I admit that I was totally shocked by the result of the EU referendum back in June. I really didn’t think that leaving the EU was a possibility. While my colleagues were sobbing in their morning cuppa, I was trying to assess exactly what the impact would be for my future European Tour.
I am old enough to remember what it was like before we had freedom of movement around Europe, when there were still border posts between neighbouring countries with bureaucratic immigration and customs officials who had nothing better to do than make your life a misery, and when my parents would smuggle crates of cheap beer beneath sleeping children on the back seat. Nowadays the only time I have to show my passport is before and after the ferry crossing between England and France and I can bring back as much wine as my motorhome can carry while the officials spend their time looking for illegal immigrants in HGVs. Travellers can now breeze through the Pyrenees between France and Spain where the only sign of the previous border is a small abandoned kiosk in the middle of the road and taking a ferry between the islands of Sardinia (Italy) and Corsica (France) is as easy as going to the Isle of Wight.
Reports say that it will take some time to extricate ourselves from Europe and probably a lot of money, so I’m not worried about my current tour. Even in the future, I doubt that border formalities will change much from their current state. My bigger concern is that the duty free allowance will be severely reduced, in order that the British Government can claw back some of the cost of Brexit through import taxes.
The major impact for this year is the poor exchange rate between the pound and the euro and I know that my trip will be an expensive one. However, I plan to find as many free places to spend the night as possible and find some good cheap local food along the way.
The most interesting aspect of my journey will be to see the impact of the refugees, escaping from the war in Syria and other unstable nations. We are all too aware of the numbers which have made it to the Greek Islands, such as Lesbos, but I wonder how many I will encounter in mainland Greece or in Sicily. We will see.