How we Got Here – Our Personal Story

How we ended up living in a tiny French village with a Baguette vending machine

The village we first moved to, Eynesse in Southwest France was too tiny for a bakery, but a baker from the next town delivers fresh baguettes to this machine every day except Mondays! It costs 1.10 Euros and takes coins or cards.

The American Dream…or Not.

2015 – We adored our daughter, lived in a beautiful home, drove two nice cars, and held two well-paying careers; we embodied the American Dream.

But one day, we recognized this dream wasn’t ours. The 90-minute commute, the nights and weekends filled with errands, yardwork, birthdays, sporting events, and various kids activities left us tired and unfulfilled.

We didn’t see our parents as often as we wished. We watched our daughter’s childhood flash by, fearing we might let precious moments slip away while keeping up with the pace of the busy American lifestyle we had created. 

One night, a spreadsheet and a bottle of wine in hand, we formulated a plan. We decided to take a year off to slow travel when our daughter turned 11 and finished elementary school. We had time, but we understood this plan required significant lifestyle changes.

Bold Changes We’ve Never Regretted

Our first week in Bordeaux, France before we moved to the countryside. The Grosse Cloche and one of our favorite coffee shops in Bordeaux, Books & Coffee, are behind us.

We sold our house and one of our cars, gave away or sold 50% of our possessions, paid off all our debt, and relocated to a small apartment with a pool located on Jason’s office bus route.

Raina left her job as a Registered Nurse to concentrate on a career change and to spend more quality time with Rose before her school years began. We used our newfound time at the pool, playgrounds, the fantastic Houston Zoo, a few extra Astros baseball games, and world-class museums around the city.

From that point on, we initiated an annual review of our lives.

We questioned what brought us joy, what we wanted more and less of, what our priorities were that year, and whether we were financially on track for our travel year or if we had strayed a bit.

As years went by, we made adjustments and gradually moved towards our goal. Over time, we recognized our love for the outdoors and understood that Houston, despite its charms, would never offer us the outdoor experience we craved.

Anyone who’s been there and nearly died of heat stroke packing the car for Thanksgiving in November understands why. 😂 Love to all our family and friends in Texas eating delicious Tex-Mex and sweating it out! 

We relocated to Boulder County, Colorado during the pandemic, where Raina’s unicorn brother pictured above already lived. 

By that time, Raina had earned multiple certifications and started a business in life and leadership coaching for business owners seeking to reclaim their lives.

Simultaneously, Jason felt burnout creeping in from his 15-year leadership role and made the tough decision to resign. The pay structure and succession path might have allowed him to retire in 5 to 7 more years, but he knew it was time to leave. Sometimes, the right decision doesn’t always look right on paper.

With Rose finishing elementary school, Jason freed from his job, and Raina’s business growing, we realized we were facing the moment we had planned for. Yet, we still had to make the decision to go for it. It was a mix of fear and exhilaration. So much unknown!

The French Dream Realized – And What Made Us Start This Site

The house we lived in for most of our first ten months in France, in the commune of Eynesse, just outside Sainte Foy La Grande, France.

After some research, we found out that Raina was eligible for a Professions Liberal Visa, which would allow her to work in France. We also discovered that living in Southwest France would cost us half of what we spent in Colorado. Suddenly, the dream of traveling for a year seemed more reasonable than not.

We decided to relocate to France for a year and see how things unfolded. We knew it was now or (probably) never.

Most information we found catered to childless, wandering digital nomads or young families who world-schooled. But that wasn’t us. Where was the information for families in our situation?

We had a school-aged child. We wanted to travel but also have a home base where we could have some routines, connect with a local community, immerse ourselves in the culture, learn the language, and legally run a business in France.

We’ve launched this site and our YouTube channel to share our experiences, the hidden gems of France, what we’ve learned, and aspects of the lifestyle you can enjoy without leaving home.

Thank you for being here. We hope you’ll join us on this journey!

  1. Oh my goodness – how finding your website/blog/everything has meant so much to me and my family! We are a husband/wife/10 year-old daughter who decided, about 9 months ago, that we needed to start living our long-time dream; moving from Oregon, USA to a village (but near a sizeable city) in France! We have spent so much time researching housing and schools and culture (I, Laurie, am formerly fluent in French and have been there twice – husband Joseph and daughter Hope are trying hard to catch up!). However – it wasn’t until we found your site and all it entails that we truly felt “ready”. You have inspired us: we watch you as a family, learn from your leads, and BELIEVE we can do it because of inspiration such as yours. We, too, will be starting a new small business – a Piano Instruction school. Joseph, a USAF Retired Officer and I will also continue running our current small business, which is training Service Dogs for veterans and civilians with disabilities. We lived most of our married life together in San Antonio, TX, where Joseph retired from the USAF at age 42. We then moved to Oregon to enjoy the ocean and small-town, rural life, maintaining our Service Dog training business. But we ALWAYS yearned for France – and honestly, we already feel like friends with you just in the way you share and invite us into learning about your lives. Hope really wants to meet Rose! (or, is it Juliana?). We hope to be in France by summer of 2024 – and really look forward to learning from and hopefully meeting you all! Long live the Baguette!!

  2. Janaea Cordier says:

    My husband and I are also following this family and trying to move next year!! We love this as well. We were wine importers and as such traveled France lots..
    We also have our two dog golden retrievers we wish to get service training if possible. There are so many questions I have on how to start this whole process but will go through all the information first. I would love to know where you are that you’re doing service dog training there! Please feel free to email me . Thanks to all for this blog we love it and are excited to get over there. Janaea

  3. Joan & Dan Steele says:

    How wonderful to have found you! We are hoping to follow in your footsteps and learn all we can about relocating to France. Thank you for sharing what brought you to Bordeaux! So exciting!!
    Best regards,
    Joan & Dan Steele
    Capitola, California

  4. Kimberly says:

    I just found your video(s) on YouTube and Holy Crackers you are in my neck of the (SW France) woods! People often ask us two questions after they find out we bought a house in France: 1) Why SW France? 2) How did you decide? Now I can just forward them your video as it encapsulates (almost) all of our reasons for being in SW France. You should do a video on learning the language (how you did it.) I speak French but my husband is just starting to learn. Bon Courage to you as you continue your adventures!

  5. Hi Janaea Cordier!!

    I feel just terrible that I did not look back at this reply section after you wrote; you have two Golden Retrievers that you wish you train as Service Dogs? You certainly picked a most excellent breed as far as intelligence and compassion! My husband, daughter and I will not be in France until the end of the summer, and we are looking ironically between Bordeaux and Toulouse, particularly a city called “Agen”. But we are not set on it. In any case, we have trained Service Dogs in the U.S. for over 10 years, with trainers in different states (mostly Texas). When we get to France, I absolutely want to continue Service Dog training (but my primary focus will be teaching piano and hopefully some small performances). If you’d like to get in touch now, that would be wonderful! We train Service Dogs for any disability except the Blind. We also are VERY curious about the Service Dog field in France! Will we see many, or will we see few? Raina and Jason – have you seen any Service Dogs with disabled French citizens in your travels so far? Janaea – my direct email address is Thank you to Baguette Bound for allowing a connection to be made!

    We also have our two dog golden retrievers we wish to get service training if possible. There are so many questions I have on how to start this whole process but will go through all the information first. I would love to know where you are that you’re doing service dog training there! Please feel free to email me . Thanks to all for this blog we love it and are excited to get over there. Janaea


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