I took a break from bagging my endless things for donation, to meet with a woman who may rent the house while I'm gone.
Despite my best intentions, I haven't been able to get my head around giving up the dogs. So, my latest genius idea is to put up an add stating what I need and see what happens! In this modern world things aren't always done like they were before, and I'm trying to think outside the box. So I said I am looking for a tenant who would look after the dogs when I'm gone for perhaps six months, in exchange for decreased rent. The rents in my area of California have skyrocketed and even at a discount I could rent the house and still pay the mortgage with a little of my savings. To my delight I got several responses!
So I met with a potential renter and we talked about the situation. She is going through a divorce, has two kids and a teenage sister who lives with her, and is a nurse at a local hospital. Shout out to all the hard working nurses out there! It's not an easy job.
It might be ideal for her because she needs a place to figure out her next move. And it might be ideal for me because she and her family love dogs. A win-win.
Mulling over these decisions after David had gone to bed (nine hour time difference), I was lurking in some of the sailing forums when I came across a post about The Schengen Agreement in Europe. I guess a problem with immigration and visas had never occurred to me because we will be sailing to different countries' coasts in our journey through the Mediterranean, and I didn't think we would be in any one country long enough to make it an issue. But immigration and visas are an issue!
According the the US State Department:
Kind of throws a wrench in our plans to explore for six months.
Interesting countries not part of the deal are United Kingdom, Ireland, Croatia, Cyprus, Turkey, Tunisia, Morocco, Albania, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia. A big part of our plan was Croatia. David had spent time there years ago and has some contacts. It has been on my list of places I want to go to for some time, too. But I never had the intention of rushing from Spain to Croatia to avoid being thrown out of the European Union! David reminded me that we could easily sail to one of the countries listed above in the required time. Distances between countries are not far in Europe.
The alternative is getting a long term visa from one of the relevant countries. From what I read this is quite a pain and expensive. Still, I will call my local embassies and see what the requirements are.