The Schengen Zone (to me) sounds like a really hip, Norwegian yoga studio where beautiful people hangout and exercise without sweating. But as it turns out, it’s something that is actually very exciting for my life that I had (obviously) never heard of. My excitement has led me here, to tell you guys. So pull up a seat (or a smart phone) and if you wanna spend some long-term time in Europe for as little hassle as possible – PAY ATTENTION.
I’ve had an idea floating around in my head for a few years now, which consists of me building an income through online freelancing work which would then allow me to spend more time with my family (sappy, I know) and travel the world (WHAT A CLICHE). The issue I had while trying to put some of the idea into motion was visas and border requirements for different countries. Talk about a mega headache. Stumbling across The Schengen Zone, however, has eased a little of that headache.
So what is The Schengen Zone and how many times do you think I can say Schengen Zone in one post? I vote A LOT, because it’s kinda fun to say. The real answer though is that it’s an agreement between certain European countries that allows tourists from certain areas to pass between the countries without showing their passports or obtaining a visa, and without having crazy big scary border stations to cross. It means you could essentially drive through Europe and not even realise you’re in a completely different country.
The fun thing (to me anyway) is the fact that in a 180 day period, you can spend 90 days in The Schengen Zone without a visa and you’re totally fine. Once those 90 days are up, you simply move on to Non-Schengen countries for 90 days and explore there. Then, once those 90 days are up – REPEAT THE PROCESS! If done correctly, and if you’re able to travel without needing a local job (I.E. You have your own business back home), you can potentially spend a year or even more on the European continent visa free.
If you have heard of this before at all, you may have also heard that the majority of Europe is in the Schengen Agreement, which then leads to you thinking ‘where the hell is left for me to go for the 90 days I have to leave?’. I’m going to list the countries that are non-Schengen below:
-The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
There’s also some Non-Schengen things happening with Ireland and the U.K., but I personally find those places too similar to my home to spark my travel interest at the moment, so I won’t talk about them.
The ones I listed though, are not exactly the most talked about tourist destinations. That’s got an appeal to me. It’s almost like if Europe was a dog and it’s countries were its litter of puppies, these would be its runt puppies (this is a high compliment from me, I promise). Which actually makes me more drawn to them! They give me the idea that I could go there and explore and actually be surprised because I know so little about them! Rather than look at something and say ‘Yep, that looks like the google image I’ve seen everywhere’.
To give you an idea of the plan I’m half-ass-edly forming, I’d like to live in Europe for one year once SLW gets a little more successful. I’d like to stay in tiny villages, probably only 4 or 5 throughout the year, and really immerse myself in the culture. There’s a part of me that hopes doing this would finally make me finish the novel I’ve been writing for the last 18 months, but that probably won’t happen. The countries I’m considering for my year ( in order ) are Portugal, Romania, Greece & Croatia. The Schengen Zone will 100% allow me to make this happen.
Hope this gave you some information and maybe even sparked some travel ideas! I’m happy to answer any questions you may have, as God knows I struggled with how it worked to begin with 😂
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(Photos courtesy of PixaBay)