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Fri Jun 24 2016: An Exit From Europe

We are leaving Santorini with great reluctance. It's so pretty here and the weather has been amazing. Although we are taking our time through Eastern Europe, there is still an appointment we have to keep coming up on the calendar.

Riding back on the switchbacks to the main port at the base of the west cliffs of Santorini

One last look at the cerulean blue Aegian sea and sky

The ferry dock is crowded with tourists coming to and from the mainland and the other islands. Our ferry is slightly delayed, and we find a shady spot to people-watch while we munch on the pastries we had bought from our filo shop on the way down.

Mmmm... filo...

The strongest man in Greece is employed by the ferry company to haul the boats onto the dock by rope

Another 8 hour transit by ferry is made bearable by cross-stitching and a bit of blogging.

We've been on the road non-stop for many months now and I haven't been able to keep up with my documentation. The blog is many months behind, but the weather is just so good that we don't want to pause our travels, for fear that the rains will somehow find us in this corner of the world. All our friends in Western Europe have been PMing us constantly the last couple of months: "Are you in Belgium/Germany/Switzerland/UK? It's been raining for weeks now. Is this your fault?!?"

Nope. Not us this time. It's been sunny and awesome wherever we are. I feel like we've broken a curse or something! :)

We check back into the same AirBnB that we stayed in before leaving for Santorini. The owner is delighted at the gift of rocks from the Red Beach. Neda kept most of them for herself though. Because when you are traveling light, riding motorcycles around the world, you want to be carrying a tankbag full of rocks...

Do you want some help carrying that tankbag inside, Neda?

The next morning, we woke up to shocking news: Britain had just voted to leave the European Union.

The looming Brexit vote has been background noise in the news for the last few months now. It was a thing that was mildly interesting, but something everyone knew would just pass after the majority inevitably voted to Bremain.

It reminds me of the separatists in Quebec. Every 15 years like clockwork, they have a referendum about whether to stay or split from Canada. Then, a slim majority votes to stay. Everyone feels like their issues have been aired and it's business as usual for another 15 years...

Apparently not so, this time.

There's a lot of confusion and many unanswered questions - not just for me, a UK citizen traveling in the EU, but for many EU nationals currently living in the UK.

I've been in the Schengen Zone for over a couple of months now. Do I have to leave the zone once I hit 90 days? Or does the clock start today? We are planning to visit England later on this season. Will Neda now need a visa? How long will she be able to stay?

But more importantly, this has greater impact on our future. Europe has become a second home to us. We have so many friends and family here. It's one of the places we've thought about settling down in after our trip is over. But now we're a divided family. I don't know what my rights are to settle down in Europe. If we wanted to live in the UK, what are Neda's rights? I can't find any information on-line. This whole Brexit vote seems so ill-thought-out.

The news is full of people in the streets of UK hurling insults at minorities, telling them that because Brexit won, they had to leave the country immediately. Some of these minorities are UK citizens. Like me.

My wife, who was born behind the Iron Curtain shakes her head. "It seems like just yesterday we were tearing down walls in Europe. Now we're putting them back up." Neda is so smart, hard-working, socially conscious, always thinking of the greater good. She's the best of what Europe has to offer. Britain would be lucky to have her living there, contributing positively to that society.

I hope more information comes out in the following days. We may have to give the UK a wide berth. Scotland is now talking about separating and joining the EU. We may go there instead.

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