The Shengen. "What's that?" You might say. Well if you don't know, it is all the countries in Europe that you can travel between without having to cross a border to get into another country (see map below). Most countries are part of the Schengen, 26 to be exact. So, what does this mean for us? Well after doing countless hours of research on all the countries that we want to visit and planning the general route that we wanted to travel we had thought we had the perfect plan. We had read a lot about how you can't stay in any one country for more than 90 days without a visa. No problem at all, we had no intentions to stay in any one country for more than 90 days so visas were not on the mind from then on; probably 4-6 months ago. Until just the other day when the Schengen came up in conversation with my (Kevin) old co-workers wife, who was from Amsterdam, and she suggested we look into it a little more closely. That night we learned that every time a country in the Schengen refers to it's 90 day visa it is in fact referring to a visa for itself and all of the other Schengen countries as well. So Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Norway ect. All require you to have the same visa if you wish to travel within them for more than 90 days. "Well, shit!" We thought, this really changed the way we had to think about our plan because After you have traveled in the Schengen for those 90 days you must remain out of it for another 90 days. 90 in then 90 out, this is the new plan. Luckily, Ireland and the UK are both outside of the Schengen and it is where we want to spend the most time volunteering for Workaway. So we will travel as much as we can in the Schengen for our 90 days then move to Ireland for our first work away volunteering program. Hopefully we will be able to be involved with two or possibly three different programs while we are in Ireland for the 90 days. Once we are allowed back in the Schengen we will head up to Scandinavia and Netherlands area to travel around there for another 90 days of Schengen. We will keep you posted as to what happens after that.
It's was a slight panic upon first finding out about the situation, and more than anything baffled by how we could have overlooked such a huge issue with all the research that we have been doing. Either way it is but the first of many learning experiences that we are sure to encounter along the way, things are once again good to go. We are just continuing to pack up everything else that is not going with and getting it off into storage, which is a whole different challenge of its own!