So what now? Where are we and where are we going?
We quit our jobs, we’re about to sell the apartment, the car is gone, the snowsuits are packed away and ready to be sold along with all the clothes and plastic shit we wont miss. I begin to sense it. It’s the scent of freedom.
Before taking the decision to sell the apartment and move into the unknown everything was more doubtful, insecure and difficult. The past 7-8 months have been quite a rollercoaster. Should we try getting new jobs that might satisfy us more? Should we try out living in France before selling the apartment? Will we be happy running a B&B? What does it mean running a B&B? Will I be happy cleaning other people’s mess? Will I miss my old work-life? Can I find happiness in a more practical way of life? Will I miss intellectual challenges? All these questions have filled my mind, made me cry, made me doubt, made me consider what I want from life right now. Not in a year, not in five years. Right now. And I came to the decision that I want the adventure. I want to travel with my family and try out another way of living and working together. Who knows if it will be better or more fun. We wont know if we don’t try. Nothing is perfect in life. It will be hard work as everything else. But one thing is sure, it will be memorable. It will be different from five more years of turning wheels in whatever job and that’s exactly what we’re seeking. We can make it into what we want. Noone is telling us no, whenever you get a good idea, whenever you’re motivated to take it further, do something new, do something different, make it better or more efficient than it is. We’re our own masters and that’s what we want to be right now.
“Computer says no” no more!
If you just joined, heard the idea from my mother or I haven’t talked to you lately, here is a short recap of what we want to do and where we are:
So, we want to start a Bed and Breakfast in France. Teis is the chef running breakfasts and dinners and I’m doing everything else. We have been looking at a lot of houses, talking to banks, working out budgets and business cases. But we’re still not there. It’s difficult to find a place we can afford with enough square meters to have around 6-8 rooms. On top, the rules in France says that you can maximum have 5 B&B rooms, therefore we will mix it with small apartments that go under the rules of Gîte de France. One of the first challenges we met, was that the construction laws in Provence have been changed, so that you can’t extend any buildings or construct new buildings. That meant that the original plan of finding a house with a plot of land and having the possibility of extending along the way is not really possible. We need to have enough square meters from the beginning to be able to have the rooms needed to live from it economically.
Then there was the banks. A one-sided message from all Danes living in France is, give up on the French banks, they’re impossible to work with in relation to start-ups (and other things). So we did. But of course Danish banks are also slightly nervous – we want to move to France and start a business we don’t have any experience in doing. We’re not french, only one of us knows french, none of us are entrepreneurs, B&B owners or such. Fair enough, we have to downsize and we need to take over an existing B&B with an active income to be able to show some financial credibility. This is what’s gonna make a credible case, that there will be an income next year and we can pay our mortgage.
Next issue, the places with the highest rates and occupancy are of course the most expensive. So, how far away from the epicentre (Nice airport), do we dare buy a house and be sure that it’s still profitable. That’s the discussion right now. Our research is centred around the department of Var in the region of Provence Alpes Côte D’Azur (PACA). We would prefer to be placed approximately 1-2 hours drive from Nice airport. Nice is the most frequented city for tourists in France next after Paris and loads of Scandinavians go there all year round, which is why we decided to settle within reach of Nice. If it turns out to be impossible or too expensive we will look into the departments placed West and North of Marseille. But the big difference is the flight logistics and there are no direct flights to Marseille from Scandinavia. Only in high season you can fly to Montpellier or Toulon-Hyeres. We’re going to France tomorrow to see 5 B&B. Two of them are placed near Toulon (Le Castellet and Evénos), one in Salernes, One in Bagnols-en-Fôret and one near St. Raphael. We’re very excited how it will turn out and if we will find something suitable.