Eight years and one week ago, I penned my first ever blog post on a website I called The American in Paris. It talked about my plans to leave the US and some of my thinking that led me to leave the country I had called home for 25 years at that point. At the time I alluded to what I envisioned as the goal of the blog: telling people about my adventure moving to and living in France. At the time I was telling everyone that I was going to stay a year and see what happened next, in part because I didn’t know what would be next or even how to renew a visa.
How it Started
As time went on, I shared the experience of getting my first visitor visa, how I changed to a profession libérale visa, and all about the French agencies that were now part of my life. These were important parts of my immigration journey. But I also wrote about getting robbed (the first time), the critical summer that changed my immigration path, and the thoughts on my mind the night we “lost” Notre Dame. Turns out moving to a new culture and country offers endless points of reflection and the blog gave me a platform to share those reflections.
At first people told me they printed out my articles, followed them step by step, got their visas, and offered to buy me coffee when they arrived in France. Before long I was doing private consultations to help others get the visas they wanted. Eventually the outlines for those consultations got turned into video courses for visitor and prof lib. I even decided to create an official logo with the help of the team at Circle Sideways who have been at my side for design for projects since 2011.
As 2020 gave all of us more time to reflect on our lives (like lockdown in Paris and flying during a pandemic) and the various projects and endeavors we were involved in, I conceived the beginnings of pivoting TAIP away from solely my particular and personal journey to more of a platform for fellow Americans to share aspects of their journey that overlapped with mine but also covered areas that I had no experience in whatsoever. Knowing that I no longer had to shoulder writing all the articles meant that not only could there be more articles on more subjects, but those articles could come more frequently.
How It’s Going
Hence over the summer, during the transition to this planned day in October, the tagline for the website changed from “My Adventures in the City of Light” to “Helping You Adapt to Life in France” and two of the writers, Gracie and Molli, penned their first articles for the site which started to fill in some gaps in the information the website was offering. After those successful articles (some of which were also syndicated by Dispatches Europe) and many coffee and tea-driven meetings talking through our shared values and vision for TAIP, they agreed to come on board as part-time writers. If you’d like to learn more about them and the values that undergird our writing, click here.
On a practical level, preparing for this soft reboot meant going through every single one of my nearly 150 existing entries since 2013 and editing them to make sure there was a unified style which the entire team (and any guest writers) could use. It was a very long (but useful!) trip down memory lane. By the way, if you are interested in writing for us, we do pay for every article and you will retain publishing rights for other platforms of your choice. You can click here to learn more. While we do unashamedly write from an American perspective, with all that implies, you don’t have to be an American to write a guest article for us, and writing one article doesn’t commit you to an ongoing engagement.
So it’s a new chapter for TAIP and you’ll be hearing a lot from the newer members of the team in coming weeks. To commemorate eight years of the blog you are going to see eight articles between the two of them in the next two weeks. Expect to see a regular publishing schedule with articles coming at least once a week, if not more frequently! We’ve also stood up Facebook and LinkedIn pages for the site (please consider liking/following). Share the site with friends who you think could benefit not just from help immigrating to France, but on how different Americans see long-term life in France. Between the three of us we’ve been here twenty years and counting.
Thanks for all your support reading hundreds of articles, leaving thousands of comments, and sharing our advice and articles all over the place. This would never have become the fun passion project that it is without you. Here’s to many more years helping people from all over the world adapt to life in France. 🙂
Photo by Thibault Penin on Unsplash
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Looking forward to all your future articles and I hope your colleagues are as interesting as you.