Jan 8, 2015
EVO: Did I mention we’re not quite the world travelers you might imagine us to be? Sure, we’ve done plenty of travel to other countries in this half of this hemisphere. But never for anything more than a handful of weeks, and never one with multiple country stops. So as you might imagine, there are a lot of things we don’t know. We need to educate ourselves. Which is leading us to some interesting learnings:
SHE: Italy, as it turns out, is part of the Schengen area. According to Wikipedia, The Shangin’ Area is comprised of 26 European countries that have abolished passport and any other type of border control at their common borders. It mostly functions as a single country for international travel purposes, with a common visa policy.
EVO: That policy allows us, two US citizens, 90 days of travel in those countries within one hundred and eighty days. If that doesn’t immediately make sense to you, it didn’t to us either. In fact, there was more than a little disagreement between the two of us over that interpretation. As it turns out, it’s something best explained with an analogy. Consider, for a moment, an NBA game. (That’s pro-basketball in the US, for those unaware of that particular TLA. And no, neither of us are basketball fans.) In the 48 minutes of a pro basketball game (which sounds like an odd number, but I looked it up) a player can make no more than 6 fowls (which I thought was five. Did I mention we’re not basketball fans?) After that, they’re not allowed to return to that game.
SHE: In our case, our clock starts as soon as we enter any country in the Shangen Area, and it keeps ticking for one hundred and eighty days. For us, it starts on January 17th, when we land in France. And it expires on August 16th. During that one hundred and eighty day period we’re allowed to accumulate up to 90 days in those countries. Consecutive, non-consecutive, all in one, or a couple in all of them… it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that if we go over 90 days, even by as little as a single day, we face fines of 1200 euros, deportation, or some other harsh penalty. Ouch.
EVO: Making it more complicated is the additional 90-day get-the-hell-out period that has to expire before we can again visit any of those countries. For us, if we managed to stay until August 16th without blowing our collected days, we’d have to wait until November 14th to return to most of Europe. How handy. But that’s something we’ll deal with after we get through our first leg of our tour, which actually starts with just trying to get out of this country. Here’s Sheila telling you -- and blaming me -- all about it:
EVO: I’m the “somebody” she was speaking of, in case you’re curious.
[Nightmare booking, continued]
Evo 5: And that sell off has largely happened. Which is good, as we depart on the 11th of January. You’ll hear from us -- and I mean that literally -- once we’re situated in the French countryside. Our plan, such that it is, is to produce a mostly-weekly audio podcast, of which you are listening to. I say “mostly”, because I’m the worlds laziest podcaster. For more regular updates, be sure to subscribe to our weekly newsletter. I’m also a lazy writer, but writing is much faster than producing a podcast. And if you want the full fire hose, check out our blog, where we’re trying to post daily. You can get to all of that -- and much more -- at ShEvo.wtf. I’m Evo Terra. À la prochaine! (Gods, my French sucks.)