I’ve been abandoning my dear blog and I apologize for that… I think my last blog post started the same way. I’ve had many good reasons though.
Life changes quickly.
The past two weeks I’ve not only seen my life change, but the lives of many people around me. Some of these unexpected changes have been good, others not as much.
One of the most amazing things travel has taught me is this: you can very rarely control the situations around you; however, the one thing you always have control of is how you respond to changes in your life. This realization changed my life. It taught me to let go of the situations in life I could not control. I’ve been a much more laid back person ever since. I’m sure my blood pressure lowered once I accepted this as truth.
Why I am living out of two suitcases
You’ve heard me whine, bitch, and moan about visa issues… I’d apologize, but I’m not sorry. Any transient or long-time expat knows the frustrations that goes hand in hand with the lifestyle. It would be weird if I didn’t talk about it as it’s a big part of my life and has impacted many of the decisions I’ve made.
My visa extension in Italy was dependent on my work contract, which last minute did not go through.
Irregardless, I need to get myself back the UK. This is a task which has proven much more difficult than I (or anyone really) expected. My visa for the UK… I’ve hired a lawyer as I’ve accepted the fact that at this point there’s nothing I can do. It’s time to leave it up to someone who does this stuff for a living. If I didn’t need to go to the UK to finish my dissertation I’m not sure I would bother. Not at this point in time at least.
Whenever I talk about my visa issues I always hear the same thing:
What did you do? You’re an American, you can do whatever you want. Just go, there’s no reason why they won’t let you stay.
Oh hell yes there’s a reason I can’t stay in Italy right now and why I can’t go to the UK until further notice.
The thing people don’t understand is that being an American does not mean that I’ve got a ‘do whatever the hell you want’ card. I’d be lying if I said some things weren’t easier, but the point is I cannot just do, go or live wherever I want and the insistence that I can by so many people is becoming extraordinarily frustrating and annoying.
What American’s CAN and canNOT do
- Travel throughout the fifty states without a passport and have the freedom to live and work within those fifty states as they please.
- Enter the Schengen area for up to 90 days within a period of 180 days.
- Enter the UK and remain for up to 6 months (but not without a bit of hassle).
- Live and work in any country in the world. In order to work in an EU country their potential employer has to be able to prove that there is not another suitable candidate for the job within the EU.
- Just hop borders to reset their tourist visa. By this I mean that jumping from one European country to another does not re-start the clock on the 90 day visa.
Visa issues are stressful and when I talk to others about these issues it becomes very clear that many people literally know nothing about it, and how could you unless you’ve actually had to worry about your legal status in a country? It’s been a frustrating and anxious month for me. Italy is very casual about their borders and this casual attitude encourages people to overstay their welcome (legally) in Italy. It’s really confusing, actually. For a while I was actually under the impression that I could just hop countries to re-instate my legal status in Italy.
It’s great to get advice from fellow expats and travellers, but for your sake, always look up the actual policies. Keep yourself informed because when it comes to your legal status in a country, ignorance isn’t an excuse.
Fellow travel blogger, Nomadic Matt, wrote an excellent article on how a non-EU citizen can stay in Schengen (legally) last May. It’s really well-written. I recommend you give you it a read.
So where does this leave me?
I have to leave Schengen. Admittedly, I’ve shed more than a few tears the past week. I’m disappointed by a work contract that was not renewed, frustrated by the UK border agency and feeling a bit without country but as I said earlier:
the one thing you always have control of is how you respond to changes in your life.
I’ve turned this lemon into lemonaid and let go, leaving my future up to Skyscanner.
Skyscanner is a federated search for flights online. I typed in Rome as my departing city and performed a search for flights leaving Rome for ‘Everywhere’ on August 28th (the last day I can legally remain in Schengen), and told myself I’d take the cheapest one-way out of Schengen no matter where it went. I really lucked out.
This American Burd is packing her bags (all two of them) and moving to Croatia in just a few days. It’s a big world and I’ve never been to Croatia, so here I come! I’ve got new places to explore, people to meet and hearts to break. 😉
Croatia became the 28th member of the European Union 1 July 2013… but it’s not in Schengen. Croatia is obliged to join Schengen, but is not expected to join the list of Schengen states until 2015 so I’ve found another temporary home in Europe whilst waiting for a UK visa. Wish me luck and I’ll let you know how it works out.