Intinerary: First Day of the Best Year of our Lives
Well, we are still in London and loving it. Staying in London this long (four and a half weeks) was a conscious choice. There is so much to see and do here and we know our kids breaking point pretty well (two days of sight-seeing, one day of rest). Other kids, might be different, but if we do more than two full days in a row of activities we end up with two meltdowns. And given that it takes ages to get anywhere in London (I think our shortest bus ride has been twenty minutes) a full day of activity means we only get to see maybe two things a day. People who don’t have kids could probably see everything we will have seen, in two or three weeks.
The other reason we stayed here so long was to settle ourselves a bit before we start moving each week and do some trip planning for the year ahead. We have managed to do that reasonably well.
Planning for the Europe leg is getting there. At this stage we are planning to go there next rather than to America. We will firm up this idea in the next week, but if it stays as it is, we need to get a wriggle on organising this.
There are quite a few places where we don’t need visas in Europe. Many countries are part of the Schengen Agreement. This is a list of twenty-six countries that allow visa free movement between its borders for citizens of those countries, and easy movement with a Schengen visa for citizens of certain countries (of which Australia is one). The general plan for Australians is that we get a Schengen stamp in our passport when we enter the first country (probably France) and then we can spend ninety days in the those countries in a one-hundred-and-eighty-day period. The only problem is with the migrant crisis the way it is, we might see some changes to the agreement, but I think we should be okay (in that we are from Australia and not Syria).
The Schengen agreement makes it quite easy to travel on a whim, and there are several other countries in Europe that are visa free for Australians. There are, however, some countries where a visa needs to be acquired prior to travel (Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan). Some of these are easier than others (Turkey is just an e-visa application). Some are time consuming and difficult (Russia).
Asia has been split into three main areas. We need to follow the malaria maps (example for Thailand) from the NHS and the iamat.org website pretty strictly in order to avoid the riskier times of the year and locations. We are of course stocked up with malaria medicines and have all the hints on malaria care, but still, best to be diligent.
We have managed to work out that for the eastern/central Asia area we should aim to be there in September and October. [Anyone want to meet us in Hong Kong???]
As for the Americas & Canada, well we will make that up later – that is the last place we will be going so that we can have Christmas/New Years in New York. Although we are toying with the idea of hiring an RV in Canada.
I will keep everyone up to date as to where we are at with planning and the visa process as the year goes on.