How Do You Bring a Dog To Europe/UK?

How Do You Bring a Dog To Europe/UK?

IMG_0635Not Easily, that’s how, but it obviously can be done!  First of all it depends on where you are coming from? and where you are headed to? in this case of course, From the USA to the UK.  The UK has the strictest rules vs Europe, so it would be actually easier to go to France than London.  We decided that the best thing to do was go for the hardest that way, we had more than enough credentials when we do go to Europe

NO there is no quarantine any longer or we would have never brought Bella along. Simply in your home before you leave, is the required quarantine period.  Dogs are required to have a Rabies shot, Tape worm shot and be approved by a Vet certified to do so, as healthy.  Then, with all that documentation you get to drive to your local USDA office, in our case, Los Angeles and wait in line for 2hrs to have a girl in the window look over all your documents and decide if you have done it all right, and if not they send you away!  If you are good, then they stamp your papers to authorize that they have approved all and you can leave the country and fly on an airplane within 5 days.  They DO NOT guarantee you will get into the country you are flying to, that’s your responsibility. Whew, its hard work and we paid extra to have the vet do ALL the paperwork so we knew it was done right.

IMG_2952Then you have to decide on the best/right crate for your dog because NEVER ever let your dog fly in cargo, you have to get an Airline that allows dogs in cabin in a crate.  Norwegian is the new kid on the block in Airlines and the one with best- cheapest dog friendly rules and Bella could fly in the cabin.  We decided to bump to first class Just in Case there were any issues, we figured we might be treated better if we were in first class and it did make it much smoother.  Norwegian doesn’t have Real First Class its really like Business class but two big wide seats so the under storage was quite wide as you can see here.

Make sure you have dog bowls/water/toys (trusty best friend Pony was there to help with nerves) dog food,treats and weewee pads just in case. (these are puppy training pads that look like a human diaper bigger)

We did a trial run at LAX taking Bella all thru the airport in her cargo crate to get used to the smells/noises and to meet the airline employees to ensure we were doing everything right a week before we flew.  I’m a freak for details I know;  but I didn’t want anything to go wrong and wanted to ensure we had it all right.   I think it really helped and I highly recommend it.  We met with the Manager before we flew and when we arrived, luck has it that it was his day off but we had his name to drop and a desk agent remembered us.

Without the long details and delays, because nothing goes that easy right(we did have small hiccups but all resolved out),    We made it to the first class lounge in time for a relaxing glass of champagne and time to take Bella to the doggy outdoor pee areas.    Note:  do NOT bring canned dog food sealed, this was the hiccup at security, they freaked out over a sealed wet dog food canned because it was bigger than the 3 ounces!  stick to dried food and maybe put wet food in a baggy Not in a sealed canned, who knew? I thought the sealed canned proved it was nothing security risks but NO not the case!

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The big moment arrived and onto the plane we went.  Secured Bella under the seat in her crate with her crate shut for takeoffs.   Mid flight we were able to let her out at our feet at first and then on our laps after everyone was settled in.  We also recommend, and we took, the red eye over night flight so she would just sleep anyway and not have to go to the bathroom;  but just in case,  we were prepared with weewee pads for dogs and luckily didn’t need them until we got to the airport the next morning.  We had an 11 hr flight and she slept/held it the whole way 🙂 LOVE this dog.



Her first steps and pee on British soil!

This is the crate we chose as it rolls just like luggage but lay it down and its a bed. I didn’t want a crate you have to carry them vs wheel them.  it was a bit too narrow in width but overall worked out well and now we use it as her car crate flat in the backseat and she likes her little house. so it was money well spent.

We also rented an Air BnB house for 3 weeks to allow for plenty of detox time and getting used to everything for Bella.  We brought 2 weeks of food (dog food is really heavy) to ensure no change over food right away.  Had already researched similar foods offered as American dog food is not plentiful, so we knew which brand we were looking for soon as we arrived. Bella has special needs and eats only the very best organic,non corn, non chicken food so we were extra prepared.  All went well and in fact, we swear, she is doing BETTER here than in California.  Pretty sure this Scottish Highland dog loves being in her mother land!

Bella’s Coming With Us!

Bella’s Coming With Us!

Bella has decided to get her passport and travel with us.  This creates an entirely different set of circumstances that allow us to learn a plethora of new things.   We tried coming alone in October and we missed her terribly, so this time we made the HUGE decision to go thru all the STUFF you have to do for legally bringing a dog not only on an airplane but into the UK and EU.   We will do the best we can to document our adventures,  so if any of you chose to travel with your animals, you can share in our insight and attained knowledge.  Wish us the best of luck!



The #1 Question We are Asked as Ex Pats???

The #1 Question We are Asked as Ex Pats???

“WHY would you want to move HERE??”  “You’re from California? Oh I’ve always wanted to go there.  Wait, why would you want to move here!?”









Those are the two sentences we hear the very most living abroad!  Obviously, after they ask you where you are from, that is the immediate response by almost all. Why do you leave San Diego and America.  Because we CAN?  That seems to be my immediate response in my head. Because we wanted to.  Because there is SO MUCH more out there that we have to see.  Time is short and there are so many cultures, foods, sights, sounds and we want them all.  Oh, and unknown to us, WE have accents, ha ha.  For some reason people guess Canada first then America.Thumbnail_1000_Places

“1000 Places to see before you die” is my Bible and my guide.  A friend bought it for me back in 2000 and I have drooled over it and carried it with me on every trip ever since! As a guideline of areas/places I would have never thought of, never even heard of; it enhanced my already wander lust and made it my burning desire to ensure I highlight every page before I die!  (I use a yellow or pink highlighter and cross out destinations, each time we go somewhere in the book.)   A deep sense of satisfaction comes over me with every area highlighted.  Thanks to this book we have had some crazy adventures like our road trip to Oklahoma and going to “Truth or Consequences, New Mexico” because it was in the book.  (pretty sure Darren tried to burn the book after that holiday. Sorry to New Mexico and the book, but that is one page/stop we can help you to skip!)



downtownTruthorConsequences-with-happy-cloudsBut other amazing adventures have been had due to the book leading us there.  San Miguel De Allende is one of those places. Spectacular.


And Amazing New friends are met, that you would have never known if you stayed in one place.

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Back to why we would leave California and San Diego specifically; really for me,  its because my feet feel like a  gypsy.bowagon  Travel is my drug, its what gets me excited, its what got me thru the worst economic collapse where we had to Fight to stay alive and keep our houses and business going.  The reward was always the trip at the end, the money to get to go on the trip.  Until I realized, 2-3 weeks per year just wasn’t enough to get it all done and I wanted to get started before I couldn’t hike, sail, jump on trains, etc physically any longer. I wanted to see it all and it was always my answer when I asked the question:  “If you were told you had 1 yr left to live, what would you regret the most?”  My answer was always, “all the things I missed seeing, all the places I didn’t get to go”.  My bucket list was HUGE for travel so I had to get started Now! 10733387_10204095564743488_2428940571303395820_o There was a time that we thought we would never leave California, but with each and every destination and trip we took, we realized regardless of how nice California is, it was time for us to get going thruout the world and of course, EUROPE was our go to destination, as it is for most people.  Where else can you road trip to other countries not just another state?  Until we can cross off all those countries off in THE book, we are UK/Europe tethered.  I want to be at a cafe talking to other ex-pats and when they say:  “have you been to …….” I can say YES, and we find that common denominator for all world travelers;  Great stories of those exotic places you have both been to.  Fabulous stories of the locals, the food, the smells and the joy of discovering something new and being able to share those stories with others that have gypsy feet like me. IMG_3211 10704208_10204109922862432_7744364367300381409_oi_1 We can’t wait to see what each new destination brings: people/food/experiences.  You never know when you are on a random island and someone asks you to crew on a 160 foot Yacht! Never know when you find yourself at dinner in Champagne, France with an entire group of non English speaking people, using your iPhone to translate an entire dinner conversation and it works!   You never know………..there are so MANY adventures awaiting and we are so excited to see what that might be.

The incredible adventure of having No Idea what is around the corner,  that is really Why you leave the comforts of home, the love of family and holidays together. Those smells of a new city, the feel of a new guidebook in my hand, learning new languages and more, that is why we we left and how do you explain that in one sentence when someone asks?  Why would you leave California?

You can do it too, even if you start as a one week traveler at a time, who knows when the gypsy bug will bite you and you too will say, How can I leave and do this full time?  The question from us to you?  Why Not?  and When? Come join us at some point on the journey, we would love to see you! And the great news, if you find its not what you want to do forever, Home is always where Family is, and you can always go back!

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Sometimes Your Timing Doesn’t Work! Plan B

Sometimes Your Timing Doesn’t Work! Plan B


Looking back at our original posts we had such hopes and dreams of being in Europe in 2013; well that plan got delayed. Don’t you love when you Think you Know what is going to happen and it goes totally different?

Well in this case the house did Not sell like we thought right away.  Well it did, in that we got an offer, opened escrow and buyer backed out.  We never got another offer and finally pulled the house off the market 🙁   Took a break from all the house showings and making the house perfect and had to take a mental break.

Instead we decided to explore America since we couldn’t get to Europe, so ROAD TRIP here we come……wooohoo.


Oklahoma was the final destination But with a lot thrown in:  Vegas, Zion National park, Four Corners, New Mexico, Colorado and parts unknown.  We road trip’d down the Great Route 66 part of the time and saw the craziest things on purpose and some as total surprises.  Thanksgiving in Durango, Colorado was Gorgeous; Christmas time in Santa Fe and Taos NM was awesome.  Mind numbing highways of brown dirt/mesas led to crazy singing and driving on the Real live but hugely abandoned Route 66 in some places.

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It was tons of fun, seedy motels as we had no itinerary or dates and therefore no reservations, crazy food eaten and Bella Rocked it all the way.  Rolled into my college town of Norman Oklahoma – GO SOONERS GO BIG RED and had a great time hanging with family.  On to mom and dads house for the GREAT CHRISTMAS ICE FREEZE of 2013!!!!  HOLEY COW I might have been born in Oklahoma but this girl has been in California for 20yrs and I don’t LIKE cold!  However, I did like finally be in Tulsa for the holidays with family as it had been YEARS.IMG_1588

All wasn’t fun and games and food, we also stayed and built mom and dad a brand new Master Bath in 9 degree temps!! Although it turned out fabulous I might say, we won’t be doing that ever again in December.

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Europe Here We Come!

Europe Here We Come!

We are about to start the second half of our life with a BIG adventure of becoming Flex Pats living in Europe as American’s!  Europeans think nothing of “hey lets move to the U.S” and yet very few American’s think, (except for backpacking college kids), I want to move to Europe and learn/live a different way.

Well Darren and Darla have talked about this for YEARS and now we are finally going to go for it.  We have an advantage of moving there and being able to work in two ways:  Darren is a British citizen due to his father and grandparents being born in England, making him an automatic UK citizen.  We have worked on finding about all of this for years, and finally secured his UK passport 3 yrs ago and still have not used it! Well now is the day and we are on the beginning of our adventure.

IMG_2387We are selling our house in Carlsbad as Major Step 1.  So wish us luck as we will be listing it this week.  We’ve been prepping, upgrading, beautifying for a few weeks and this is the week to go live on the realtor MLS.  Wondering how long it will take and whom will love our house as much as we do?

We joined a UK online tutorial group of a married couple in London who have traveled and worked abroad for 6yrs.  They are hopefully going to share and teach us the pitfalls, pros and cons of how to do all of this, and how to work and travel as well.

Our first adventure travel, is we are going to England for 10 days this Fall/Sept/October to check it out and work on getting our credentials for living in England first. Setting up bank accounts, getting their version of Social Security #s etc etc.  and identifying WHERE in England do we want to become our home base for a minute.

But first things first, and that is selling this house, selling our cars, and most all our furniture and possessions as I don’t want to lug anything across the pond.  we will start anew.  So if you know anyone that wants a beautiful ocean view house in Carlsbad CA and furniture to go with it? just drop me a line!

From Whence We Came, San Diego California USA

From Whence We Came, San Diego California USA

Current operating environment


This was where we began to dream of letting go of most of our worldly possessions (and good lord we had ALOT of stuff)  and taking up the mantle of “World Travelers”.    Our beautiful home in Carlsbad Ca/San Diego.   Two people with a burning desire to explore the world and evolve into our higher selves through open communication, meeting new people/cultures and shared experience. Learning all along the way thru experience.  Taking a 10 day holiday once a year or even twice a year just isn’t enough anymore!    Join us as we do our best to document this incredible journey.

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