AND WHY I FEEL SAFER THERE RIGHT NOW
Disclaimer: I am Franco-American, have dual citizenship, and love both countries equally. I feel very fortunate to know the good, the bad, and the ugly in both of my beautiful countries and have grown up exposed to these amazing cultures and people.
On March 27th, I boarded an international flight in Los Angeles and flew back to France with my toddler to ride the Covid-19 pandemic out in my native land.
It was a tough decision where to spend the pandemic lockdown. We have lived in San Diego for 6+ months now and love it. Before that, I was in San Francisco, another beautiful city. Despite being happy in California, I run an online business so I am location-independant. Also, I was living in short-term Airbnbs with our stuff in storage so we have more freedom to explore different places. It feels like a permanent vacation. Then Covid-19 hit. And things changed. Suddenly, I couldn’t do any of the things I enjoyed about California. All my in-person meeting and conferences were cancelled. And my family is thousands of miles away. Being in a rental is not where I want to be during a pandemic. Being far away from family without any local family support neither. Lastly, as you will read, I have a few deeper reflections why I chose France.
These are a few reasons I FEEL SAFER IN FRANCE DURING COVID-19:
1/ France is a small country and with all borders closed, we can better monitor and control the spread. My thoughts? Maybe I’m wrong but if it goes hard and fast throughout a small country without people coming inside, then it will be easier to organize and control the spread. In a big country, it will keep on spreading for much longer.
2/ In late March, France issued a strict measure to require permission slips for citizens to move around. It may feel a bit like war-time but that suits me because people stay in their homes, not like in California. When I left, people were still playing volleyball and frisbee in San Diego and acting like a mini-vacation.
3/ French respect the President and follow what he asks them to do. Leadership in government (and absolute belief in our leaders) is imperial right now. In America, we saw a lot of people not following orders nor respecting the government. In times like these, that is deadly.
4/ All businesses really are closed. Everywhere. You don’t need to tell the French twice to shut down the Economy. They did it ASAP. Not like in California. When I left, Target was busy like usual. Many stores and businesses were still open. Even at LAX, the luxury goods like Gucci and Hermes shops were open as was Starbucks. Yes, having open retail is convenient but deadly.
5/ While French also overbought basic supplies out of fear of the unknown situation, the country overall has a healthy sense of solidarity and “we are all in this together’ whereas in America the motto is more “every man for himself”. I think a collective wellbeing mentality will see us better through the crisis than “me, me, me.” Let’s safe that self-preservation spirit for economical endeavors.
6/ Healthcare in France is free and people already are used to staying home or seeking out help at the least symptom of sickness and don’t worry about paying for medicine or hospital bills, etc. In America, people always carry on at work sick and aren’t used to taking good care of their health. In fact, health bills are the biggest reason listed for bankruptcies filed in the United States. So changing that mentality during Covid-19 will be particularly difficult for Americans without healthcare or with poor coverage.
7/ France is a socio-democratic country, which mean they will provide for people. No one’s electricity is going to get shut off due to a recession. People will not go hungry or stay homeless unless by choice. In hard times, France is a good, human place to be. America is trying but the programs aren’t in-place and the poverty is much higher than in France so Covid-19 will just mean more suffering for the people already suffering.
8/ In France, citizens don’t have the rights to carry arms like in the USA. In a pandemic with scarce supplies, panic, and strongly divided politic camps, I feel USA is not quite the place I feel safest. I don’t want everyone to have guns anytime but especially now.
For better or for worse, now I’m stuck in-place in France until this pandemic subsides. I was very fortunate as a French citizen to be able to return to France. We’ll see if I made the right choice how this plays out over the coming months, both in the health crisis and politically. I hope you all do well, no matter what country you are in.
Krista Mollion is a seasoned Silicon Valley tech entrepreneur and the founder of The SASSY Method™, a business blueprint program for online business owners. She teaches how to build a strong brand, develop signature products, and set up robust marketing and sales systems. She is also a mom of 4 and loves the beach, podcasts, and travel.