Want to Live Abroad? Learn to Let Go!

Want to Live Abroad? Learn How to “Let Go” 

4 things you’ll be sure to have on your mind before your go

move to France
photo: Yetunde Oshodi


When people say to me: “you’re so brave to move to France alone;” or “how could you venture off to a ‘foreign” country where you know no one;” or “how do you manage not speaking the language,” I’ve had to search for a way to describe how it happened.

As simply as possible, I say, I learned how to “let go.”

There are lots of things in life that tie you down. Raising children. Caring for an aging parent or a dependent family member. Poor physical health. A job. Not “enough” money. Those are all real issues that affect all of us at some time in our lives and any one of them makes it difficult for us to let go.

For me those constraints were behind me. My boys were raised, my parents were deceased, I was divorced and I was retired. As for “enough” money. I had to figure that one out. Really? What is “enough?”

1) Ask Yourself What’s “enough?”

Move to France

Determining how much money I needed, how much space I wanted, and exactly where I was going to live were vital to know. When I discovered that I could live in France in a lovely place and space, and that I could live for less than in the US – and better — I let go of “will I have enough.”

2)Determine how to deal with too much “stuff”

move to France

Once I decided I could live abroad, I had to deal with my “stuff.” Believe me, I had a lot of stuff from 40 years of housekeeping and from being a compulsive buyer and collector.

It should have been harder but it was pretty easy to get rid of things after I’d made up my mind. I knew I didn’t want the hassle of moving things to France so I imposed on my son, and some very good friends, and we held an estate sale. In two weekends everything I owned was gone — except for a few small items now in storage in South Carolina. Interestingly, most of those bits and pieces belonged to my mother..

3) Saying “goodbye” to family and friends

If you think moving abroad means you’ll never see your family and friends again, you won’t go. From experience I can tell you. You will keep in touch with those who mean the most to you. In fact, living abroad, you’ll be surprised how much family and how many friends you have. I’ve entertained and enjoyed guests I haven’t seen or heard from in 50 years. They’ve come to visit me in France. Others stay in touch through social media, telephone, email and FaceTime. We’re probably more connected now than ever before.

The best news about friends is that you make more -– from all over the world.

Grandchildren are another matter. My adorable grandbabies didn’t exist when I left for France. My son and daughter-in-law blessed me with a grandson three years ago and a granddaughter last year. Those two pull my heartstrings. Every week, or more often, we talk on Facetime. It’s because of them that I visits back to the US. They’re growing so fast and I don’t want to miss their childhood. So I plan, I budget, and I promise myself I’ll see them twice a year in person.

4) One step at a time 

move to France

For me, “letting go” meant I had to have a goal. I had to sit down with myself and face my fears. What was holding me back? Once I acknowledged the obstacles, I worked on them, one by one. Visa? Apartment rental in France? French bank accounts? Everything fell in place. Just by letting go and taking one step at a time. You can do it.


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move to France
photo: Yetunde Oshodi

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  1. You are such an inspiration to me! I’ve been to the south of France several times and each time I feel more comfortable and in love with everything about it. As much as I love Paris, I think the south has the relaxed vibe that will suit my husband and I more as we age. We were just in Hawaii for the umpteenth time over Christmas. In my heart, I truly believed that was where I thought we would retire. For some reason however, I don’t feel that way anymore. As magical as the tropics of Hawaii are, all I could think of was how much I wish I could just walk to a cafe for a good coffee and and pastries. Or just walk to soak up the history of the area. I couldn’t do that where we were in Hawaii. Anyways…. sorry to ramble on. I can’t wait to read your next blog entry. I’m living vicariously through you as I’m sure many of your readers are. Please take care !!

    1. Cook'n With Class says:

      Thank you for leaving a comment Meg. I will be sure to let Deborahs know she has a fan in Hawaii. Aloha!

    2. Meg. I’m so flattered and happy you enjoy the blog. It’s meant to help spur us on to making life choices that we may have thought impossible. Choosing between Hawaii and the South of France is about as varied as you could go! You’re absolutely right. If you dream of a laidback lifestyle with cafes, charming architecture and history, France is it. Best wishes as you move towards your goal. Please stay in touch and share how it’s going. Best wishes!

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