top of page

Fudging it abroad until you really make it!

Updated: May 9


The French dream eh? Looks different to every single person!

A wise traveller once told me that, you have to give it two whole, long and winding years before deciding anything rash once you move countries?

Don't even go home in that period, is the advice?




I'd also say that in my experience, where you land isn't always 'it' first time around and honestly, especially in my case, going back 'home' helped me realise what I missed here and was the key to unlocking my future in France. Love is love. The only downside is, that I miss my family. Not apologising for being entirely human here.

Only now, I can look back at the last few years and understand the positives to my bluffing it terribly in France. I had to figure it all out for myself. I did in the end.

Circumstances do change, ours did many times, so we adjusted our sails and sailed on in a different direction, not much choice sometimes. Work, Covid and Brexshit had a lot of say in how we did or didn't settle in the beginning. It is what it is and I'm a great believer in things happen for a reason.

I also feel strongly, that we must never pretend we are trees and unable to move, rooted in one place, no matter what! We can absolutely move. Don't like it and it's all making you and yours very unhappy, figure it out, move and find your happy again! Life is too short, to keep 'putting up' with something that's not working, maybe never will?

I think we all put a lot of pressure on ourselves to become French on arrival, scared to stand out, eager to fit in, even thinking about donning the French Beret, slinging that garlic string over the shoulder, whilst carrying several fresh baguettes home to quaff wine and eat a mountain of cheese....there's really no need. Chill! France is multi cultural country and well able to welcome many different cultures from all over the world. Just like anywhere in the world! You do have to learn to understand how France works in law and culture though and the only way to do that is to get stuck in.

The language? Just like many I'm in awe of my husband, trying to speak to a spikey tax inspector in French on the phone. Me?

Er...................... Qui........... Halo...........?!!?

Forget it!

Phone French is never gonna happen for me whilst I have him around to get it done, gives me hives it does. Oh and slow the f*ck down old lady, I hear French at the toddler stage! Arggghhhhh. 'Frustrated in France' is surely normal?

These days, post Brexshit, we can't slip and slide like we used to and we must play by their rules, simples. Why is that a bad thing? It isn't, it's just some entitled Brits missing the ability to live between two countries, how the stuff they like. Ah shame. I guess that's why many have sold up and gone home, because the new constraints don't suit them. Fine, you do you.

We are guests here in many ways, until we take the test and become French and 99% of us probably won't.

I had to remind myself lately, that when the French kindly speak English for us, it can rather sound less sexy than the movies portray and instead come across as a little overly aggressive? Actually, it's made and lost in translation and sometimes it doesn't translate very well. The French are also mostly more formal in business than we are, which many of us free sprits can struggle with. No need to start a war over it eh!

Look, it isn't about morphing into a French person and you so don't have to loose yourself or the love of your birth country entirely. I find it so frustrating when I hear people kicking off about someone bringing contraband, such as HP sauce and Baked Beans from home! So what? Who died and made you CEO of expat life! No one!

Darlings, please do continue to enjoy your life your way and do a little or a lot of what comforts you, you'll never hurt anyone doing just that. Deny yourself a bit of home and you'll feel so very, very homesick. Believe me I know, I experienced the worst homesickness of my life in Australia, I understand what it's like to pine for the familiar.

As for the perfect area? Getting it right first time could be an issue, as it was in our case. That's okay too! The journey certainly helped us understand where we fit? France is huge? Yes! So if one side doesn't suit you, maybe a different side will!

So despite everything, I'm super happy with what we've achieved in the last few years, nothing wasted. Hopping around wasn't easy, but it has confirmed what we want and what we don't.

Most folks give it a good go, they do and know there are many personal, financial and emotional rivers to navigate along the way. Real life follows us here folks, I can assure you of that much.

One doesn't fail if one tries, right?

Age, occupation and income are such a huge factors in deciding to stay or go. Making friends and bedding oneself in the community you choose, is also key to getting comfortable. That said, only fools rush in. Not everyone has your best interests at heart, remember that when you jump in feet first. Sadly it's true, I've experienced both sides but just like, when we deliver our children at the school gates for the first time, we eventually gravitate towards our tribe.

You will find your niche. Take your sweet time petal.

As most of you know, I've been super lucky (I have to convince myself of that often), to live in many other countries, Australia, Canada, the Middle East and Europe of course. I started my married life in Germany as a very young army wife and yes, I loved it. However, each country has thrown up new challenges and I knew they were not for me in the end. Nonetheless, I have enjoyed aspects of these experiences and learnt a lot about myself in the process.

Get the passport, do the travel, round yourself out.

I'm a huge supporter of promoting the 'real' in life and not the fake, edited social media version, I call it 'the warts and all approach'. It works for me. I can sleep at night knowing that I don't lie or dress issues up for an audience, I'd rather tell it like it is for me anyway, call a spade a spade and all that. People take from that what they want I guess? I personally then don't have to try too hard. I won't follow the rules of social media and slog it out for a buck, sorry. Why? Because it's a time stealer that's why and only a tiny percentage make it. I also utterly hate AI, as it's the biggest stealer of all time, it also steals real talent and real life and takes us further, into almost drowning in the fakery, that is online life these days. Do what you do for the enjoyment of it and give the time you really wish to give. Look up from the computer more often and smell the roses.

As most of you also know, I've had a rough time in the area we bought our French Wreck for whatever reason, no one cares, least of all me now, but it hurt enough at the time. We must not let others affect our dreams or journeys, we are living for us, not them. Mind your beeswax and let them mind theirs eh?

People will always try to influence your new life, but we must take the bits that suit and leave the rest behind? What works for one may not work for another and so on. Also there's a lot of competition in the EXPAT/migrant community in France, always has been, unless you were in at the beginning with Peter Mayle and his One Year in Provence?

We are not pioneers in the same way he was, still is even in death, except I guess we kind of are in the post Brexit era. Whose stupid idea was that nonsense eh? No, Peter's novel gave us the romance of rural provence, the dream, less is more and we will forever adore him for it. Time and world events have certainly changed France majorly since 1989, but we can still find our dream here don't you think?

Nevermind, It's all change now and we are all rolling with the post Brexshit punches best we can, especially the new Visa holders, bless em. It's a whole new France for us all in many ways and sometimes it can all feel a little unkind until we get used to it. We will get used to it all and chase our French dreams regardless.

The world was made to be wandered don't you think? It's only borders and politics that make it difficult.

Many of us are baffled by the tougher attitude towards banking, customs and tax for Brits in France? We do have to understand that the mega corportion that is Gross Britania, ruined it all for us and that special relationship needs time to be rebuilt, but I doubt it will ever feel as free. Aussies, South Africans and Canadians to name a few, have always had to have visa's, we are now no different and we must so get over it. Not being special anymore does suck for some I'm sure? Still, I've waited in line at immigration in other countries and I still think France is kinder.

Like anywhere on this planet, people can be super judgmental, less than understanding and often their 'jaded view' can rock your confidence in getting started, never mind making it work long term. Remember, it's your story, don't rip up one chapter of it, for people who wouldn't spit on you if you were on fire!

I'm still here with an online presence and that has made me an easy target in the past for some. The thing is, I'm pretty teflon coated to a degree and I can just reset and start again, it's my super power!

I have also learnt a lot of difficult lessons by not enforcing boundaries early on, especially with people working on the Wreck. Even when I've enforced boundaries, I was called all sorts and gossiped about on my own doorstep. Again, in the end it's more about them than me. Yes, I've had my fingers burnt here and it kept happening until I learnt to ignore it. I now return the favour with a single well placed finger sign!

So my advice to you if you should want it, is take it all very, very slowly, one day at a time. Remember, no one gets to mess with your French Dream!

Enjoy the ride!

Bon chance

D x

122 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page