A whole new world. A dazzling place I never knew
But when I’m way up here, it’s crystal clear
That now I’m in a whole new world with you
Aladdin – A Whole New World Lyrics
A thousand apologies for dropping the blog. It’s been a year since I published and, though we have continued to travel: USA, Mauritius, Namibia and the bush in South Africa, life between trips has been uneventful. Steve continued to work at the bank and I completed my book(s): From Vision to Decision: a Self-Coaching Guide to Starting a New Business. There is also a companion workbook and an on-line course, not yet available on Amazon. For more information, check out the information page on my website. Also, if you haven’t already, please like my Facebook page. (Becoming an author has forced me to also become a marketer – don’t hate me.)
I should mention that during my time of silence, not only did I write these two books but I taught myself to build the website too: a very steep learning curve indeed. I mention all this by way of excuses for giving up on the blog.
But All That is About to Change!
Steve is definitely retiring on Dec 31, 2015. His last day of work is Dec 11, the start of what they call the “silly season” here. That is the time when school gets out for the summer and people take off to the beach and Steve’s bank closes until January.
This definite date is an important milestone for us because up until October of this year we were uncertain about our future. We did not know what we would do next. We did not know when Steve would actually quit work. Possibilities ranged from last September to next July. We did not know where we would choose to go when Steve finally did stop working or even if we would choose to leave this country we’ve called home for almost four years.
Then Fate Stepped In.
In September we took a weekend trip to Namibia and along the way someone stole Steve’s carry-on bag with his passport inside – his passport containing his two year South African visa. When we returned to SA, Steve was forced to re-enter on a 90 day tourist visa. We are told that to replace his 2 year visa he must hand carry his passport to the South African Consulate in Washington DC.
After some debate, we decided to view our circumstances as destiny. Fate, in the form of a thief, has decreed that we leave SA in December.
So our decisions were made. We leave South Africa in just a few weeks. When we do, we will fly to Malaga, Spain to wait out the American winter. We plan to study Spanish, explore Spain and Europe, and write blog posts until mid-March.
In March we return to the USA to deal with passport issues, and visit family and friends. We won’t stay couch surfing on the East Coast for very long. We have a place to stay in my home town of Seattle (where my son lives) and we will be headed there April 1.
We have eight weeks to regroup in our “home country” and then Steve will – finally – get to visit Ecuador. Something he’s been wanting to do for a very long time.
This sounds like a busy travel schedule, and it is. This schedule is based on 90 day tourist visas in both Europe and Ecuador. Our time in the USA is dictated by health insurance rules. (For me since I am not eligible for Medicare)
For those interested: Over 35 days in America requires one to purchase ‘compliant” medical insurance through the exchange or pay a penalty. I will be covered by an international policy but it is not “compliant” (they have restrictions on pre-existing conditions for one thing). Since I just found out about this penalty requirement, we may just have to pay the fine this year. But we will factor this new information into our plans going forward.
We have learned that living internationally subjects one to many complicated and obscure rules.
This travel schedule keeps us on the road until August when we have a return ticket to Seattle from Ecuador. From there we will review what we have learned and make a new plan.
We have many regrets about leaving SA. The tribe of people who came here to work the same project as Steve have grown from a group of wild, expat, professional young men to settle down with local woman. (Ah life!) In the next year there will be at least one wedding, (possibly two weddings), and a baby. But also many departures, including us.
I have learned that moving on is part of this expat life.
So, in the fullness of time, Steve and I are moving on to a whole new world. And a whole new life. I will keep you posted.