A question people ask us all the time is “What is your plan?” Aleth and I have spent quite a bit of time discussing the possibilities and we think we have come up with our plan. We are going to work full-time 4 more years and then pack up or sell all our possessions in San Francisco and move to Cortila, Italy. This will be our home base for the majority of the year, approximately 8 months out of 12. The other 4 months will be split between our condo in Turks and Caicos when it’s available and in Rhode Island with the family likely around the holidays. I have another idea about learning to sail and buying a catamaran to cruise around the Caribbean. Something like this…
The challenging location is Turks and Caicos because we’d love to be there during the cold months (January – March) but that is also when renters are paying $$$ to stay in our condo. So my rationale is the catamaran would allow us to be on island during the winter months with two options. We would stay on the boat when our condo is rented and when vacant we’d be on the beach at Grace Bay. Aleth is a bit resistant to this idea because she thinks she doesn’t know how to swim. The truth is she can swim but lacks confidence in her swimming ability. We’ll need work on that in preparation for this part of the plan. I have been inspired by Jason and Nikki Wynn who travel the world on a beautiful sailing catamaran. Check out their amazing, fun and informative sailing adventures here.
The next big challenge we need to deal with is health insurance. Our most likely solution is to buy an international health coverage plan from Cigna or Aetna. These plans cost about $1,000/month and cover most anything we’d need. There is an chance I might be covered by Italy’s national health system as I am an a citizen of the EU via my Irish passport. Not really sure what is required here yet, so lots of research to do and long Q&A sessions over wine with nearby expats. Aleth has been a nurse her whole life so she may be provided coverage in retirement as well. Can you tell we haven’t done much work on this subject yet?
I have collected a couple of quotes for shipping our personal effects to Italy from San Francisco. Both companies were in the $3,000 range to drop a shipping container on the street at our house in the city, allow us to pack it up, trailer it to a ship in the Port of Oakland, ship it to Milan, and finally trailer is to our house in Cortila. Apparently it would take 3-4 weeks for the container to arrive in Italy. It is fun to think about what we would bring and what we’d sell/throw away. I hate packing and moving so hopefully this will be the last time!
The final thing we need to learn much more about is establishing residency in Italy, otherwise we’d have to leave the country every 90 days which isn’t hard in Europe but it would be nice if it weren’t required. I have found this blog by Chandi Wyant to be the most informative source of truth as she went through the convoluted process. I have been told by numerous people that INAC is an effective service that helps newcomers with the immigration paperwork. I expect this will not be a fun process as we are slowly learning Italian and the folks who work at government agencies aren’t always pleasant when you don’t speak their language. I learned this the hard way when I went to get barcoded garbage bags from the commune in Fivizzano. I’m not sure if all of Italy does this Cortila and many of the neighboring towns utilize garbage that have unique bar codes on them> The trash company scans all the bags and charges you according to how much waste you create. While we don’t live there now it seems like a great system but when we become frequent trash makers, I’m sure the novelty of this “pay to trash” system will wear off.
That’s about it for now. We have purchased our flights for our summer visit in June. We will spend 2 weeks in Italy and 1 week in Paris. We are flying our usual SFO>JFK>Milan on JetBlue and Emirates. However, the return trip will be a new experience as we are giving Norwegian Air Shuttle a chance flying from Paris to Oakland. We selected this flight because it is direct and the price for business class was around $1000…so it seemed like a deal and now we pray we don’t regret the decision. I have to say the Norwegian booking process via their website was awesome and their follow-up emails have been smart and timely. If we have discovered anything yet it is that they have excellent marketing services. Finally, I have decided to step up my game and start taking more videos and including them in the blog. I have found myself really enjoying well produced videos like the Wynn’s productions. So lets see if I can produce decent video content. Ciao!