In January Rachel and I will move to Europe for three months to work on organic farms in Spain, France and Germany.
Extended travel is a long-standing dream of ours, but the two lingering questions have been “what are we going to do?” (sitting on a beach gets old after a few weeks), and “how do we afford it?” Both concerns were alleviated when we found HelpX, a site where small farm owners offer room and board in exchange for thirty hours a week of labor.
We subleased our apartment, furnished, to a guy who is moving to Chicago and needs a short-term lease to get his feet under him. We’ll park our car and cats with Rachel’s parents in Buffalo. My cell phone is off-contract, and we’ll pay $10/month to suspend Rachel’s plan. The only outstanding expense is our student loans, which we’ve been throwing a bunch of money at over the last eighteen-months in hopes of making this trip a reality. We’ll drop to the minimum payment for the remainder until we get back.
Our itinerary is far from filled out. We drive to Buffalo on Jan 1. On Jan 5 we fly from NYC to Barcelona. A few days later we head to a small dairy farm for two weeks of cow milking and cheese making. Then we head to San Sebastian, home of some of the best restaurants in the world, and then on to Paris, where I fortuitously discovered that one of my favorite bands, Explosions in the Sky, is playing a show on Jan 30. After that, details get fuzzy.
We know that we have to be out of Europe by April 5 due to the terms of the Schengen Visa, which allows only 90 days of residence within a 180-day period. We’re not making plans for what happens then. We expect this to be a life changing experience, and want to leave the doors open to opportunities that may arise.