The mice type on the confirmation email from Delta Airlines has a line that reads, “78 Days Before Departure.” In no time at all the Lezovi family will board a Delta jet that takes us to London and the rest of Europe for six months. Another adventure!
We decided to travel overseas a few months ago when our soon-to-be 16-year-old offered to move in with her aunt in Lakeland, Florida, for her sophomore year. Mikayla had surmised shortly after our arrival in the Rio Dulce, Guatemala, aboard our catamaran Happy Times, that it wasn’t a hotbed of activity for teens. It’s great for the silver foxes on boats and fixed incomes; not so for those who sport all their hair and multiple piercings.
Splitting up the family is not an option. Mom and Dad aren’t ready to face an empty nest by sea or by land. We still have much to teach Mikayla before she strikes off on her own, and we need a bit more time to become accustomed to the idea that one day she’ll leave us for the wide open spaces—where there’s room to make a big mistake as the Dixie Chicks say.
We had considered sailing Happy Times across the Atlantic to the Mediterranean in April of next year. After gathering information from other cruisers, we decided that that would be an expensive proposition. Many marinas charge an extra 50% for slips for catamarans. Even friends on monohulls often must spend 80 euros to stay overnight, and that doesn’t include power or water. Portugal and the south of Spain on the western end of the Mediterranean and Turkey on the eastern side offer low prices, fascinating cultures and many anchorages. It’s the area in between that’s worrisome.
Then there’s the fact that while in Europe in 2013 we want to cruise the inland areas where we’ll find museums, historical sites and large cities. Why take Happy Times across the pond simply to leave it docked?
Now we plan to house-sit and pet-sit our way across Europe. We’re registered with MindMyHouse and TrustedHousesitters. We’re promoting our experience as longtime homeowners able to make minor home repairs and maintain a swimming pool. We’re also pushing my skills as a landscape designer in case a homeowner needs help with a garden. As for domestic animals, we can care for cows, pigs, chickens, dogs, cats, fish, and gerbils.