Well, here we are and it’s July 9th already. My mind has been occupied with questions like:
Where do I start packing?
Where are we going to have the dog and cat and fish stay?
What country do we fly to first?
Visa…we need to figure out the visa stuff…
We have to be out of our current house July 27, so starting July 25th and going into the 26th we’ll be packing and moving all our stuff into SAMS. I have hired a house cleaner to come in and do the move-out cleaning and the carpet cleaners come the 27th to clean the carpets. We also have to make at least one dump run. So, all that is set, I just have to get off my butt and start packing boxes…that’ll happen. I’m just hoping for a surge of motivation, which may not come until the 25th.
I started stressing out again about where we are going to place our dog while we’re gone and the thought occurred to me that I have not prayed about it yet…so I did. The next day I was talking to a friend who suggested I post the request to a neighborhood page we are a part of, so I did. A couple of days later I received an email from a lady saying they lost their dog about a year ago and have been talking about getting another dog but haven’t quite been ready to take the leap. So, when they saw my add they thought that maybe taking in our dog for a year would be a good interim for them. We met them today, and now Runner is spending the weekend with them to see how he gels with their family. They seem perfect for him and us. I think God may have answered my prayers over and above what I had asked, and I am so thankful! Now, we just need a home for our cat and fish. Any takers? 😉
As I’ve been scouring cities and flights I’m finding that flying from Los Angeles to London is the cheapest rout, by far. So, when I found we could fly all 6 of us, one way, for $1100, I jumped on it. Now we have tickets out of the US–and it now seems like it’s actually going to happen!
I have been looking and reading all about Visas, and I’m realizing it is not an easy feat to get one, even as an American. We have found some countries that are a part of the Schengen territory that will possibly allow us to get an extended visa for business purposes–so, we will explore those routes and hope we are approved.
So, things are coming together…a bit slowly, but I’m ok with that. If anything, I am learning that I need to pray through this and trust that things will come together in the end.
On Wednesday we found out that our church was having their annual garage sale. We decided that maybe it would be a good idea to try to take advantage of the circumstances and see if we could get rid of some of the things we didn’t want to store while we are living abroad.
We called to see if someone would be able to pick up our stuff and sure enough, a truck could come and get our things the next day. This meant we had about 24 hours to decide what we were keeping and what we wanted taken away. Now, we don’t have to be out of our house until the end of July, so this also meant trying to figure out what things we would be ok living without for the next month.We ended up with 4 piles of clothes, furniture, more furniture, and countless kitchen gadgets we have accumulated over the years. The truck came and after 2 trips they took EVERYTHING! It was such a wonderful blessing. My stress levels greatly decrease once that truck pulled away that final time.
So, things are progressing. We have withdrawn the kiddos from public school and signed them up for homeschooling. We have a move-out date for our house and a date of when we will be headed to Europe.
And now, the Great Purge has begun. I expect a great simplification of our lives as we rid ourselves of the items that we have unnecessarily held onto over the years. It feels good. This feels right.
2. Pack up the house
3. Find someone who will watch our dog and/or cat while we’re gone–any takers??
4. Get the carpets cleaned
5. Try to get someone to take over the lease to our car
6. Move in with the in-laws (Grammy, if you’re reading this, can we move in July 26th?) 🙂
7. Withdrawal the children from their schools
8. Submit a homeschool plan to the school district
9. Figure out an online Math program for each of the kiddos
10. Get rid of everything we won’t be keeping in storage
11. Buy Marino Wool underclothes for the 6 of us for the cold European winters
12. Replace the one older suitcase that did not survive our initial trip to Europe
13. Make a list of places we would like to see for the weeks there will be no work
14. Purchase tickets to Europe
I’m sure I’ll be adding more to this list as the time grows nearer!
My husband spoke with the man who is in charge of the European work load to see what we needed to do in order to work there. Basically, the first thing we need to do is figure out if we need a visa—and if we do, which one would be the best one to get?
FYI: If I am misinformed in anything that I write bellow, please feel free to let me know! I am in the very beginning stages of looking into what we are needing to do, and at this point, am mainly relying on online blogs and government websites–so any information and/or help here would be greatly appreciated!
What I have found is that we can stay legally in the UK for up to 180 days without leaving…but we will most likely be in a different country every week, so that shouldn’t be a problem. This is something I need to research a bit more.
I have also found that there are a group of countries (mainly a part of the EU) that have formed what’s called the Schengen States. As an American, we can be in any of those countries a maximum of 90 days within a 6 month period. Once we’ve reached that 90 maximum, we cannot come back for 90 days. So, because that territory includes countries where we would be getting a lot of work in like France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, etc., we need to figure out what we need to do in order to not have that limitation.
There’s an EU Blue Card that works a lot like the American Green Card. I don’t think this will be a worthwhile option for us, as the EU Blue Card seems to be more for people who are going to work for a company based out of the European Union. This will not be the case for us.
We won’t need a residence visa because we won’t be in one place more than 1 or maybe 2 weeks.
One other option I need to look a bit more into is called the Self-Employed Visa through Germany. What I like about this one is that Germany is one of the countries in the Schengen Territory, we don’t have to stay in Germany the whole time we are there, and it sounds like you can get it fairly quickly. The downfall for this one, it seems, is that we would have to show a lease contract and have German health insurance (although I’ve read that the German health insurance is fairly easy to get).
So, this is pretty much what I have learned the last 2 days of scouring the internet for information. It seems our situation is a little different, as we own our own company based out of the US and my husband will be doing contract work for an international company. We are not looking for work, my husband is highly skilled in what he does and he will be doing contract work through one company that has offices all over the world. So, who knows? Maybe we won’t even need a visa? Wouldn’t that be great!
As the very rare spring thunder storm rolls in this morning, I decided I should write about what I’ve been doing to prepare for our journey. We leave Friday for San Francisco, then we’ll be flying out Saturday morning.
I’m learning that VRBO is great for variety of places to stay, prices and communicating with the owners. However, we did not end up booking any homes through VRBO, as you have to wait for the owner’s response and I’m too impatient to give the owner 24 hrs to respond…especially since we need a place within a few days. You can cancel the reservations, so that’s a bonus. Also, you can inquire about multiple properties without being charged for them.
I looked into Flipkey and it was fine. The prices were by far the cheapest, but once you added the fees onto the total price, it seemed to be the most expensive website to book from. Some of the homes seemed sketchy, so I just didn’t feel comfortable, as a newby, booking through them at this time. If we make this a part of normal life though, I will continue to keep them in my loop of websites to look at and maybe someday use them.
After all the research, we ended up booking all 3 of our homes through Airbnb. The fees were minimal compared to the other websites. They keep their calendars up to date. Also, I love that Airbnb texts you and emails you the owner’s response. There were some homes where you had the option of booking right there where you didn’t have to wait the 24hrs for the owner’s response. We did this with the 2 homes in England. I received very quick confirmation back from both of the owners, explaining how we were to get into their homes, one even emailed me brochures of areas to visit with our kiddos. It was wonderful.
A fore-warning though, with Airbnb, if there is a home you want to book, but it has no flash-booking option, you do need to wait for confirmation from the owner. This happened with us in Stockholm. I inquired about a house and then tried to inquire about another one, but a message popped up (of which I’m very thankful for) saying that if both homes said we could stay there, we would be charged for both. So, obviously, I didn’t want to be charged for more than one house so I needed to wait for the first denial before continuing on in my journey until we finally got a confirmation notice from a home.
Anyways, these are a few things I’ve learned throughout the last week or so. It’s been interesting, fun, and an adventure. And of course…there are so many homes out there on the websites, the hardest part is picking which one we think will work the best for us!
We are dreaming. Thinking of ideas of how we could be different. When we think of what the purpose of parenting is, we know it is to raise independent and responsible adults. We would like our children to experience the world, realizing that each place has its own unique and wonderful culture. We want them to get to know people of all different colors, shapes, sizes, and backgrounds—giving them the chance to know first hand that we all are created with gifts and talents big and small…and that every human being has a soul.
This is why we are dreaming. We’re dreaming of ways where we can teach these things to our children, first hand. Experientially.So, we are going on an experiential journey. We are taking our children on a 2-week journey to England and Sweden. We are going to see how it would be to travel around with 4 children ages 5-11 experiencing places, cultures, foods, and languages. This is an experiment because if it goes well, we would like to take the next year to travel with our children staying in a different place each week.
So, we’ll see? Maybe this really will turn into an experiential blog. Maybe you’ll get to read about our lives as nomads, traveling through Europe, Scandinavia, and Great Britain. Maybe you’ll be able to get a glimpse into the lives of our children and what they’re learning and experiencing first hand as they learn about cultures, try different foods, figure out how to convert money, and see fascinating historical sights? Who knows?
I’m excited about the possibilities!