And so we sit in the aircon of our Aruba apartment for the upcoming 2 weeks. Not really how we planned to start our journey, but with Covid-measures still in place, we decided it is the best option to go with.
How we ended up here?
Well, after 1 year of delaying our plans, our patience was really wearing very thin for starters. But second, the risk of spending much more money than planned and the continued uncertainty of Joe Biden taking down his Presidential Proclamation were a close second.
As our flight date to Seattle was approaching, we were getting very anxious to leave. Many things were planned and arranged, and with that, the actual start of our journey seemed to be at our fingertips. We had a checklist made that would need to be done before we could leave:
- Buy an RV in the United States
- Get fully vaccinated against Covid-19
- The border of the US reopened for Europeans from the Schengen area
Buying an RV
Now that was quite the challenge in itself! We have searched through Craigslist, Facebook, dealers and other search sites, and guess what? Due to Covid-19 EVERY American is looking to buy an RV to be able to enjoy their home country. You can imagine selling to someone overseas was not their first choice. We started expanding the location of a potential RV to the entire West of the US and ended up buying one in…. Miami, Florida! Pretty much the furthest away from Seattle you can get, but thanks to our new American best friend Chris from Called To Wander, we managed to get the RV up across the country in time for us to pick it up.
Getting fully vaccinated
Here some luck and preparation were in order. With one of us with a medical indication (Sven has no spleen) that should be ticked off before us leaving, but the other one without would be a challenge. We were not counting on the vaccination to speed up as it did, so decided to get close to the source to see if that would speed up the other vaccination. End result: 5,5 months of working in one of the most fun and challenging environments resulted in 1 speedy vaccination, while the planned early medical indication route came JUST in time…
US Border reopened
So here is the tricky one… it is not that we are not allowed in because we are FROM the Schengen area, it is the fact that we were physically present IN the Schengen area that we could not travel to the US directly. As our flight time was approaching (and the email flow of British Airways was becoming tidal reminding us of all the things to do before leaving) Joe Biden even visited the EU, and the EU itself vouched to get the restrictions on US citizens revoked… but no sign of the US doing the same in return.
So with 4 more days before our departure, we decided to change the plans, and take a detour to the US through the Caribbean. Strangely enough, this way you CAN enter the US as long as you have been away for at least 14 days before you travel in. Why we did not think of this earlier I hear you wonder? Well… we are traveling with 2 big boxes with bikes, which is VERY inconvenient, but on top of that the original tickets to Seattle were a fantastic deal which would be a shame to let go to waste….
The silver lining(s)
There always are silver linings to any scenario of course… we found quite a few:
- Aruba is not a bad place to ‘quarantine’ in… It is dubbed the ‘Happy Island’… need we say more?
- There is now a chance we may not have to do another PCR test to get in, as around the 8th of july our vaccination might be sufficient.
- The border with Canada (another point on our checklist, but not a showstopper) may actually open in july, which would mean we can still go ahead with our plan to head up north into Canada and Alaska.
- Last but certainly not least – this break bought us time to get this website up and running for you all to follow us on this fantastic journey
As we travel, we will continue to keep you posted on the things we do through this site, and you can check our physical location on our Polarsteps site. Let us know if you are close by, or know somebody/something worthwhile in the neighborhood!