+33 411 932 599

You may be dreaming of moving to France, or you may have already jumped off the cliff. For Phil and me, the move has been surprisingly easy, in large part due to the assistance of Renestance. The same is true for most of our friends here, many of whom also used Renestance to help with the transition.

When we arrived, we were overwhelmed with the beauty of our new city; the ancient streets, medieval buildings, music everywhere, and the vibrant energy of the place. Our attention was caught up with administrative requirements, attempts to get by with minimal French, and all the differences—large and small—between our old life in the U.S. and our new life here. The adjustment was exciting and fun, but it required effort.

Two years later, we have bought and renovated our “forever home.” We own a car and have become accustomed to driving in France. My French is good enough to get us around (but very far from fluent!), and Phil’s French is improving. We have made dozens of acquaintances and some close friends. We have traveled throughout France and several European countries, and we’ve made a few visits to see U.S. family and friends. And I’ve been thinking lately about how to explain life in France after the new wears off.

Our lives have taken on a happy rhythm. I get up, make coffee, and catch up on emails and administrative tasks in the morning before Phil gets up. We chat a while, and then the day becomes filled with French lessons (daily for me, twice weekly for Phil), errands, social activities, painting (Phil’s an artist), phone chats with family and friends, writing (me), and travel planning. I love to cook so spend some time most days on that. We host and attend dinner parties, enjoy a weekly coffee group with English speakers, attend cultural events (Montpellier offers everything: music, dance, theater, movies, opera, museums, and more). And if you read my personal blog (www.roaminretirement.com), you may have the sense that we are always on the go, doing something exciting every day. And on many days, that is true.

A recent trip to Marseille

But this is real life, not vacation. There are days when things don’t go well. There are misunderstandings and conflicts. There is bad weather (not much, and not very bad, but still). There are budgets to manage, things that break down (currently including our dishwasher, washing machine, and a funny smell in the shower). There are phone calls in French (the worst!). There is missing our loved ones far away.

So no, moving to France won’t solve your problems, make your life a permanent vacation, or feel wonderful every day. What it will do, or at least what it has done for us, is stimulate us to live each precious moment with awareness and gratitude. It’s created adventure in our lives and is helping keep us young through learning and new experiences. It’s expanded our world and our world view, increased our appreciation for diversity, and brought a whole new dimension to our lives. And we have developed an entirely new community of friends who, like us, have jumped off the cliff to pursue their dreams.

Life is short. Whatever your dream is, if you can, do it now!

Sandra Shroyer

In early 2022, Sandy Shroyer retired from her professional career. Her jobs have included cooking for hired ranch hands, serving as a community mental health center staff psychologist, performing various leadership roles in healthcare firms, managing a lot of highly successful sales executives, and selling technology and services to health systems and health plans. The best part of her career was people—those who became lifelong friends, those who irritated her into learning important lessons, and those who taught her things through their kindness and genius. Her superpower is connecting people, whether it’s professional networking, introducing friends who become friends with each other, or just figuring out who might like to know someone she knows. She tried never to miss an opportunity to have fun at work. Sandy and her husband traveled full-time in the United States during the pandemic, and they are spending their retirement in Montpellier, France.

All articles by: Sandra Shroyer

Pin It on Pinterest