Things change. After the last several years we know that better than most. We’ve been planning a move to Spain for several years. Our original plan won’t work because of Visa issues and misunderstanding on our end. This was going to set us back around a year. It was a pretty devastating blow.
But as we discussed this setback we re-evaluated. What do we want? How do we get there? We decided we still wanted to leave as soon as possible. So we decided to be Digital Nomads for a year. This was an adventure. Why not?
We reserved the only available dog kennels on the Queen Mary 2 available before July 2023. The first of January. Less than three months away. I will be in New York City for the second time in my life, on almost the same days I spent there in 1998/99 as a high school senior. It felt right.
Then the panic planning set in. Visa-less travel is possible. But damn it is a lot to consider and plan for. Especially with two dogs in tow. Now we don’t have a plan, we have about 3 we are researching.
Whatever the plan ends up being we arrive in Southampton, UK in January 2023.
How are we making the plans? Like we make all our plans; lots of research, spreadsheets, and looking for people who’ve done it to mentor us.
Long-term travel things we've learned about the EU as US Citizens.
Golden Visas are Visas you receive by purchasing a home in another country over a certain value giving you rights to reside in the country full time. Golden Visas are offered in several countries; Spain, Portugal, Greece, etc.
Digital Nomad Visas are residential visas countries give to workers who work remotely and can afford the cost of living and are willing to pay taxes in the country of residence. Cyprus is one EU Country that offers this type of Visa.
Visa-less travel with US Passports allows us to travel inside Schengen Countries for 90 out of 100 days, and most non-Schengen EU countries also have a 90/180 day allowance. What does this mean? Well it means in any 180 day (about 6 month period) we can travel freely between Schengen Countries for 90 days (about 3 months). And we can stay in non-Schengen countries for 90/180 days each too. What countries are Schengen? In the EU it seems more prudent to remember the non-Schengen countries: Croatia, Ireland, and Cyrus.
Traveling with the dogs. The EU has a Pet Passport that we will get the boys ready for before we leave the US. The only borders we should have to worry about with them is arriving in the UK after the Queen Mary 2 arrival. We are working with Pet relocation companies for this planning.
Well the condos commercial sale will not finalize until April 2023 at the earliest. And we can’t sell this house while we need to live in it. So Golden Visa are out for as soon as we arrive, they require a purchase without a mortgage. Luckily with the Nashville Real Estate market, some luck and good timing, we should be able to pull this off eventually.
Traveling with the dogs means leaving the EU, where their passports will be valid, will be a risk we aren’t willing to take. We also want to avoid flying with them, as they are both just out of range for flying in the cabin.
The tentative plans:
Selling the house we are currently in as soon as possible, possibly renting somewhere for a few months while we wait for our departure date.
Spending the first 3 months split between the UK and Ireland. They share a border similar to the Schengen and we are allowed up to 90 days between them.
Spending the next three months in Schengen Countries, driving from the ferry port in France to Italy and Greece and seeing the sites. If the house and the condo sell during this period, we may house shop.
If we don’t like traveling and the Nashville real estate hasn’t sold, we will plan to go somewhere like Cyprus for a digital nomad visa and settle for a year or so.
We have no idea where we will be in a year. But if our plans work out, we will be somewhere in the EU on the adventure of a lifetime.