details. Please stay tuned!!