At the end of May, Sophie and I are moving to Chamonix, France, a small village at the base of Mont Blanc. Chamonix is home to some of the world’s most incredible athletes, adventurers, and explorers, and soon to be our home.

From trail running and downhill mountain biking, to rock climbing and ice climbing, to paragliding and even BASE-jumping, Chamonix is a Mecca of the outdoors and where Sophie and I have dreamed of living for many years.

The Idea of moving to Chamonix

Mont Blanc, and adventurer's Mecca

Mont Blanc, and adventurer’s Mecca

Since the beginning of our relationship we have talked about moving to, and living in Chamonix. From our first trip there in 2010 when we climbed Mont Blanc, our souls knew they had found something special. Since then we have come back every year, sometimes for a week of alpine climbing, sometimes a few days skiing in winter, and, last summer, 2 months as newlyweds.

We have always talked about building a life there but how? Were we willing to give up everything to live the dream? Was it irresponsible to leave real life? And, was it just a dream?

Could we walk the walk or just talk the talk?

Both Sophie and I have been successful professionally, working with some of the fastest growing startups in the UK, starting our own businesses, and doing our utmost to excel at whatever we turn our hands to. We didn’t want to give all that up, to work in a chalet, or bar, just to live in the place we held most dear.

We want to move to Chamonix on our own terms.

In our own way.

How we are making the move to France possible

We made conscious decisions over the last few years to develop our skills so that we have the most flexibility for where and how we work. I have taught myself to build websites and applications as well as honed my business and entrepreneurial skills through founding two companies. Sophie has worked even harder to almost completely reinvent herself as a fantastic writer and communications expert, adding to her already impressive skills in people development, business development, and partnerships.

These skills have been nurtured such that we can work with our clients wherever we decide to live. The wonder of instant messaging, video conferencing, and the fact that our deliverables are often in digital form, has given us the freedom to even consider the move in earnest, let alone commit to it.

That isn’t to say that we have given up a lot to make this decision. Both of us have had to walk away from amazing opportunities with incredible entrepreneurs and business owners offering to work with us and invite us into their ventures. We have decided that the opportunities available to us in Chamonix – the uncertainty, the freedom, and the empowerment – far outweigh the sacrifices.

The positives mean the sacrifices don’t even feel like sacrifices.

Making work work

Sophie working on the go

Sophie working on the go

The most common question we have been hearing is What are you going to do out there?

The short answer is, we’ll do exactly what we do here. But a little bit different.

We don’t want to move to Chamonix to replicate the life we have in London. We are moving to start something new, to create a better work-life balance, and to do what we love. This is the foundation for our move and the driving force behind all of our decisions.

I love what I do for a living.

I help people build digital products that realise their dreams; building my own apps to try my own ideas out; and, to intellectually challenge myself on everything I do. Sophie loves her work too, her new direction of communications, writing, and her brand ambassadorships has been the stuff of dreams until recently when it has started to become a reality.

By balancing the passion we have for our professional life with our love of the outdoors and what Chamonix has to offer, we can only win.

We have our own ventures, we have other people approaching us, and we’re actively seeking new opportunities but all on our own terms.

We are living the dream

The confidence to do this has taken a long time to build up. We are very lucky to have each other, as we’re able to support one another when one of us is feeling low, celebrate when we’ve done something great, and share every aspect of this dream, together, as a family.

This is our dream.

A dream we have worked very hard to achieve.

A dream we are taking the first true steps to realising.

Living the dream with my wife

Living the dream with my wife

by Charley Radcliffe

15 Responses to “Living the Dream – Moving to Chamonix”

  1. Dave Gill

    I love posts like this. You’re doing it and doing it beats talking about doing it! Awesome. Variety is the spice of life, and the internet is making location more and more irrelevant. Best of luck!

    Reply
  2. Jackson Griffith

    Ah, Chamonix is one of my favourite towns ever! From the smoke of London I try to get there as often as possible and generally fail to do so! Good luck to you both, it’s an awesome move, hope to see you in and around the town square one day, or maybe even up on the hills!

    Reply
  3. Katy Dartford

    good stuff- i moved here trying to continue being a journo- but like everyone else here we all have to do other stuff to make ends meet….

    Reply
  4. Zen Life

    About to move back there myself after living in the UK for two years- very different this time round- have a young son rather than living the freedom lifestyle but looking forward to new challenges!

    Reply
  5. Sam

    Hi Charley!

    My boyfriend and I went to Chamonix this year and we completely fell in love with it. We actually work on Cruise Ships and are in the process of a bit of a life style change and we are looking at Chamonix as a place for us to settle down.
    We are looking to go in September for a couple of months and see what we can find in terms of apartments/ work etc.

    Can you recommend any websites which might be a help to us?

    Thanks for sharing your dream!

    Sam & David

    Reply
  6. Carl Wright

    Love this post Charley. To get to where you are now I know has taken you and Sophie a tremendous amount of work. This must be extremely exciting for the two of you.

    I just work in a warehouse, but I find SO much inspiration from people like yourself. Have just been running for 3 years now, and 3 weeks ago at 57 I ran my 1st 50k Ultra. It was such a thrill of accomplishment.

    I follow Sophie’s Facebook page, and this is extremely exciting that she will be speaking at a TED conference. I have always had the belief that behind someone’s success there is someone in the background who supports and encourages. I know you have had such a big part in Sophie’s success. You must be very proud. I LOVE the pictures of the 2 of you together.

    All the best to you as you relocate to Chamonix. 🙂

    Carl Wright….Canada

    Reply
      • Carl Wright

        Hi Charley, my next big event is The North Face Endurance Challenge held July 18th.. It is another 50k. I may stand to be corrected but I “think” it is the only North Face sponsored race in Canada.. Am nervous and excited.

        There are kettleballs in my gym, but I have never used them before, but I know there are great for building core muscles I might get a trainer who can show me the correct form and go from there. 🙂

        Reply
        • Charley Radcliffe

          Hey Carl,

          Awesome, I’m doing the North Face Cortina Trail at the end of June – a little lighter at 47km!

          Technique is very important with kettlebells and I would highly recommend finding either a Strength Matters qualified instructr (the same as I am) or a StrongFirst or RKC instructor.

          I am starting to offer online, remote training for mountain and running objectives, if this is of interest, I would love to work with you! If you can get a few basic movements dialled with an instructor your side then I can take up the training after for you race?!

          Reply

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