The other night, my traveling companion, Jane, made a casual reference to the 90-day limit on travel without a visa in what is called the Schengen Zone (pretty much all of Europe and beyond. Oops! Hadn’t take that into consideration when I made my plans for the European portion of My Year of Living Travelly.
I have spent the last day or so counting days on the calendar and figuring out enough times out of the Schengen Zone to get me back stateside without a potential black mark on my passport. I overstayed my visa when I was living in Italy a few years back and I freaked out for nothing, but I have heard things are a lot more closely monitored now, especially in Scandinavia, where I will be running low on days in July.
If you have to have a problem, this is a pretty nice one. I considered taking a one week Nile cruise in April between cruises, or a week in Morocco, or Albania, or Croatia. Poor me! What a rich set of options!
My decision ended up being a bit on the less adventurous side, but after spinning out every possible scenario, the one that really worked was London, even though I didn’t bring any clothes that would work for the UK in the spring. Well, how do you spell Visa card? At most I need to shop for a more water resistant pair of shoes, maybe a wool sweater, and beyond that I will just wear layers of ridiculously light cruise clothes.
Actually, I am pretty excited about it! I have a little studio rented for a few days, from which I will check out the museums and other locations I haven’t seen in years, hole up a bit to finish up some lectures I need for the Baltic, and rest my voice. Then I am going down to Cornwall to visit a couple who are two of my favorite people I have met while cruising the last few years.
But what is going through my mind right now as I cancel flights, a car, and hotels in Spain to get out of the Schengen Zone, is that this kind of “who knows what’s going to happen?” Is exactly what I want. I love thinking “Either this, or that, or maybe that” and just letting life be what it is going to be. That’s what a Year of Living Travelly ought to be, and I am embracing everything, easy or difficult, predictable or a surprise. Works for me!