The Big Move

by Greg Zimmerman

With 23 years of military PCS (Permanent Change of Station) moves under my belt, this was the most challenging. In two weeks we managed to sell our truck, move out of our home, ship our cars, drive from Miami to Norfolk VA to catch our flight to Italy. All during the COVID-19 pandemic with Europe being off-limits to America.

It took months to get our paperwork, multiple passports and Visas in order to travel to Italy. The only flight that could accommodate our dog, Gunnar, was the military chartered “Patriot Express”. After hours of checking bags, filling paperwork and more waiting, we finally boarded our flight.

After 18 hours of air travel

18 hours later (wearing masks the entire time) including a 4 hour layover, we finally landed in Italy. After clearing customs, we were finally dropped off in our temporary lodging on base to start our 14 day mandatory quarantine.


The view from our deck

14 days. That’s a long time to be stuck in a hotel room. Luckily we made our reservations months in advance and instead of staying in the hotel on base, we got a “villa”, which was a 2 bedroom apartment with balcony, kitchen, and even laundry!

A very welcome re-supply from the local grocery store

Our sponsor so graciously went shopping for us many times. Delicia found out a Navy JAG she used to work with lived on base too and he dropped off an amazing spread of food from what would soon be our favorite local grocery store, Eurospin. As if that wasn’t enough, he brought us Napolitan pizzas one night!

When our time was up, we moved into our on base apartment and used government supplied furniture while the long wait for our household goods continued. Next up, our first tour of downtown Naples!


Fonda Maready August 19, 2020 - 9:03 am

Thanks for sharing Greg! Fun to hear about your family travels! Stay safe and give Giant a pet from Bentley!

Harrieft August 19, 2020 - 10:23 am

Great pics and great story, but you left the part about the boys vomiting at the end of the trip 🤭

Robbie Dendulk August 19, 2020 - 12:12 pm

Thanks Greg, glad you finally made it but sorry your Casita Less and no longer CONUS. Great adventure for your family and especially the two young future Hilo Pilots. Glad to see you’re still contributing consistently on the Casita Forum. Aren’t Sponsors wonderful as well as Friends. Best Wishes. Robbie (Haole Hiker)

Jill August 19, 2020 - 12:14 pm

Thanks for sharing been wondering how y’all are doing and if you made it to Italy.

Sondra Morris August 19, 2020 - 2:26 pm

Thank you for sharing glade you & family made it safe hope you will still have time for the Casita family be safe 😀

Rick August 19, 2020 - 6:06 pm

Exciting times. I had 23 yrs in the Army with four different tours to Germany as a Soldier (more as a kid). Always loved getting there and experiencing the new culture. Such a big change from USA. Hope you get a chance to do as much camping in Europe as you desire. I did some camping in Italy, France, Spain. and of course, Germany. Missed out on Scandinavia unfortunately. .

Robin Haynes August 20, 2020 - 2:54 pm

Thank you for you and your wife’s service to our country and protecting our freedoms! Beautiful Weimaraner!

Diane M. Davis August 22, 2020 - 12:05 am

Wow, what a move. I love your family storyand the pictures of them. I hope your stay is a good one for all. You are Blessed with your family including the furr baby. Thank you both for your contributions and service.

Jennifer Hecker September 2, 2020 - 10:10 pm

Love hearing that you all are enjoying your new overseas family adventure!

tom Halchuk October 21, 2020 - 12:26 pm

Sounds like a fun adventure for everyone


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