How to Move to France Without Losing Your Mind

Bonjour à tous! As I’m trying to get some work done, my littles are yelling “mom look” every five seconds while sliding into the kiddie pool so I’ll try to keep my train of thought. Bare with me. So, the question of the day: how can I move to France without losing my mind? Hell, sometimes I wonder how I’ll make it through the day without losing my mind.

Whether you’ve been keeping up with us or not, I want to say hello! Maybe you’re interested in making a big move as well, or maybe you just want to watch as the craziness unfolds. Either way, bienvenue! Just a quick introduction in case you don’t know who we are.  We are a family of five, plus three cats and a newfie, and we are planning our escape. We are about a year out from our move to France. Right now, all is pretty calm other than the voice in my head screaming “you are broke as hell with no money in savings, what are you thinking?!” But yeah, calm and boring.

So, we have time, but we need to start working on saving money for passports. This is probably going to be one of the most expensive to-do items on our list. Carlos will need a new passport once he gets his US citizenship (he’s a permanent resident right now), I’ll need mine renewed, and all three kids will need new ones. Oh, and all four pets will need pet passports after they get microchipped. Luckily, it seems like those are just records from the vet. So, let’s do some math; $145 for a new adult passport, $110 for a renewal, $115 for each new child passport. That’s $640!!! We have our tax return chunk to pay for the actual visa, move and flight, but we need these before the end of the year just to be safe.

So now we have the issue of saving money while living paycheck to paycheck and paying back family that helped when we really needed it. We are determined to make it work, so we will. Nothing worth doing ever comes easy. Let us be your proof that anything is possible. I’ll keep you up to date on how everything is going, and soon I’ll have a mailing list so you never miss an update.

My biggest piece of advice so far for making such a big move is to break it into pieces. Oh, and make a binder. I love this part! Use dividers, section tabs, the whole nine yards. Looking at this plan as a whole is terrifying and overwhelming. Once you break it down piece by piece and look at each step separately it’s a little more approachable. Step one; pick where to move. Step two; decide when your goal moving date is. Step three; this is my least favorite step, and it will continue to come up through the next year; think about the costs. Step four; passports. That’s where we are at right now.

I hope we can motivate others and somehow keep our sanity. There are people and businesses dedicated to helping with this process if you can afford it. The Expat Agency Lyon is one that we plan on using for the specifics once we’re there, such as the bank account and the apartment. The price was less than we expected.

We’ll keep you updated as we take our next steps. We still have many to take; the remote job, (if this one won’t let him), the visas (this will be hell, but we’ll let you in on everything we learn,) the packing and selling, the traveling with kids and pets, the apartment hunt, and lots more. Raising kids is hard enough without moving across the world so wish us luck. If you’re crazy enough to think about making this leap too, we wish you luck right back. Bonne chance!

A bientôt!

Passport forms

The paperwork for our passports

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