There are days when we can barely believe that it has been 14 months since we left Australia to live and work in Europe on our ‘Grand Adventure’ that was meant to last for a mere 6 months. As I edit photos for my various stock agencies, it is a bit startling to comprehend that some of the images from England, Scotland, and the Netherlands are either a full year old or very nearly there.
Living out of a set of suitcases and snap-lid containers, packing and unpacking every few weeks — well, let’s just be truthful and say that it is getting more than a little tiresome on occasion. For several months now we have been acknowledging a growing sense of travel fatigue. And it never fails that when you need one particular item of clothing, it’s always right at the bottom (or even worse, in the middle!) of those two practically-body-bag sized suitcases that came with us from Oz.
We carry rather a lot of technical gear too — computers and multiple cameras, lenses, 3 back-up drives, a printer, and more — much more. So all of that needs to go into separate bags that go in and out of the van every time we arrive and depart. And did I mention the basic household items and cooking supplies?
Each time we leave, it takes us several hours on the day prior to departure to get organised and go through the checklist as we repack. Then on the day of departure it takes approximately 2 hours for the darling Mark to repack the van so that it all fits into the back like puzzle pieces. Guess what? We are both tired for an overlapping day each and every time we change locations!
We just need to stop for awhile
Checklist and paperwork for getting a Carte du Sejour -- a French residency card
— and we are completely uncertain if this is the final stopping place (country-wise), but FOR NOW
we’ve decided to give France a try. The photo above is my checklist from the Prefecture in St. Lo and my paperwork. I am getting my residency card for France — the Carte du Sejour. Mark doesn’t require any of this since he’s already an EU citizen by holding a British passport.
The plan (which, to be truthful, is always in flow!) is to wait here in Normandy for a few more weeks until the laminated card comes back from the government offices in St. Lo. When we went into the offices yesterday to inquire about the time, they told us that it would take at least another 15 days and I have to come pick it up in person since they won’t send it in the post. Today Mark is in Coutances getting his Auto-Entrepreneur paperwork done so he can work as a freelance artisan here in France.
Once we have all of the paperwork in hand, we’ll go down to the south of France for a much shorter time than originally planned, and then go on to Italy for awhile. And after that? It’s likely to be either a trip to the USA to visit family or, if our schedules don’t line up, looking for an apartment to rent here in France for at least 6 months and finding some renovating or building work for Mark. I really need to get stuck into the editing work for several uninterrupted months since there is that big a backlog!
The idea of completely unpacking and seeing ALL of our clothing for the first time in 6 months is rather thrilling, too!
Writing and editing in my pajamas
Now, while the house is quiet and Mark is out, I’m going see just how much I can get accomplished in the next few hours. Feet up, MacBook on my lap, good internet connection — life is good. But it will be even better once the key that opens the front door goes into our OWN little home — no matter how long we live there!
Oh my — not going quite a smoothly as expected. Mark has to show the registration office here in France some paperwork indicating that he had a business in Australia and that he was in business for himself for over 3 years. Well we certainly do have all of that paperwork, but it’s in a box in storage in Australia! Who in the world would think to travel overseas with your former business paperwork with you?
I’ll keep you posted as I try to determine how to get the Australian government paperwork that we need. Sheesh! Another time-wasting challenge that I really don’t need! There goes my productive work day. (sigh!)
©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
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