April was a strange month. That was one reason why I posted only one article right at the end of April. It was also a month in which I asked myself: “Where next?” But, let me explain what was happening.
As I wrote in my previous post, the UK originally had to come out of the EU at the end of March. However, no exit deal had been agreed between the UK and the EU. So, the UK government asked for extension until the 12th April. But again, the UK parliament could not agree anything and asked for yet another exit delay, this time until the end of October. I have already mentioned that no one should be surprised with this outcome. It really is very simple – no option is better for the UK than being a member of the EU. Regretfully, the UK had to arrive to the cliff edge for most people to fully comprehend this.
But, why is Brexit such an issue for me? Well, it is an issue for several reasons. First of all, I have already been through epic events in my life, when Yugoslavia disintegrated at the beginning of the 90s. Back then, everything changed for me. But, I am not going to dwell on those events, that’s a distant past now. Maybe I will write a separate post in the future and reflect on those unfortunate times.
So, the issue with Brexit is that I don’t really need another disruptive event in my life. Of course, I am not saying that it would be anything similar to what happened in Yugoslavia, far from that. However, the political and economic chaos brought by hard Brexit wouldn’t be any less disruptive.
In practical terms, the most obvious for me is that I would become a citizen of another non-EU country. That would instantly limit the time that I can spend in any EU country, within the Schengen zone, to 90 days in 180 days. In other words, after 90 days I would have to completely leave the Schengen zone for 90 days. Only after that I could return for further 90 days. This basically means that I would no longer be able to have any meaningful stay in any EU country and my plans to one day happily retire in either Spain or Italy would vanish into thin air.
Next, hard Brexit would most probably provoke further devaluation of the pound, a currency in which I keep my savings. It basically means that wherever I go, it would be more expensive than now. It also means that I would be able to do much less than what I am planning to do.
Another point primarily connected with travel around EU countries is that most likely the roaming would be re-introduced. At the moment, when I for example go to Italy, I can use my mobile the same as I can use it in the UK, which is to say that I can use the internet and make the calls the same as in the UK, within the terms of my mobile contract. That would no longer be possible after Brexit.
Another big event in April was that I stopped working. It has been a long time since I wanted to leave that job for various reasons. I nearly resigned at the beginning of the year, but a good friend of mine dissuaded me. In the end, the company made me redundant and paid me to leave. It couldn’t have been a better outcome. It was pure luck!
So, I finally find myself where I wanted to be for a long time. Free to travel. One reason why I started this site was because I wanted to keep a record of my travel experiences. Up till now, I invested considerable time and effort to establish the right profile for my website. So, this important part is already in place!
So, going back to the question at the beginning of this text – Where next? I don’t really know where to start. I am still trying to fully comprehend that I am free and that I can do whatever I want. It’s a fantastic thought.
I am travelling back to Belgrade on Monday and I will be there for 2 weeks. Spring time in Belgrade is probably the best time of the year to be there. I am going to see my family, especially as I am planning to be away from Europe for a longer period of time later this and next year.
Next, I am going back to Italy. A good friend of mine will celebrate his 50th birthday at the beginning of June. I have originally planned 2 weeks in Italy too, but I may extend my stay for another 2 to 3 weeks. I was thinking of visiting southern parts of Italy where I have never been. Good news is that I can now plan and re-organise everything in the last moment, so I am still thinking about this option. But, that will take me only until the end of June.
Then, I am planning to spend July and August somewhere on the beach. During summer months in Europe, people living there don’t really need to go to any far away destination for beach holidays. In summer, Europe offers endless possibilities. But at the same time, I also have to think of what makes sense for me in terms of affordability and where generally speaking I would like to be.
Right now, Turkey is the best value for money. Unfortunately for Turkish people, the Turkish lira has significantly devalued over the past year. This makes Turkey very affordable, while at the same time it is a very exciting and interesting destination. There are many places along their Mediterranean coast where I can go and find excellent beaches. Other possibilities are either Spain or Portugal, but both countries are more expensive than Turkey, although they are equally excellent destinations.
These are my plans for the next 3 to 4 months. Beyond that it’s too early for me to say anything, although I vividly remember my travel across South America back in 2012. I would love to go back there again and visit places that I missed last time and also to go back to some places that I visited already. Another option is south-east Asia.
In reality, these are the only two regions in the world where you can travel freely and in relative safety. You can visit numerous countries and they all have more or less well developed tourist infrastructure which makes it easier for travellers. And they are relatively cheap.
There are of course many other interesting countries where you can choose to travel, but those countries are either more expensive or more difficult in terms of safety and travel infrastructure, like many sub-Saharan countries in Africa. In any case, I would like to visit all countries. But, one step at the time!