Right now, I’m in the middle of two very different visa voyages in Bulgaria.
One, avoiding overstaying my 90-day limit in the Schengen Area (which comprises most of Western Europe), and which Bulgaria is not yet a part of.
Two, awaiting the arrival of my new Visa credit card into the country, since my old number had just a lil bit of fraud on it. Yay!
Counting the days
In order to not overstay that 90 day limit, you can just hop in and out of the zone as needed. I had to do some very exact counting of my travel trajectory and figure out how long I had in the zone, and at what point I’d run out of time.
Since I’m going back to America for Christmas, I have to be out of the Schengen Zone for about 3.5 weeks total on this first leg of my trip. I now have a map of the Schengen zone permanently imprinted on my brain, along with every one of Ryanair’s arcane rules and fee structure as I’m becoming a frequent flier.
All this math makes my head hurt a little. Possibly because it’s making the end of the first leg of my trip feel very close, in a way I’m not ready for!
Credit card woes
My new Chase Sapphire Reserve is somewhere in Bulgarian customs right now, waiting to be delivered to the hotel I’m no longer staying at. Fortunately, the hotel staff at Crystal Palace were very kind and will let me know when it gets there, but it does mean I’m more tied down than I’m used to being right now.
I can’t just jet off to Romania for a few days or head up to Austria. Bulgaria is nice so far, but I’ve gotten accustomed to total freedom and this is a change.
Getting used to long-term travel isn’t just about the exciting experiences, and it’s not just about what terrible showers Europeans have either (God I miss American bathrooms).
It’s about learning patience too. And practicing it. Until you get really comfortable with the waiting and the uncertainty and surrender yourself to all of it.
That’s what I’m getting out of this, and what I remind myself when the frustration sets in.