Mathieu Bastareaud says his decision to join Rugby United New York was motivated by a desire for a new experience with his family.
It was confirmed on Monday that the powerhouse Toulon and France centre will join the Major League Rugby side after the Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Bastareaud, who has made 54 appearances for France, spoke with Super Rugby side the Sharks but opted for the chance to move to the Big Apple.
"My first idea was South Africa, with the Sharks. We talked for a long time, but there was nothing concrete," he told L'Equipe.
"But with my new family situation, I needed something safe. In the end, we entered into discussions with [RUNY chief executive] Pierre Arnald.
"New York, ultimately, was the best compromise between the experience of living and seeing something else with the family. I have to think for three now, not just for me."
It was initially reported Bastareaud would be leaving on a one-year loan, but the 30-year-old said that is not the case.
"It's not a loan at all. I am under contract with RCT until November, then paid by the New York club until June," he added.
"For the rest, there are discussions. Will anyone want me again? It's not clear. It's an experience to come back better.
"It's just a goodbye and see you soon. I hope [to come back] but nothing is fixed."
Bastareaud is New York's second marquee signing after former England international Ben Foden joined last year.