I don’t consider myself a “planner” and certainly don’t make plans like Kelley does, but I do believe: if you want something, you’ve gotta plan for it.
Kelley and I have been “dreaming” of living abroad for 20 years (pre-dating our marriage). The biggest enabler of our move: Kel and I work on the internet. If we have an internet connection, we can work. I started this with ADP in 1998, Kel later with University of Phoenix and then Disney. With Disney, both of us applied to help open Disneyland Paris. When we decided to leave Minnesota, we did discuss a move abroad. I applied for global positions with ADP. For some time, Kel has had the green light to work overseas; the last work piece of the puzzle was my joining Jeitosa Group International, a global HR consulting firm. Last December, I brought up that we wanted to move abroad and got the green light. Work: check!
Ok, your can move anywhere, but where should we go? Europe made the best sense; the UK would be easy language-wise, but then Chili couldn’t go (he’d have to be quarantined for 6 months). We discussed jumping between three countries, but this quickly became too much. What’s central and dog friendly? Bonjour! Location: check!
Renting our house was also required to enable the move. We spoke to acquaintances who had rented, realtors that we know, figured out a rent amount, posted the house on Sabbatical Homes and Craigslist, and constantly reminded ourselves “we only need one, we only need one, we only need one”. We were open on rent and furnished/non-furnished. Our beautiful house made this happen in less than two months. In the end, the economy didn’t factor in our specific situation, but in most cases, I would imagine that it would. Rent the house: check!
The kids need to go to school, but where? We considered home schooling, Middleton’s 21st Century School, but really wanted the kids to have a distinct experience. There are many American schools in Paris, but why go to Paris and have the same experience as Wisconsin? (That, and American schools are super-freaking expensive). How about bi-lingual schools? We found EABJM, fell in love with it, filled out lots of paperwork, asked a lot of teachers and friends to write letters of recommendation, and thank God, got in. School: check!
There are plenty of living spaces available in Paris. Finding the right one, not as easy. It helps to know what you want (3 bedrooms, for example). We used a couple of apartment search vendors, reviewed hundreds of spaces, but in the end found our home on Craigslist (no vendor fee!). We immediately loved our house and quickly made arrangements. It’s highly likely that, once in Paris, we’ll move into the city. Finding a place to live in Paris: check!
Packing had it’s own planning process. When I took everything off the walls, I thought there was no way we could avoid a Pod (or three). We rented the home furnished and thankfully, I noticed the trap door above the garage. We also donated a lot of things. Packing: check!
Those were the “big rocks”; future posts: banking & cell phone.
PS. Tom’s next plan: sailing/sailboat ownership/living on a sailboat. The name of the sailboat, Calpurnia’s Love, pre-dates our marriage.