Are You A Republican Or Democrat In The Time Of Trump?

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Are You A Republican Or Democrat In The Time Of Trump?

“Thinking is difficult. That is why most people judge.” Carl Gustav Jung

Whenever I ask someone if they are a Democrat or Republican and they are Republican, there is always a silence or I am asked if that will make a difference in how I treat them. That is how I know that they are Republican in the time of Trump. There is such a widening divide between Democrats and Republicans these days. The divergence is everywhere from Washington to my dinner table. We avoid discussing politics in”mixed company” more than we ever have before. 

I think part of it is the media. We all don’t listen to the same objective  news anymore. Our news is biased. Republicans watch Fox News and Democrats watch MSNBC or CNN . Opinion news is our new reality. Between the internet and all the cable networks, you can now get the news with whatever personal  bias you choose.

If someone on the phone tells me that he is Republican, that fact alone would make me think that he is not black, lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual or  nonreligious. If he says that he is a Democrat, I would assume that he is not Evangelical Christian and does not live in Kentucky. There are plenty of people who break their party’s stereotypes but it is not the first thought that comes into my mind.

We can always blame the Russians. It is said  on my news stations that the trolls and bots (still not 100 per cent sure I understand these words) help to increase the fact that life in America is no longer great. It’s now well-established that Russia attempted to influence the results of the 2016 US Presidential Election though the propagation of online misinformation. Whether it did influence the election, and to what extent collusion occurred and by whom, remains a matter of partisan debate. It is a subject we intensely avoid with people who do not share our political beliefs.

As I learned from traveling, when you talk to people  you find out that we are not as different as we think. If we have different political beliefs, we can always find some common ground. Democracy is based on the idea that people from different cultures and different political beliefs can sit at a table and find a solution for the greater good. What is best for America is more important than whether our party wins or gets what it wants.

 We have always been a country where anything is possible and our destiny is in our own hands. We  face huge challenges but so does the rest of the world. We have always had “the right stuff” to ride out the coming storm. We are not a perfect country but we are founded on the loftiest ideals that any country has every articulated. We have to learn, progress and grow.  

Fly safe,

JAZ

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A Tramp Abroad

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  A Tramp Abroad

“Nothing so liberalizes a man and expands the kindly instincts that nature put in him as travel and contact with many kinds of people.” Mark Twain in a letter, dated May 18th, 1867

They say that books can take you anywhere. Reading is a great way to visit far away places, without having to move an inch. I always want to go everywhere I read about.

Mark Twain is considered to be one of the great writers of the nineteenth century. I read Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer in school. There was way too much class discussion about  youth, naivete, racisim, fence painting and Becky Thatcher for a twelve year old girl to relate to.

What I did not know, was that Mark Twain also wrote non fiction and was one of the first travel writers. In the 1880’s he wrote books about travel: The Innocents Abroad , Roughing It, A Tramp Abroad, Following The Equator and Some Rambling Notes of An Idle Excursion. 

I was told about a Tramp Abroad and wanted to read it.  It was free on Apple Books and Kindle. I did not have high hopes for a book that they were giving away.  

The book is about Mark Twain’s travels through Europe “on foot,” except that he takes  every available opportunity to do anything other than walk. He travels by boat, raft, donkey, carriage, train, etc.  Twain has little patience for the standard requirements of travel literature. He dispatches with Baden-Baden, for instance, in a single sentence: “It is an inane town, filled with sham, and petty fraud, and snobbery, but the baths are good.”

The story  is a bit scattered and there are a few too many wordy passages describing mountain ranges, but it is so funny.  It contains some good information mixed up with many amusing anecdotes that lampoon just about everyone. His sharp commentary on society, culture and American tourists in Europe is still relevant over a century later.

 No traveler, whether today or in Twain’s time, would gain any practical benefit from hauling this not short story on a trip. It is not an essential Twain book but should be because it’s educational, informative, and very entertaining.  I am loving it.

Fly safe,

JAZ

Advice I Would Give A New Solo Traveler

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 Advice I Would Give A New Solo Traveler

“Own only what you can always carry with you: know languages, know countries, know people. Let your memory be your travel bag.”  Aleksander Solzhenitsyn

I didn’t  know 13 years ago that when I got on a plane to fly to Europe alone for the first time to visit friends and family that it would be the beginning of my world travels. Looking back, I should have been wearing a sign that said ”I have no idea what I am doing.” Here are some things I have learned in that time. 

  1. Just Go.
  2. Don’t be afraid. Fear is a powerful deterrent. You aren’t exploring uncharted territories.  
  3. Plan. 
  4. Be flexible.
  5. Things will be different.
  6. Manners are universal. Use them. 
  7. You represent your country. Leave a good impression.  
  8. Learn a few words of the language of the country you are in- or at least Thank You. 
  9. Buy travel Insurance.
  10. Stay hydrated.
  11. Talk to locals.
  12. Bargain but do not over bargain.  Fifty cents to you may mean a meal for them.
  13. Don’t rely on technology.
  14. Pack light. Still working on that.  
  15. Ask for help when needed – even if it is with hand motions and charades. I can turn into Marcel Marceau if I need to be understood. 
  16. Blow your budget on that once in a lifetime experience.
  17. Eat the food. 
  18. Be adventurous. Challenge yourself.  The fried tarantula actually tasted good. 
  19. Don’t think you are super cool because you don’t do touristy stuff. Do it all. 
  20. Travel for longer to fewer places. I rarely go to more than two countries on a trip- usually one. 
  21. Learn how to squat on a toilet. You will need that. 
  22. Always know where your passport is. 
  23. Smile and say hello.-especially if you are an introvert brought up in New York City. This will change your travel experience.  
  24. Don’t be afraid to say No.
  25. Don’t be afraid to Yes. 

Fly safe,

JAZ

 Ten Annoying Things That He’s Learned About Me In The First Month Of Living Together

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 Ten Annoying Things That He’s Learned About Me In The First Month Of Living Together

“Before you live with a person, you should first make them use a computer with slow Internet service to see who they really are.” Will Ferrell

 Apparently my quirks aren’t so cute anymore.  But nothing is a dealbreaker yet. We  are figuring out how to exist together in a way that’s both scary and comforting, hilarious and serious, calming and nerve racking, and utterly unique in every way. Here are ten things he has learned about me so far. 

I use the Find My Phone App on a regular basis.

I meditate to strange music.

I like to soak the blender in the sink for many hours after making a smoothie. 

I drink instant coffee even though he makes delicious coffee every morning. 

I am a worse driver than he originally thought.

I spend the last fifteen minutes before leaving the house frantically rushing back and forth. 

Sweatpants and a sweatshirt without makeup is really my home uniform. My favorite sweat shirt is the red one  even though i have many sweatshirts.

I anthropormorphize  a lot with my dog (look it up if you don’t know what it means as I had to).

I believe it is his job to take out the garbage. 

I often say weird things like babe did you see my keys? did you see my wallet? 

Fly safe,

JAZ

Throw A Shoe At It And Other Things That I Learned From Being A Grown Up

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Throw A Shoe At it And Other Things That I learned From Being  A Grownup

The place is changed now, and many familiar faces are gone, but the greatest change is myself. I was a child then, I had no idea what the world would be like. I wished to trust myself on the waters and the sea.” Beatrix Potter

The day after my husband left, the smoke alarm on a high ceiling went off for no reason. I didn’t know what to do. I called him in tears. He said “It’s very technical.  Throw a shoe at it and call the repairman in the morning.”  I took off my shoe and threw it and the noise stopped  (albeit after a few throws). I realized then, that most people never actually feel like they  know what they are doing. We are all just winging it. Here are few other things I have learned about being a grown up.

Anyone can be an asshole; it’s much harder to be kind and understanding.

No one cares if you are popular.

Everything can be viewed as a learning experience.

Your childhood punishments become your hobbies. – not leaving your room, not leaving the house and missing a birthday party.

Never be afraid to ask for help.

Green vegetables are good for everyone and not just a way to get dessert. i even put a bad tasting powder one in a smoothie.

Worrying doesn’t work.

Everything is expensive.

Kids rarely make it to the bathroom when they say they are going to throw up.

Gratitude is the key to  happiness. My mother would always tell me to never feel sorry for her even though she had a tough life because she had the capacity for happiness and most people don’t. She understood that happiness came in moments.   I didn’t realize that was what gratitude meant until I was much older.

Maturity is not measured by how clean your house is, by the books you read or the movies you enjoy. It is not defined by your relationship status or how much money you make; it’s defined by how well you handle all the shit life has to throw at you. Everything else is just a cheap veneer.

Fly safe,
JAZ

Photos From The Brazilian Amazon

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Photos From The Brazilian Amazon

“Is it dangerous to plan too much? Yes, we all need to plan, to have a plan, but life goes on regardless of our plans and we know only too well what happens to so many of the best laid plans of mice and men!” Leslie W.P. Garland 

I spent six months planning and researching a trip deep in the middle of the Brazilian Amazon. It wasn’t easy to find a tour guide  that would go there and logistics during the wet season were difficult. I thought I had finally done it.  But the randomness of life is always a challenge. Though I tried to plan a trip where I could control my health issues, I could not control the unforeseen twist in the path that came too late for me to do anything about it. Fate often has its own ideas. “Mann Tracht, Un Gott Lacht” is an old Yiddish adage meaning, “Man Plans, and God Laughs.” These photos that I did not take, of a trip that i did not get to go on are to beautiful to not share.

Fly safe,

JAZ