Tony & Cathy Hill
Retirement is near and we want to travel throughout North America and most of Europe. What better way than in an American RV.
So it’s time to let you know what our plans are. Today is 27th April 2014. Cathy and I (Tony) have been planning our future retirement for a number of years and originally had the idea of buying a motorhome and travelling Europe for three years. As we intended to take our working cocker spaniel - Sandy with us, we thought Europe was a perfect place due to the Pet Passport Scheme. A couple of months ago, on investigating the website www.gov.uk/pet-travel I discovered that it was possible to take our dog to other countries outside of Europe without quarantine restrictions. This opened up other possibilities and we quickly came to the conclusion that the USA was now a possibility. So the googling began.
About ten years ago we visited the Western Motorhome show at Malvern, England and viewed the American RV motor coaches; we both loved them and fantasized that one day we might own one. As the years went on we thought that a German motorhome might be more practical and less expensive to purchase, but the desire for the RV never went away. During my googling I found references to other people who had purchased RV’s in the US and imported them back to the UK. WOW, my excitement started to increase; this could be our perfect dream come true. The economics seem to be very doable. I read that if you reside outside of the UK for a minimum of 12 months and owned an item for a minimum of six months, on your return to the UK there will be no import tax due. This made the possibilities of purchasing an RV in the US, touring the USA, Canada and Mexico and then shipping the vehicle back to the UK a real option. For a long time Cathy has had a desire to tour the west coast of America and I have loved all aspects of the US since our first visit to Texas in 1980. We would like to visit most of the western states, areas of Mexico and the western territories of Canada. Then when we get back to England after making necessary changes to the RV we will set off to Europe for three years with occasional trips back to England to visit family and friends. So the aim of this blog is to document our ideas and experiences as they unfold, which should cover the next five years. We hope to leave home for the US in the last quarter of 2015.
Update - August 2014
Good news, we have decided to bring forward our departure date to January (20th if possible) 2015. This is great news and mainly due to our finacial adviser who has been able to bring our pensions forward without too much in the way of penalties. Next month we have arranged to visit the US Embassy to get our visas.
US imigration will only allow a tourist a six month visit visa, however the visa itself will last for ten years therfore we will leave the US prior to the six month limit to visit Canada and Mexico and then reapply for a further six month stay. We believe that as long as we can prove that we do not intend to abuse this process and are able to show that we can financialally support ourselves and have no intention of working (we have done our full term of working) there should be no problem (watch this space).
WHAT ARE WE DOING
Cathy & Tony Hill
Tony & Cathy met in 1971 at a night club (Rum Runner) in Birmingham, eventually getting married at Yardley Old Church, Birmingham on 22nd April 1979.
Cathy’s career started at the GPO directory enquiries unit. She then moved on to work for the NHS before starting her long career at Birmingham International Airport. During her 27 years at the airport she held positions ranging from Information Desk Supervisor, Terminal Duty Manager and finally as General Manager Customer Services until leaving the airport in 2004. After a four year early retirement break Cathy decided to go back to work and took a position at the University of Birmingham as PA to Professor Richard Lilford in the College of Health and Population Sciences.
Tony always wanted to be a photographer from an early age. He took an apprenticeship with Wilmot Breeden Group as an apprentice industrial photographer but after only two years he was made redundant after the company suffered finacially in the early 70’s. However, he soon got a job with an independent company called Flair Photography. Flair were commercial photographers and in 1971 when Tony joined they were just starting wedding photography which eventually became there main business. After being a director for many years Tony took over the company as sole owner in 1992 and continued until the end of 2014.
Tony & Cathy have over the years enjoyed travel and various activities. Listed below are just some of the places they have travelled:
Touring; Belgium, Holland, Germany, France, Austria, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Turkey, Greece, Morocco, Egypt and in America – Texas, Florida, Nevada, New York, and not to forget our homeland, The British Isles.
Snow Skiing; France, Italy, Austria, USA (Breckenridge & Aspen), Canada (Lake Louise & Whistler).
Sailing; Greece, Turkey, Croatia, British Virgin Islands
Scuba Diving; St Lucia, Maldives, Borneo, Palou-Micronesia, Bahia California, Egypt, Bali, Mediterranean and Teneriffe.
Wakeboarding; Spain, France, Florida
2014 Interests; Cathy – choir singing, amateur musical theatre, pilates and tennis. Tony – dog training and tennis. And we both like socialising with friends (probably far too often)
Family – Tony & Cathy have no children.
Cathy’s brother Simon with his wife Ninette have four children Ellie, Tom, Kelly & Vicky.
Tony has one brother John who has two daughters Charlotte & Cerys, Charlotte's husband is Jose and their son Luis.
Not forgetting a big part of our family Sandy the working cocker spaniel.
Our first photo together c1971