About jaynezak

"I havent been everywhere, but it is on my list." I can eat anything raw. I can go to the bathroom standing up. I am fluent in hand motions and can speak Spanish in the present tense only.. Though directionally challenged, I can find my way in any airport to the gate and the luggage terminal. I must be an airport savant. I can cram more things into a suitcase than it is supposed to hold. If I have a few drinks, I forget that I cant speak the language of the country i am in. I still carry travelers checks for an emergency thought no one will cash them anymore. I make sure to learn how to say coffee with milk and no sugar in every language. I have accidently used tap water to brush my teeth in countries that you shouldnt and I am still here to write this. I have been to the gynecologist in Greece, the dentist in the Kyushu Islands in Japan and the emergency room in Edinburgh twice ( that trip was with my kids). Heels are my walking shoe of choice. (though I always have the appropriate shoes with me in case I need them) Ive perfected speed shopping and no matter how many bracelets i buy as gifts, it is never enough. Im afraid on small planes. I always have another trip planned (even if it is just in my head) before I return from the one I am on. Those are my credentials. Fly Safe JAZ

Advice I Would Give A New Solo Traveler

Image

 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

Advertisements

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

Image

 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

Image

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

Image

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time

Image

Time

 “Sure, everything is ending,” Jules said, “but not yet.”Jennifer Egan

Every day, most of us are passing time. We often pass time without thinking too deeply about how. When today is gone, it’s gone forever. Time runs through the roughest day. It runs through the best day too. While time is passing—what we choose to do, how we choose to be and who we choose to be with is up to us. We measure time in years, minutes, hours, decades and memories. Here are some of my  ways of measuring time.

 3 weeks until my next dental appointment.

6 months since I’ve eaten dairy or gluten.

14 years since my husband left me.

 2 minutes until I hear the words Mueller report.

5 weeks until I will be in Iceland.

3 and a half years since my dog Basquiat died.

1 week since i moved in with the  BF.

5 months until we leave for Uruguay.

2 years since my daughter got married in South Africa.

4 days since I’ve done qi gong.

15 hours and 20 minutes  until I can drink coffee again.

Fly safe,

JAZ

Do You Suffer From Travel Envy?

Image

Do You Suffer From Travel Envy?

“It seems that the more places I see and experience, the bigger I realize the world to be. The more I become aware of, the more I realize how relatively little I know of it, how many places I still have to go, the more there is to learn. Maybe that’s enlightenment enough; to know that there is no final resting place of the mind; no smug clarity. Perhaps wisdom…is realizing how small I am, and unwise, and how far I have yet to go.”Anthony Bourdain

Travel envy is a real thing; I know because i have it. Nobody’s perfect. It is always difficult to write about negative emotions. Jealousy is definitely a would rather not have emotion.

When I read other people’s stories of  places that I have yet to see, I get that little ping. The little green monster rears its ugly head and all my travels pale in comparison to this place I want to go.

I realize that different people experience things at various levels and times that result from their actions and available means, but when it comes to travel  – all reasoning disappears. I envy those who have seen things and places that I have always wanted to see, but haven’t yet  or may never go.

I am normally not a jealous person.  If i was, I would get off social media. Isn’t social media one giant platform for bragging? That’s what it seems like anyway. All the baby photos, the food pics, the status updates about a new job/car/partner, showing off your engagement ring, your graduation ,wedding, new home, grand children –  what ISN’T a brag? A bombardment of achievements clutter my news feed on a daily basis. If you’re having a crappy day (or month), you’re going to end up feeling pretty shitty when you look at me exploring Myanmar. I get this.

When I start feeling the pangs of travel envy, my cure is to start planning a trip. This is perhaps the best and the easiest way to get over it. Now I have something to look forward to. Instead of watching videos and photos from other people’s trips, I start intensely researching my next destination. I take the focus off other people’s lives and focus more on my own.

I also start doing tourist things in LA. I make plans to try a new restaurant downtown, visit the museum exhibit I’ve been putting off, and explore neighborhoods that I don’t know very well. I live in a great city and there is always something going on.

I look at my photos from my past trips. I tell and write stories about those trips to remind me about all the amazing places I have already been. This all helps with the jealousy I am feeling. 

Even the most well-traveled person has someone else they are looking at and thinking  “now they are lucky–I wish I could go there”. In the last couple of years I have had  many people ask me some form of the question ‘how do you travel so often’?  And the thing is, I don’t think that I travel often.  I think that I sit at home thinking about traveling a hell of a lot more than I actually travel.  Yet people are envious of me.  Which is insane.

Travel changed my life. It isn’t about envy but about different ways of thinking. The world is too big to stay in one place.I need to remember to be inspired by other people’s trips to create more of my own. I have to remember that social media is about the highlights of people’s lives and not the lows. 

 And somewhere, someone will be  jealous of me in a few weeks  when I am hiking in Iceland.

Fly safe,

JAZ