Summer plans

We’ve been asked a few times recently how we decide where we’re going next, as it likely appears fairly haphazard to the onlooker ๐Ÿ™‚

This summer’s plans are pretty representative of our process, though of course it’s still subject to change if something comes up. But for right now (as of mid-June), we have a general plan taking us up through the end of 2017, which is the furthest ahead we’ve planned thus far, I think!

So… back in early April, we were on our way to Bradford, PA, where Al had work. We knew we wanted to stay in the general area (eastern US) until near the end of May, to attend our son’s graduation from Penn Law School. But we didn’t have firm plans for after that. In mid-March, I got an email from Norwegian Airlines advertising a sale to fly to various Scandinavian cities for $200 from NYC, so we decided we couldn’t pass up that kind of deal, and we booked a one-way flight to Copenhagen for the week after graduation, without knowing what we’d do once we got there.

We knew we plan to be in South Africa in October for the SharePoint Saturday events again (only this time with Al), so we just needed to find something to do on that side of the ocean between the end of May and early October – likely some of which would involve visiting my sister in northern Germany. So I updated our profile on the house sitting sites where we’re members, to say we’ll be in Europe for the summer. And that prompted a contact from a homeowner in northern Germany who was looking for someone to watch their house for pretty much all of June – perfect! [That’s where we are at the moment – it’s our first housesitting “gig”, and we’re enjoying it so far.]

We found a couple of Airbnbs so we could spend a few days in Denmark after landing in Copenhagen, and then made our way by train to my sister’s house for a week before coming to this house, which is southwest of Bremen. While I was making the plans to visit my sister, it occurred to us that we could “borrow” her house and car later in the summer when she and her daughters make their annual trip to Pittsburgh. And actually, we could officially “house sit” for her, taking care of the house and garden, and their cat. So there’s another 5 weeks planned!

However, entering the Schengen countries on May 24, and not leaving until the end of August, would be over the 90 days we’re allowed without getting into visas and whatnot. So we decided to “escape” the Schengen area for a couple weeks in between German houses, and visit Croatia, which has been on our list anyway. Some of my friends gave us recommendations of things to see and do there, and at this point I nearly have our itinerary all booked (fly to Split from Hannover Germany, Island Vis for a week, back to Split for a day, train to Zagreb for a couple days, Plitviฤe Lakes for a couple days, and then train from Zagreb to Hamburg).

Then, we need to leave the Schengen countries again at the end of August, so we were thinking of the UK – so I applied and was accepted to speak at SharePoint Saturday Cambridge in early September, which works perfectly. And more recently, we got another house/cat sitting job about 45 minutes from Cambridge for 5 days surrounding that weekend, again fortuitous. So now we only need to find something to do between that and SharePoint Saturday Durban on October 7… We’re thinking about Scotland ๐Ÿ™‚

So, South Africa throughout October, and then a couple other SharePoint events elsewhere in Africa in early November, and then we feel we’ll need a grandbaby fix, so we plan to head back to northern California for a bit.

And that’s how we do it… It works for us to remain flexible and take things as they come up. We try to make a general plan, but don’t necessarily book things until nearer to the time, in case we want/need to change or see a good deal on something.


In which we are Waiting…

Here’s what it’s like: You conceive – and have fun doing it ๐Ÿ™‚ You wait a few months before announcing it to your family, and then to your friends when it begins to show. You make things ready… sorting clothes, buying things you’ll need, getting your house ready. You make plans: “We’ll do this after…”, “We can’t make plans for that because it might be time…”. You have a due date, though people tell you it could be sooner. You’re ready… you’re excited!

And then… and then… nothing actually happens. You have to keep on waiting. For an indeterminate period of time.

“Everyone” told us that our house would sell quickly in our market area, so we should be ready to take off at any time. So we sold, gave away, and in a few cases stored, many of our belongings. We started making plans about where we might go for the summer, before we’re able to leave the country (due to waiting for our son’s wedding and a conference at which I’m speaking in August). And then we had an itinerary planned after that: Florida for a few weeks, then England for 6 months, with sojourns in Italy and Germany.

BUT… After 3 months on the market, we haven’t had so much as a nibble on the house, and it’s gotten to the point timing-wise that we should have been booking flights and flats for what we had planned to do. As it is, the only thing we have booked is an apartment in Cinque Terre for a week in mid-October for Al’s birthday, but now we’re unsure whether we’ll be flying there from England (as planned), or from Pittsburgh.

We know we’re going to need to practice flexibility for the upcoming years, but right now it’s hard to not know what we’re doing AT ALL because we’re at the mercy of the local housing market and drop in gas-drilling this year (apparently).

We’re in the 11th month, and ready to have this darn baby already!!!