Up until 2:00 in the afternoon yesterday, when my tickets were finally issued, I wasn’t sure where I was going. I was totally bewildered when I learned my U.K. visa expired, with 8 days remaining in my Schengen visa. I had to leave Europe!
How could you not realize it before? they asked me. I know! But well, I was too careless to assume that U.K. visa works like U.S. visa that the permitted duration of stay starts when you entered U.S. In the case of U.K. visa, it gives you 6 months beginning at the day it was issued. I got mine April 2011. I came to London in July and I assumed very carelessly I could come back and spend Christmas and New Years Eve in London. I was making rendezvous plans with everyone in London! pffffffffft
Mixed emotions clouded me the last couple of weeks. It was a combination of sadness because I felt quite at home and not ready to leave Europe; Panic because I felt I’m running out of time; Stress because I can’t decide on my next step; and generally confused because of all of the above.
Europe. It’s a Wrap!
But before I go on about how I chose my next move, allow me to bring my wonderful European trip to a close. Let me give a round up here as I was obviously very behind in my posts. But I’ve reasoned with a few bloggers that backlogs are signs of living the moment! Also sometimes I don’t have proper internet access. Ok, that’s not an excuse as I have my 2kg Macbook and able to write even in the dark but I was often too tired or drunk or both.
So I partied in Ibiza, too expensive a town to get drunk but the music were enough to get one high. From there the cheapest option to get out was to Valencia. While it was never part of my plan, it’s a place I would always remember.
After I flew to Porto and met an old travel mate Catarina whom I met in Barcelona 4 years ago! I find Porto very beautiful and absolutely love the tiled facade buildings. Then I took “the night train to Lisbon” while I reread the book of the same title. It’s nice that I can now imagine the places his hero, Amado Prado walked. Also in Lisbon where I had the best hostel experience. It’s the people I met there and the environment created by Yes! hostel. I totally recommend it.
On the last stretch of my journey, it’s more to visit old friends and so went back to cities I’ve been to before (4 years ago).
I’m glad that I didn’t Forget Paris on this trip. It was as magical as it was the first time. It was great to just be and experience the city. Then I went to Holland and spent a great weekend with Marc & Pavla.We did a 20km bike trip that nearly killed me but still great. Then off to a 10-day trip to Morocco, mainly to stop my Schengen visa but was surprised how much I love the vibe of the country! It was so fun to meet up with fellow blogger Nina and Cla, my first meet up with anyone from Manila.
Went to celebrate N. Barcelona’s birthday in Barcelona. A weekend of hedonistic experience of good food and flowing alcohol. Then finally in Brussels to meet dear Jacqueline and her lovely family. And it was here that I finally came to a decision. No choice but to make a choice. I’m quite happy with it.
If you just found me, I’m currently on a round the world trip. Check out how I started and my 100th day of wanders.
What to do? Where to go?
Below were my options and I even ran a poll in my facebook page.
(1) Back to Morocco as I found it to be an amazing place! I feel really bad that I’m so behind with my posts again, but then it’s nothing new and I know my readers understand. I hope to eventually write about all of them
(2) Go to Kenya as I have invited myself to visit some couchsurfing friends from Manila, Riva and Eryll. Explore East Africa – we have several countries where we could visit with visa on arrival. Mozambique, Zambia, etc.
(3) Go to US to spend Christmas and New Years Eve with friends or family
(4) Begin South America travel.
I didn’t restrict myself to the above but also considered different permutation of those. For example, go to Morocco or Kenya first and then US for Christmas then South America? Or go to Africa and then South America? Some people who I’ve let into my problem thought I have a really cool problem. I know what they mean but I was pulling my hair out. Actually more like literally chewing on my fingernails. It’s my reaction to stress since I was a kid.
When I began this RTW, my 2 major goals were Europe and South America. I would want to explore Africa too but it wouldn’t fit my 1 year time frame and most probably budget. So I decided to forego Africa for the next time. It deserves to be a trip on it’s own. Plus there are countries in Africa that I wanted to go to that I needed visas.
So finally, after all considered, I decided to just head farther west for the Americas! And I got a really good deal flying out in 1 day. Finance is always a concern, you see.
After a whole day of flying, I’m back in the bustling city of New York, my jump off point to South America.
This entry is my contribution to the 14th Pinoy Travel Bloggers’ Monthly Blog Carnival themed: “Memorable Journey of 2011“
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hi madam, please we would like to ask your help regarding iterinary uk and europe. we willleave philippine march 30 and return may 2. KL-london march 30. france kl may 1. we would like to cover most of europe since we are mountaineers who are used to quick travels just to take pictures to beautiful places..we cant afford your luxury of staying several days…its so expensive madam…we have lots of questions like do we need eurorail pass? well it will depends on the iterinary you will give us. pls email@example.com
Just to let you know that I am enjoying reading your travel stories. I only wish I will be in your shoes one day. Uhm, minus the bungee bit. I’m shit scared of heights!
BTW, you can actually stay up to 6 months in the UK regardless of when you entered the UK. I applied for a UK Visa 14 June 2003 and I was issued a visa valid until 14 Dec. I entered the UK on 24 July. My original plan was to leave before Christmas, however I was persuaded to stay longer so I went to the Home Office in London and requested for an extension. I had to show my onward re-validated ticket and paid £210, not sure how much it is now. They stamped my passport for the extension 24 Jan 2004 (6 months from entering the UK.
Hope you don’t mind me sharing. Safe travels! xxx
thanks for that info, i do know about the extension. the thing is I was out of England (in Spain) when it expired so I couldn’t re-enter to extend. :S
what a lucky u r, visiting places, meeting new people, different cultures, etc, i wish i can do that, which is my dream, good luck to u,
Thank you! I figure it out that we don’t have enough time. It sucks, maybe next time. Thanks for the advice. I’m actually in Dubai right now, waiting for our flight to Paris. Thanks again. : )
come on, how can it suck? you will be in Paris (or France if not Paris). Jillion of people would trade places with you in a heartbeat. Live the moment!
Hi again! I just came back from Paris,France last Wednesday and you were right, it is a huge country. Even though its very cold (the temperature hits up to -10 degrees), I really enjoyed our stay there. I did everything I want to do. I even went out one night all by myself even if its freezing outside. Rode the Metro and hired a taxi just to explore the city.
P.S. It doesn’t suck at all, it was AWESOME! Live the Moment! Thanks :)
Hi wanderlass! I just came across this blog and I really enjoyed it. I could stay here all day to read all your posts. :)
BTW, if you don’t mind I’m gonna ask a lot of questions. The reason that brought me here is because I’m going to France next week. I’m searching about the means of transportation from France to other affiliated Schengen countries. But there is a catch, I’m traveling together with my colleagues. It’s an all-expense-paid trip given by our employer as an incentive so we have tour packages.
We’re staying there for 1 week. Based on our daily itinerary, our free time to roam around is usually in the afternoon or after dinner. My question is, can I still ride the railways and buy a round trip ticket to any near country? Is the train 24 hours? I can’t stay overnight in another country because our hotel is in France and we have call time every morning. Can I ask for any advice? I’ve read your Budapest post(I felt bad for that) and I’m afraid that it could happen to me.
I really hope for your positive response and I guess I’ll be wandering here every now and then to read you latest post. Thank you!;)
The thing is France is so big and neighboring countries are far. I feel that it can be tricky to try to go to another country on a day trip. It can be tricky just going to another province of France from Paris and back again. I suggest you visit nearby attractions. If you are in Paris, you need more than a week to see them all.
As for Budapest incident, now that you know they can scam you like that, then just don’t give in. You can create a big scene or just walk away. As long as you’re confident you have tram ticket.
So jealous of your trip and dilemma on where to go next! I can understand the amount of backlogs you have if you’re on a round-the-world trip. Good luck, where ever you’re headed and safe travels! :)
Thanks, Karen. Death by Blog Backlog talaga. Fortunately this trip isn’t financed by this blog or there won’t be any trip at all. :)
i fully understand when panic strikes and we realize we ran out of time to explore a certain place. hehe! good luck on your next adventures. :)
It’s not the I feeling that I have to see more of Europe. I just want to stay longer and be there. But anyhow, I’m happy to be in Central America. It’s still going amazing! =)