Today I learned something. The Schengen Visa that we would have taken advantage of due to our Canadian nationality, is a short stay Visa. It allows a person to travel to any members of the Schengen area for stays up to 90 days in a 180 day period. I do not know why I did not pick up on this sooner but I always had this idea that people backpacked around Europe for months at a time when I was younger.
What does this mean for our plans? At a high level we had planned on staying from September to the beginning of January in the countries along the Mediterranean. That would have been something closer to 120 days which does not fit into the parameters of the Visa. We have a few options but two seem most likely.
We could start the European leg of our journey a month later. This would allow us an extra month in North America spending time with family and ensuring we really have all of our loose ends tied up. It would also ensure that we do not abandon our Christmas in Italy plans
The other option is we could just leave Europe a month earlier and Christmas somewhere else. The benefit of this would be that it gives us more time traveling outside of our continent which was a key part of the trip.
At the end of the day this is by no means a “real” problem. It is just the first of many adjustments to our dream that we can only learn by reading and preparation. On this front, we still have some work to do.