We’ve always travelled whenever we can! We both find the simplicity of the travelling lifestyle suits us really well. We’re rarely as happy as when we’re living out of a backpack, with few plans and a wealth of opportunities. It’s the kind of simple life many of us dream of; more free time, more flexible working patterns, spending more time outdoors and doing something you love every day.
We also know how hard it is to make time for that kind of life when you’re working a conventional 9 to 5 job. Any good intentions to take more holidays, pursue less demanding careers and devote more time to hobbies and interests rarely seem to work out.
For years we’ve tried to emulate the kind of life that travelling allows and in many ways we’ve had some big successes. In 2015 we swapped our city life in Cardiff for a move to Devon. There we bought a house in a small village in the countryside. For us, it’s a much happier life than we had before. Our free time is spent on the moors, at the beach or pottering around fishing villages and coastal towns.
Our work lives have also got better. We’ve always struggled with the rigour of a 9 to 5 office based career (which we both find ourselves in). Over the years we’ve tried to reclaim our work life in a number of ways and still do. After moving to Devon we started our own business making wedding and celebration cakes. To our great delight, it’s worked out well and it allows us to earn money doing something we enjoy. It’s also fantastic to be a part of the big celebrations in people’s lives.
So, life is good… But we still believe it could be better. We work a lot; six, sometimes seven days a week. The cake business is great, but it doesn’t replace our day jobs. And so we end up working weekends and evenings around our full-time jobs.
Because we both want to change our core work life, we also take on other ventures that eat up the precious time we do have. All in the hope of finding a way to break free from the conventional 9 to 5 career that neither of us enjoy. But the result of striving for this better life is that we both feel we work too much and live too little.
It’s an idea that permeates our culture. People speak of “the ratrace”, the “trappings of modern life” and money being “the root of all evil”. And in many ways, we subscribe to those kinds of philosophies. We work hard to pay for a house and lifestyle that we don’t have sufficient time to enjoy.
Our issue is that we’re working to maintain an expensive lifestyle because that’s what most people do. To afford a UK house, car, annual holiday, a social life and all the other expenses of modern life requires a big budget, and a big budget means working lots.
But is that the lifestyle we need? Could we live a simpler life that costs less?
We believe the answer is yes!
And that’s where the travelling ideal fits in – we’ve lived a simpler, happier life: with no more possessions than we could fit in a bag, limited funds and no house or car to call our own. But we were happy.
What we’d like is to find a way to make normal day-to-day life more like the kind of life we enjoy when travelling. The desire to pursue a simpler life; where we don’t need to make money on the same scale is how The French Hideout was born.
We want to see if we can massively downsize and simplify our lives, reduce the cost of our lifestyle and live a happier life as a result, with more financial and career freedom.
We know it’ll mean hard work and sacrifice to get there. Inevitably we’ll have to learn to live without many of the things that as a society we consider essential to modern life. We’ll be living on a tight budget, learning new skills, a new language, becoming more self-sufficient and waving goodbye to many of our home comforts (and more to the point our home!).
But we believe it will be worth it and that France provides the opportunities to achieve our dream that just wouldn’t be available to us in the UK. There we hope to carve out a little hideout from the aspects of modern life we find challenging. We plan to live a life that is closer to nature, and less tied to conventional careers. We want to rediscover hobbies and interests that we’ve not had time for and see if with determination we can turn them into ways to make money.
Earning money from pursuits we actually enjoy has been a lifelong dream and one we hope we can realise.
In short, we want to build our own little dream space; The French Hideout.
To find out why we chose France as the base for our new life read the blog post Why France?