By Melissa

I’ve always wanted to live in a foreign country, not just visit, but live and feel the experience of being a local in a place I initially felt anything but. I know that I get this from my parents who met in Naples and had me in the Phillipines.  Ironically, we traveled little throughout my childhood but they spoke of the world with tremendous joy and made it clear that the world was there to be lived in and explored.

David’s parents also loved to travel and passed it on to him but, initially, he was less keen on actually living in a foreign country. I think this was partially, if not entirely, driven by how half-baked my ideas were: “Let’s buy a farm in Normandy” or “let’s run a bed and breakfast in Tuscany” were greeted with “we don’t know how to farm” and “you always complain when you have to get up early”.

Despite not being on the same page about our future plans, we did agree that traveling was one of our favorite things.  We’ve chipped away at the world, or well, Europe, traveling around France, Italy, Spain and parts of Greece.  It was at the end of our trip to Greece, lamenting our need to return back home and to our normal lives when David finally said, “OK, I guess I could do it.  I could live in Paris for a year and use it as a base camp.”  Now, I should make something clear.  We weren’t imminently moving to Paris.  These were retirement plans and we aren’t anywhere near retirement age.

I found this last little detail totally irrelevant and immersed myself in researching and finding our perfect Paris apartment.  This was hard work and a couple of things tripped me up:

  1. Paris is expensive.
  2. We don’t know it well enough to know where our perfect home base would be.
  3. As an American, it is difficult if not impossible (at least it was for me) to find anyone willing to sign a year lease. Most of the leases are month to month.

It’s that last little factoid (or at least the first and the last) that made us rethink our strategy.  If we have to rent month to month anyway, does it really make sense to create a base camp, which will sit empty much of the time, in one of the most expensive places in the world?  Perhaps not. Thus, a new strategy emerged. Why don’t we rent in Paris for a few months and also rent in other places which may be even more affordable for a few months as well?  We both liked this plan way better. The question was… What other places?  (To be continued…)