We have spent 68 days in the European Union, and according to the Schengen tourist visa you can only stay legally for a total of 90 days in most of the countries of the EU. For non-Schengen citizens ( people who are not citizens of these ccountries) , you’re allowed entry into the Area for 90 days within any 180-day period. These days don’t need to be consecutive—the total is cumulative. This means that we need to go somewhere outside the Schengen zone for a while before we can return again.
We were going to do that even though our wish was to spend a year in Europe. (Fortunately, the UK and Ireland are not part of the Schengen zone.) But we have learned that we like traveling, it is not that expensive staying a month in a country, that we can live with a lot less than we ever thought. In addition, we found that it is very hard having a house in the U.S. that requires upkeep and bill paying ( especially with a 9 hour time difference) while you are traveling for a long time. Since we had to leave Europe for 3 months anyway, we decided to take the leap and come home. Our next project will be to look into emptying and selling our house.
Just typing this makes my stomach cramp. We have lived happily in our home for 22 years and it is a big house. I am sure I do not need to tell you how much stuff you can acquire during 22 years of working and child rearing. It was easier to run away from it all at the beginning of the year and go off into the sunset of new adventures. We justified leaving the house intact since we did not know if we would not like traveling and want to come home.
It was great to get home yesterday and see the sweet son, the excited dog and to see our extended family. Today we are going over to my sister’s house to eat Mexican food ( OMG I have missed that) and show some of the hundreds of photos. This is the fun part of being home.
Next we have to begin the really hard part; the repairs, the room by room purge of all the accumulated stuff we have packed into the house, the garage and the storage unit. (Can I stay in bed and have a magic fairy do this for me?). Since this letting go of the house is part of the the senior gap year experience, I will be blogging about how we manage this part of the adventure.( other wall in my art studio, get the idea of why purging the house is difficult?) I will also do some extended blogs that I did not have time on the road to do. They will cover money saving ideas, how to pack lighter than we did, and other strategies that we have learned from about 6 months away from home. The blog entries will not be as frequent because the subject matter is not that exciting, This is a photo of one wall in my art studio.
While researching costs for a ticket home, we found that booking a return to London in March resulted in a lower fare than a straight one-way ticket home. So that’s what we bought. That is good, because that means no matter how hard this part is to accomplish, we have a shining ticket to London in our pockets.