After long careers in education, media and the wine industry Sue and Michael decided to sell up and become international vagabonds.
Sue and Michael acquired the taste for international travel in their early twenties and have enjoyed business and holiday travel in USA, Asia and Europe. But this has always been too brief. Now they have the time to take it slowly and experience the local life, not just the tourist highlights. As the saying goes ‘stop and smell the roses’ and we say ‘and taste the wine, too’!
They start in France early in 2017, where they will purchase a motorhome and begin the journey. Who knows where it will end?
Their little friend Grubie the cavoodle, refused to be left behind and follows them to Paris. She can’t wait to get her Euro PET Passport!
The name ‘Woolly’s Bar & Grill’ arose from the many BBQs, dinner parties, business lunches and Happy Hours hosted over many years. WBG soon created its own logo/branding, merchandise and wine – none of which has ever been for sale. Its 2015 McLaren Vale Sangiovese will be its 9th wine vintage. Michael and Sue plan on tasting widely and diligently to source further vintages in Europe.
Thanks to our friend Adrian Adams from JABA Media for developing the WBG logo, the wine label and this website.
We started doing research and getting ready to depart for Europe a good 10 months before we left. Here is a list of the areas we researched and anything we found that may be of interest to others on the same path.
We have been researching for a dealership and brand of motorhome to buy for at least 6 months. We have come up with Marquet campingcar 77 in Paris, they carry 9 different new brands of Motorhomes, also do clearance sales and have 240 Motorhomes onsite. We now have a contact there and will meet them on the 2nd March.
Getting the right visa was the trickiest thing for us, as neither of us has any European heritage, so no dual citizenship or family entry rights applied.
We looked into the long-stay visa requirements for several European countries and decided to apply for France, under the long stay ‘visitor’ category (Visa type D). The process and requirements are similar for many European countries. For France, we needed to present ourselves in person to the French Consulate-General in Sydney and take all the required paperwork. As well as all the paperwork you would expect, such as passports, birth and marriage certificates, police checks etc, we also needed to provide
In the Visa section of the French Consulate website you will find information and a checklist to help you prepare. www.ambafrance-au.org
We were thrilled when our passports were returned with a beautiful multi-entry Visa Type D included.
Taking our dog, Grubie
That our Cavoodle, Grubie was coming to Europe was a given. She is part of the family.
We found an international pet transport company based in Adelaide and discussed the process. Many people are surprised to learn that Grubie wouldn’t need to go into quarantine in France, provided she had a rabies shot in addition to her usual vaccinations. She also needed to be checked by a vet within 48 hours of boarding and would be checked again on arrival. (She will need to be in quarantine if she returns to Australia). The process is quite expensive.
Apparently there will be up to 5 animals in the hold with her, which has lighting and air-conditioning exactly the same as the human cabin. Animals are not sedated and a key part of making them comfortable with the process is to ‘cage-train’ them ahead of time. We bought the ‘pet pack’ she was to travel in two months prior to her departure and trained her.
We researched various companies here and overseas for insuring health, travel bookings, luggage etc. We found that many of the insurers have a quite low limit on how much they will cover for belongings and baggage that is stored or left in a motor vehicle. Motor homes are classed as a vehicle not an accommodation. Any variation to this cover will cost a ridiculous amount.
You can have your private health cover in Australia suppressed while you are overseas, for up to 12 months at a time and then re-activate it again when you return. This will have an impact on your tax payments.
Several European countries have ‘reciprocal arrangements’ with Australia and this can be checked out on the Medicare website, under ‘Reciprocal Health Care Agreements’. www.mygov.gov.au
There is lots of useful information there about which countries, what is covered and about taking or sending medications overseas. There are declaration forms you can use, as well as the letter you should take from your doctor.
If you want to have your prescriptions filled here and take the medication with you it is worthwhile knowing that some medications are not able to be prescribed under the PBS for longer than 6 months, for others it’s up to 12 months. You can still get the prescription filled for a longer period, but it’s a private prescription and attracts a higher cost.
We reviewed our wills to provide a General and Enduring Power of Attorney and the new medical Advance Care Directive Form. This involved deciding things like:
It all seems a little macabre, but they were issues we needed to work through and that we hope we’ll never need.
We found there is no such thing as a ‘European bank’ or even an International Bank and that every country in Europe has different financial laws and regulations. We finally decided that the best option for us was to stay with our Australian bank and have a Travel Card. We also changed our credit card to one that attracts points with the airline we want to travel on, so hopefully we can use the points to travel business class when we return to Australia each year.
Smart Traveller website www.smarttraveller.gov.au
You can register your travel arrangements on this website and change them as you go. You can also subscribe and received updates on conditions in your area that may affect your safety and comfort. This is worthwhile when you consider that since 2015 over 200 people have been killed and many hundreds injured in terrorist attacks in France.