Schengen Zone: In Europe 22 countries agreed to have open borders. These countries also agreed that visitors from outside of the EU/European Union countries which would include the United States and Canada would have a limited time to travel within the Schengen Zone.
This means that you, dear readers, really do need your calendar if you plan to travel in Europe for more than 90 days.
Rather than list the 22 countries, you can simply type in SCHENGEN COUNTRIES and get the list. The UK which includes England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland PLUS the Republic of Ireland are NOT Schengen countries.
As an American you can stay in the UK for 90 days and the Republic of Ireland for 6 months, which gives you 9 months in English speaking countries to volunteer.
But there is a small monkey wrench in this plan. These countries are not happy to have “foreigners” taking jobs from locals. And, actually you are not taking jobs because you are not getting paid … but, it is a thin line. This is why I said in a previous chapter to be sure you speak frankly with your host about what you say to customs agents. A volunteer from Brazil was refused entry to my host family in Galway because she gave the wrong answer to a question. The customs officer actually called and spoke to my host about the situation.
So, back to scheduling within Schengen. Some travelers [young people] would tell you to “never mind the rules” or ” avoid customs and go by boat” don’t believe it.
Look at your map. Highlight the Schengen countries and plan your adventure from west to east, because you want to be on the border of a non-Schengen country at the end of your 90 days. I spent one winter [90 days] in a furnished flat in Luxor Egypt with an English speaking landlord for $250 US dollars a month. I spent my time visiting Luxor and Karnak Temples [in biblical times known as Thebes] and across the Nile in the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens and the Artisans Village. I would not recommend Cairo or other touristy places but Luxor was pleasant.
You could also spend time in Moroco, Albania, Kosovo or other Baltic or North African countries where living is cheap, food is purchased at outdoor markets and where you could also earn a bit of money tutoring English students. Additionally, I spent a month at a private language school in Ukraine and was provided a sparcely furnished apartment and all of my food.
BONUS FOR US CITIZENS WHO WANT TO SPEND MORE THAN 3 MONTHS IN POLAND. Lets say that you want to do 8 English Immersion Programs in Poland over a 4 month period. You want to visit Posnan, Warsaw, Krakow and Turin. Well, Angloville or Just Speak (Gosha) would love you for starters.
This is how it works: You enter POLAND from a non-Schengen country and you stay in POLAND for your 90 days. You leave POLAND for 24 hours on day 90. You go to a non-Schengen country for 24 hours, get a receipt from a hotel, train, plane ticket proving you were out of POLAND. [I went to Lviv, Ukraine for a week] You re-enter POLAND from the non-Schengen country and you are good for another 90 days, at which time you must exit SCHENGEN totally for your 90 days out.
This loophole exists because the US had an agreement with POLAND prior to the signing of the Schengen agreement. You can find this information on the US State Department website. http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/poland.html and http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/go/schengen-fact-sheet.html
This is why having an up-to-date calendar is a necessity.
End of Chapter 3.
As I sit here in Lisbon, Portugal I am at the end of this 3 year adventure. Leaving on a Jet Plane tomorrow for the US, for the summer.
I will be in the Gig Harbor, Washinton area and would make myself available to anyone who would like to know more about this. I could speak to your group, Meet-Up, class, senior center, church or just a group of friends for coffee. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
“The Big But”… dedicated to those who say they want to travel, BUT … is scheduled to be available as an ebook on Amazon at the end of March.
My writing partner, Greta Hughes, a 5 million mile traveler will be in the Los Angeles area this summer and would also be available to talk with you or your group.
Please let us know if we can be of service to you.
This is not the end of the Blog .. the adventures continue!