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Price of beer in a bar: ~$4.50/pint of craft draft

Song currently stuck in my head: Don’t Do Me Like That (Tom Petty), though when I sing it aloud I insert alternate lyrics about my cat

Perpetual Tourism ain’t what it used to be. Panama, a favorite destination, was punching 180 day tourist stamps the last time I was there, now they’re tweeting that they won’t even re-stamp people who perform the ‘reset shuffle’ by dipping into Costa Rica for a couple of hours/days and returning. Bolivia now requires a US$135 Visa for American Tourists and limits your total time in the country to 90 days per year. I believe this is new since I was last there in 2007. The EU is poised to make good on their long standing threat of requiring Visas from countries that require Visas from any of their members, the US among them.

Visa requirements are usually a tit-for-tat affair; if one country requires them, they can expect their residents to experience the exact same treatment when visiting the target, usually right down the exact dollar amount. So there’s a solid precedent for The EU move. The EU (and/or The Schengen Visa Block) already limits tourists to 180 days per year within the block, which is a substantial hurdle to my lifestyle. Schengen Area (which is The EU Visa Block) is 26 countries, give or take. That’s an average of less than 1 week per country, travel time included, before you need to vacate for 6 months.

All of this is a pain in my ass. I have no particular interest in putting down substantial roots any time soon, but I’m also not looking to be forced to move on every 6 months for at least 6 months. I just want to go somewhere cheap, safe and beautiful and spend money there without hiring a lawyer and applying for ‘residency’ before I leave. I don’t intend to be a drag on social services (or even be entitled to them). I don’t intend to take anyone’s job. I just want to pick a beach or mountain town, spend a year or two there, and stay or move on as desired. I’d like to be able to sign a 12 month lease on an apartment, but if I have to move every 90 days so be it.

The EU decision looms as The Girlfriend and I are in early stage preparations for a long term Central European trip, as the ‘Central Europe’ map taped to our living room wall attests. Our trip in 2007 was typical traveler stuff, a new town every few days, working our way in a line across South America. Our trip in 2010 was a more controlled experiment in cost of living, selecting towns and staying in them for at least 30 days each. Central Europe is envisioned to be somewhere in between. More info will follow as the situation develops.

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