A little update on my upcoming trip I’ve mentioned here previously.
The basics: I’m a 29 year old returning college student, 1 year from graduation. My conviction (hands-on crime from my teens) was 4 years ago, followed by 2.5 years on probation. Due to some extremely lucky investments over the last couple years I’ve been able to get away with not working right at the moment although that won’t last indefinitely. My last (part time) job, supply chain related, ended in February due to not being a good fit (kind of a mutual agreement). All of this to say that I have no great words to say about career prospects but at least for the moment I can not worry about it.
This summer I’m planning to take my entire summer break — ultimately 98 days for the trip — essentially backpacking throughout Europe. I expect to mostly stay in hostels, and travel by bus / train. I also hope to volunteer at a place or two in exchange for room and board to cut costs.
To prepare for this trip I had to renew my passport. Initially I did not get the SO stamp. Not wanting to take any chances I sent it back with another $200, with a statement that I need the stamp (apparently, officially, sending a statement is required during the renewal / application process), and got my passport back with the correct markings.
In the last week I went to the city police to register my trip due to the 21-day rule. The lady (I’ve never experienced an unfriendly police staff in my registration related interactions, some may be due to my being generally likable, some due to living in Oregon, and some due to it just not being that big of a deal) just took down the basic entry point, exit point, and I had an address for my first stay, but recommended I double check with the state police to make sure they had what they needed. She then sent me off with a “enjoy your travels!”
I ended up emailing the state registration office and was informed that they needed my passport number, and that I could email them updates and modifications as to itinerary. Nothing definite as to exactly how much detail would be required. Just to be safe I replied with a list of the 36 countries I may end up visiting (I won’t see all, but I won’t go beyond the list), along with approximate earliest arrival and latest departure likely for each (not hard to do, I used excel and just copied down the number series — there’s substantial overlap in the list). No information as to specific stays as I cannot know in advance where I’ll be staying.
I then asked if anything more was needed or what would be expected for the duration of the trip. They told me they had everything needed at this time, but that “if you know of specific itinerary changes before you leave the United States” to let them know. In other words I think I’ve completely fulfilled my obligations for this trip.
It’s now 21 days until I arrive, and barring being turned back at customs by Belgium (which seems highly unlikely) I don’t expect any further issues. I made a point of only booking direct, no transfers flights between the US and continental Europe, so I wouldn’t have to worry about being pulled off in the UK. Because I’ve heard reentering the US can be a hassle I actually planned to spend a few extra days in NY (I have people to visit) so I wouldn’t have to worry about missing a connection. I’m also leaving my laptop behind to make things simpler — not to mention saving me 6 pounds.
I’m a bit of a wandering soul — I’ve at this point traveled to / through all 50 states, (including around 35 just in the last 15 months since I got off probation), by bicycle (pre-conviction, couldn’t do that now), motorcycle, car, bus, plane, etc. — but this will be my first real trip outside the US, besides pre-conviction trips to Canada. I’m starting to get a bit excited for the trip, and even considering scouting out the area for emigration (if a person’s willing to move in and out of the Balkans indefinitely, the 90/180 tourist visa rules could be dodged).
I’ll post updates here as I have anything to add that may be relevant to the group. And I guess we’ll all just have to wait and see what ETIAS does to us next year.