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.
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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