How long have you been thinking about this trip? So... what's stopping you?
I'm busy! The planning process is daunting.
You don’t do it all in one night. One little thing at a time. Start by Defining the Dream.
Okay, I'll admit it. I'm actually a little bit scared.
Make list of your fears and what you can do to prepare yourself. Take reasonable precautions, and then go for it. Don't make decisions based in fear.
What if someone gets sick? What if we need major medical care?
- See your doctor before you go:
- Get a clean bill of health and copies of your vaccine reports
- Get extensions on prescriptions, get any necessary vaccines
- Explain your trip. Ask if there is a way to contact their office via email while you are abroad.
- Research the medical care system in the new country. Locate nearest doctors and hospitals.
- Look into Travel/Medical/Evacuation Insurance.
I don’t speak the language.
Yes! So scary! And embarrassing! But it won’t kill you. Start learning the language now. Take lessons when you arrive. Be kind, be respectful and draw pictures. It’s all part of the adventure.
I’m afraid I’ll feel lonely or isolated.
Before you go: Put the word out to friends and family – someone knows someone who has lived in France. Email them. Follow up with them. Learn from them, meet with them if possible.
Connect with the expat community. It’s easy enough to do by taking language courses or English-language enrichment classes. Expats can provide a wealth of wisdom and comfort to the newly arrived.
Make friends with the locals. It’s wonderfully enriching to have friends from other cultures. And it’s nice to know you have a local to call if you need help.
I’m not sure what to do with myself for 2-3 months.
This should be the least of your problems! Take language lessons, art classes or cooking classes. Learn a new skill or volunteer. Go hiking or shopping. Read a book, write a book, start a business or reinvent yourself. Just GO.