The Secret To Travel More And Live Better

Eiffel Tower at sunset in Paris, France

The Secret To Travel More And Live Better

Coming Home To That Vacation Feeling

Every time I leave Paris, whether for business or pleasure, I come back and sigh with relief and comfort, either in the taxi as we wend our way home from the airport, or as I run my first errand after returning.

It’s a sigh not just of relief but also of wonder…

Because what I experience is not just a feeling of coming home… it’s mingled with the feeling you get when traveling and finding yourself in a favorite location overseas…

Because, of course, Paris is only my adopted home. I’m not French, but I am established enough here to feel that it’s all familiar when I return.

I am still a foreigner, though, and I still fully appreciate all the reasons I chose to live in Paris.

If the feeling hits me in the taxi, it’s usually the architecture that hooks me once again. The sheer beauty of this city, its river, and everything it has to offer, the feeling of endless potential… it all sends me into reveries of gratitude.

If it hits me when I’m on an errand, it’s the Parisian lifestyle that puts a goofy smile on my face…

The beauty of being able to walk to everything I need… the feeling of being embraced by my little community, as shopkeeps and café owners who recognize me nod in greeting… walking by and sniffing the delicious aromas coming from the fromagerie and the boulangerie (and being tempted to stop in for a quick purchase)… the clinking of silverware from people eating at little tables on the sidewalk, the beautifully presented dishes they tuck into… seeing a neighbor walking her kids home from school and stopping for a chat, setting up a picnic date with our families for the following weekend…

(And here I’m not waxing poetic… these were all encounters I had in the last 24 hours after returning from Portugal.)

I’ve struggled with how to describe this feeling, and the closest I can think to say it is that it feels like I’m coming home to vacation.

It’s the best of being at home and the best of being on holiday all at once.

And I think that’s how many happy expats would describe the experience of finding that perfect place to call home.

The feeling hits me like clockwork after every absence, and I am launched into renewed appreciation for my life choices—specifically, those that led me to settle in the City of Light.

The funny thing is, though, that a big part of why I choose to live in Paris is for the ability to leave it.

I love being at the center of Europe, in one of its best-connected hubs, to be able to fly or train anywhere on the Continent (or just off its shores) in three hours or less.

Luckily for me, traveling is a part of my job description, and I get to do it just about every month… allow me to illustrate…

For Christmas and New Year’s, we usually stay on this side of the world to enjoy the ski resorts Europe does so well. Whether it’s France, Italy, Austria, Slovenia, Switzerland, Scandinavia… Europeans know winter culture, and we like to indulge in it. That’s December and January.

I like to try to plan a trip for Carnival, a holiday time of year both in Latin America as well as throughout Europe. Venice is top of my list for next year’s festivities… that’s February.

To continue the calendar taking this year as an example…

  • In March my family and I were in Ireland (last year was Panama)…
  • April is Portugal (this one holds steady each year, as I always travel to Algarve for our Live And Invest in Portugal Conference around this time of year, but I also managed to fit a weekend in Luxembourg in last year)…
  • May is Netherlands to visit friends, see the famous Vermeer exhibit, and “do the tulips,” which we’ve never done. We’ll also spend a couple weeks between the States and Canada at the end of the month, the obligatory annual trip back across the pond (this time last year was Cyprus)…
  • June is south of France leading into Spain, scouting new destinations in each country to deliver to you, dear reader, for 2023 and 2024…
  • July we’ll explore a few France destinations over weekend trips, and meet some friends in the Netherlands to take our daughters to the Peppa Pig World that opened in the Hague last year (this was our big annual pilgrimage back to family in the States last year)…
  • August will be Puglia, Italy, with friends we travel annually with for the big Europe summer break (last year was Barcelona with the same)…

I have yet to plan out the last quarter of 2023, but last year I can tell you I was in Deauville, up on France’s northern coast, in September… I was in La Rochelle and Ile de Re, on France’s western coast in October… And in November I managed to run myself ragged between Marseille, Milan, and Panama before settling in for the holidays…

Which brings us back around to Christmas in the mountains of Europe.

…No, I don’t enumerate my itinerary to make you jealous!

But to demonstrate just how wide open your life can be once you cut the tether with North America.

Few other countries in the world boast the scale, grandeur, and diversity of America or Canada. They can easily keep you occupied with travel—but that comes at larger distances and time investments than what I’ve been talking about.

Once you get beyond their borders, you might be shocked to find how quickly, affordably, and easily you can visit new places (or old favorites).

Many of the trips I took last year or have planned for this year are mere weekends. They are but an hour or two away by train or plane. They cost just a couple hundred round trip.

But how fabulous to be able to visit them—even for short periods—whenever the fancy strikes?

If this sounds like your kind of lifestyle, there’s no better place to base yourself than in a travel hub…

I’ve been speaking to my situation here in Europe (if this is a goal of yours for this region, there’s no better place to be than Paris, London, Barcelona, or Rome, some of the best-connected cities in the world), but if your preference is more towards the Americas, there is no shortage of hubs on that side of the Atlantic…

Look at Mexico City, Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula (for Cancún’s airport), Bogota, Colombia, Sao Paolo, Brazil, Lima, Peru, and Panama. These are the best-connected airports in Latin America.

And in the case of Panama, the capital and its airport are easily accessed from anywhere in the country, so you don’t need to live in the capital to be nearby. For Mexico’s Caribbean coast, you don’t need to be based in Cancún to avail of its airport, which is easily accessed from Playa del Carmen and Tulum (and, to a lesser extent, Mérida).

All these locations offer much more opportunity for jaunts back up north, as well, if you’re planning to return regularly for family, for example.

If you’re looking for more travel and diversity, there’s no better way to bring this to your life than to make a move overseas.

And if you’re looking for feelings of wonder, awe, gratitude, and appreciation in your daily life, I prescribe the same.

Finding your own “vacation-at-home” location, as I’m calling it, is the best way to keep all those feelings in the fore each and every day, without even trying.

Happy trails,
Kat Kalashian signature
Kat Kalashian
Editor, LIOS Confidential

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