Travel abroad solo? Go for it!

Have you ever visited somewhere and said to yourself: “I’m going back to this place someday.”

It happened to me ten years ago when I saw Uzes, France. It was a magical moment when I knew that spending just one day at the Saturday market wouldn’t be enough for a lifetime. I would have to return.

Now I’m making a dream come true. I live in Uzès!

dream come true

The short story

When I first saw Uzes in 2011, I dreamed and schemed about how I could return. When I retired from work two years later, I planned a “celebration” holiday around a stay in Uzes. Solo. I had no idea the trip would cause me to pick up and move to France. The original plan was for me to stay in Uzes for three weeks, spend three more weeks traveling south to Spain, then return home to Beaufort, South Carolina.

It didn’t happen that way. I couldn’t get enough of France.

So back to South Carolina I went.

I sold most of my 40-year collection of “stuff”, packed up the rest for storage, shipped off boxes to France, and in three months, I moved to Uzes to start a new life. Alone.

dream come true

Place aux Herbes, Uzes, France

Follow the solo adventures of the Barefoot Blogger

The Barefoot Blogger began as a guide for women (and men!) who want to travel abroad solo. It follows the planning stages of the holiday trip to Uzes and includes visits to other places in the south of France. Reading the earlier posts will give you a lot of information and stories I hope you’ll enjoy. More than that, you’ll see how the “vacation” became a chance to fulfill a lifetime fantasy.  You’ll see how and why things have changed.

Follow me every step of the way. From selling household goods and clothing to applying for a long-stay visa. From leasing an apartment in France to buying furniture and setting up utilities. All, and more, took place in less than three months.

Did I mention? I don’t speak French!

Please join me  and to explore life and travels in France and beyond. Feel free to write comments on the posts or contact me to ask about things that interest you. I’m on this journey alone, but it’s much more fun knowing you’re traveling with me.

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46 replies »

  1. Hi Debby. My husband And I are American And live 20minutes west OF Uzès And go There often. It Would be A pleasure TO meet YOU for A coffee or lunch. Please email me AT I am having A holiday apéro jewelry trunk show And sale on The 07dèc IF YOU are available starting AT 17h30 AT our villa. YOU are welcome TO come And bring A friend Warm regards, Ellen

    • I am off to Christmas markets in Alsace on that date, but I’d love to meet you when I return! I’ll send a note. Thanks, Ellen.

  2. Wow! So brave of you! You are an inspiration!
    I visited Uzes this summer and loved it a lot, I understand why you chose it to become your new home.
    I’d love to follow your blog but didn’t manage to find the Follow button … Will retry later… 😉
    I wish you the best of luck, there’s nothing like travelling.

    • Thanks for alerting me about the follow button. I’ll fix it. I love your blog. Amazing photos. Keep travelling and writing!

    • I am in the process of doing this exact process! I quit my 34 year nursing career, sold my house, purged my belongings, got a divorce and am moving to Provence, France in February. 2018. I will definitely be following your blog!

      • Yea! Good for you. You are heading into the experience of a lifetime. I’m so excited for you! Please keep in touch and let me know where you land. Thanks for writing to me!

  3. I did a lot of travels in Europe while I studied there and hoping to travel more around Africa now and hopefully Asia and America a bit later. What you are doing is so inspirational. Enjoy your travels and stay safe!

    • Travel as much and as far as you can while you can. Life doesn’t promise it’s always going to be possible. Your stay safe, too…and enjoy every minute!

  4. I’m another fan of your wonderful blog. I’m only part way through reading your adventure, I’ll have to come back in stages to finish it.

    I’m British, lived in the U.S. for 3 years but I now live in Ireland. It had always been our intention to travel around Europe working once my son left home, which he now has but with Brexit looming, we’re now unsure whether to do it.

    France is one of my favourite places to be, along with Switzerland and Italy. We’d intended on finally ending up living in France for the majority of the time and keeping a property in either Ireland or England, all those plans are up in the air. Reading your blog has given me a bit of hope.

    • If you wait until everything in life seems perfect before you take a leap, it won’t happen. Just one step at a time. Maybe decide on baby steps. Never give up your dream. Thanks for connecting and please stay in touch.

      • My dream came true, last year, when we bought a house in Castelnaudary, in between Toulouse & Carcassone. This is very much our second home, not a holiday home. We still have our house in SE England. Our garden gate opens on to the Canal du Midi towpath & we can see the Pyrénées from our front garden. We are so lucky! Some friends were quite surprised that we were buying this property, in the light of Brexit. However, I am fiercely pro Europe & I wasn’t going to allow Brexit to stop me following my dream. So, I would say, to Touch of Cinnamon, go for it. But then I would, wouldn’t I?!

        • Sounds perfect to me, June. Someday I hope to travel on the Canal du Midi. Perhaps you can recommend a trip? I know Carcassone but have never been to Toulouse — other than through it on a train. Hopefully this fall I’ll get onto that! Thanks for your comments…;-))

          • Hi Deborah. I guess my comment was for Touch of Cinnamon as she sounded undecided about buying a property in France! I must admit I’ve never travelled on the Canal, only walked beside it! I have met lots of intrepid people, of all ages, who have been cycling from Toulouse to Sete – that would be an achievement! So many places to see in France, let alone beyond!

  5. Hi Deborah, it was great meeting you with Paula and Rich, love your home. Enjoying reading your blog very, very much. Please let’s stay in touch.
    Big hugs, Tracy xo

    • So glad to meet you and Howard, too, Tracy. You had good guides to show you Uzes. Now you know why I love it so much! Yes, please let’s keep in touch. Want to hear more about you!

  6. So enjoyed meeting you on wonderful Bald Head Island, North Carolina. I will be following your blog.

    Joe, my husband, has done some travels over seas but he love all the adventures in the states, from skiing to flyfishing. I caught the big ones also.

    Had lunch with Ricki today and hope to hear more about you from her.

    So glad you visited our “special Island” in North Carolina.

    • So happy to meet you, too! Thank you for looking up my blog. I hope you will enjoy following and maybe, you’ll come to visit. Hope you’ll help pry Ricki away from BHI to come to France.

  7. I hope you and cousin Judy have a wonderful time. I’m sure she’ll have great stories to tell on her return home to Arizona.

  8. Just found your blog 7/20/15. We are traveling to Nîmes in late October, and also maybe to Uzes. I read of your new home and life with extreme interest because you are living the dream! The food at the Uzes restaurant looks délicieuse. For a month, four of us are traveling together, one former Parisian, Bruno, and his wife, Sally, who moved to Paris not speaking French, and my husband Andy and me. Now we all live in the gold country of California—Bruno wanted to move to an “exotic” place.
    I can’t wait to explore your exotic new area!

    • Joan, I’m so happy for you to find Uzes! You are going to love it. If you’re looking for places to visit in and around Nimes and Uzes, let me know. There are several posts on the area if you want to search on the site. Be sure to visit Marie Carres in Nimes and view the film. It’ll give you a wonderful overview of the times when Romans lived in “Gaul.” Your friends will be great guides speaking French, although everyone is so willing to help tourists. Send me a note when you’re in Uzes and perhaps we can meet!

    • I really appreciate your comment. The blog is so much fun to write and if it inspires anyone to live their dream…or just enjoy all that’s around them…I’m thrilled!

  9. Deborah, I just stumbled upon your blog and am loving it. My husband and I just bought an apartment in Uzes and will live there full time beginning next year. In the meantime, it is unfurnished in the French style–even down to bare hanging light bulbs. Great adventure but overwhelming. Do you have a furniture source for the basics–beds!!? Someone to manage details from a distance–I’m in Boston? Hope to meet you someday!!!

  10. Hi Deborah, I have just discovered your blog and am enjoying the read. My husband and I are Australian and retired to France fulltime last year. We live on the Dordogne River between Bordeaux and Bergerac. We spent a month near Anduze a couple of years ago and also discovered Uzes. Such a beautiful town so I can understand why you chose to live there. Have you been to Lussan to see Les Céramiques de Lussan ? There is a tiny shop in Uzes with their wares but it is interesting to visit the atelier. As we are also non EU and therefore share some of the same issues with living in France, I’m looking forward to following your experiences and you are very brave to do this on your own. Bon courage.

    • I know the les Ceramics de Lussan well. In fact I have a noir y blanc chat on my bedroom windowsill. I love it! I was hoping to visit the shop owner for a story for the blog, so visiting Lussan to do it would be a great idea. I have visited her daughter-in-law in the store. Thanks for following the blog. It means so much to receive your note and good wishes. Keep in touch, please!

    • That’s an interesting question and part of the reason I return to the US during the year. I have Medicare and a “Medigap” insurance that covers me in the States and 60 days after I return to France. I buy travelers health insurance that covers me in France and on the go outside the US. I researched a lot of insurance companies in Europe for coverage, but discovered that travelers insurance is the best deal. Mostly I depend on going to doctors while I’m in the States for regular checkups, etc. The travelers insurance is for emergencies. I’m experimenting with whether to buy a policy for prescription drugs in the US. Fortunately I don’t have many health issues, so I’m paying out of pocket for prescriptions in France. It’s much cheaper than in the US. Hope that helps!

  11. I have just come across your blog. Loved this post. Love those styles! I am so excited to read your blog from the beginning!! Having become obsessed with France a few years ago, and having lived abroad when I was younger, I have a feeling it’s calling to me again – the expat life… For now, I can immerse myself in your adventures. Merci!

  12. I live in Uzes half the year and on CapeCod the rest if the time. Can you send me your email so we could maybe meet for a coffee?

  13. Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an incredibly long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear.

    Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyway, just wanted to say wonderful blog!

  14. I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good.
    I don’t know who you are but certainly you’re going to a famous blogger if you are not already
    😉 Cheers!

  15. Hi Debby
    Where are you today? I am still in Vallérargues near Uzès, wearing the nice clothes we’ve bought at the same time in the PAREO boutique. You remember? The Swiss translator and lentil’s vendor… Take care and hear you soon,

    • Hello, yes I do remember! How are you? I am in Sete and will return to Uzes next week. I will be there for awhile. Hopefully we can meet up again!

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