Things That I Have Stopped Thinking About Since I Started Traveling

Things That  I Have Stopped Thinking About Since I Started Traveling

“I soon realized that no journey carries one far unless, as it extends into the world around us, it goes an equal distance into the world within.’  Lillian Smith

How I look when I travel   I’m a little vain. I’m the kind that doesn’t like to go out without makeup or the right kind of casual attire. (Which jeans should I wear today?) But when I travel, I don’t think about my appearance, which lifts an incredible burden off my shoulders. I wear what’s comfortable, easy to travel in, and just go. I notice from my photos wearing the same clothes in every country, that I have a travel wardrobe. It works.

Personal Drama   Someone is inevitably mad at me because I say whatever comes into my head. There is usually drama in my life. Real relationships and friendships stand the test of travel because going away puts life into perspective. There are people who I miss and keep in contact with while exploring the world. Traveling does have a way of quickly separating strong, healthy bonds from dysfunctional, dramatic ones. Some of the people I have left behind should probably have been left behind a while ago.

Possessions    When I travel, my possessions boil down to essentials. As I packed up my house that I have lived in for a long time, I reminded myself of how little I need around the world.

Anxiety   Traveling keeps you in the present moment. I rarely have anxiety when I travel because whatever I am worrying about is usually not happening at that moment.  It helps me in my not traveling life as well. Not as much as I would like, but I’m working on it.

My weight   I’m genetically a thin person. I’m basically a healthy eater with a closet junk food mentality. I’ve learned that I can eat what I want in moderation . I don’t get on a scale very often any more. I don’t worry that I’m not perfectly ripped and toned. i don’t work out like a maniac. I’m a foodie . I enjoy trying food and restaurants here and abroad. I don’t eat meat or gluten except when I do. My focus has become on everything else around me and not on how I come across. It’s a big thing when you realize the world is not about you.

Social media   The robotic and frequent opening of email and Facebook stops when I am traveling. A lot of places I go to don’t have service and whatever is going on at home seems very far away from what I am doing. Other than posting on instagram and sending out my quotes, I tend to read a lot more instead.

What people think about me   I used to care a lot about what people thought of me and my family. It’s human nature to care what people think.  At the end of the day, you are the one who has to live with the choices you make. Now I only care about where I’m going next.

Having regrets   Everyone has their own path in life, and their own way of achieving it.
When I am traveling, I don’t worry or compare — I know that this is exactly the path I was meant to be on.

Fly safe,

JAZ

Staying Sane In An Insane World

“The most insane things can become normal if you have them around you long enough. A mind can’t seem to hold anything too crazy for too long without finding a way to make it seem normal.” Deb Caletti

You can get used to anything. You think you can’t but you can. When I came home from New Zealand I had horrible anxiety every time I turned on the TV. There was another Presidential order that was always badly rolled out and more protests. There is way too much bad news bombarding us twenty-four hours a day.

A few weeks later, I just feel numb. I am becoming desensitized. Things were said today  that went almost unnoticed. A month ago they would have been front page news. What is going on in America is wrong and it takes all my sanity to get through the day. In the midst of all this I am trying to live a conscious life of kindness and intelligence. Just because America is going insane does not mean that I have to follow.

The cause of these external events have been a long time in the making. They did not just happen. There are no simple answers. Finding a scapegoat to blame sounds very fascist to me. It’s the Muslims. It’s the Feminists. It’s the Immigrants. It’s the Jews. It’s the NRA.  It’s the Whites. It’s the Blacks. It’s ISIS. It’s the Environmentalists. It’s the Left. It’s the RIght. It is so convenient to have someone to blame – especially when said in a confident, authoritative voice. It’s becoming really hard to separate the real threats from the manufactured ones.

Here are some real threats. There are 117 suicides in the U.S. each day compared to 43 murders. There are 129 deaths from accidental drug overdoses. Ninety six  people a day die  in automobile accidents (27 of whom aren’t wearing seat belts)There are 1,315 deaths each day due to smoking, and 890 related to obesity, and all the other preventable deaths from strokes, heart attacks and liver disease.

I need meditation and yoga in my life now.  I can’t exhale this out. Beaches and travel help. I allow a short time period to watch the news and take days off. It looks to me like all this fear mongering is illogical. We are the biggest threat to ourselves.

Fly safe,

JAZ

Good Quotes For The New Year

“I never said half the crap people said I did.“Albert Einstein

1. I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.  So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make new mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life. Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it. Make your mistakes, next year and forever.” Neil Gaiman

2. “If you are not a better person tomorrow than you are today, what need have you for a tomorrow?”Rebbe Nachman of Breslov

3. To teach how to live without certainty, and yet without being paralyzed by hesitation, is perhaps the chief thing that philosophy, in our age, can still do for those who study it.”  Bertrand Russell

4. “Tomorrow, is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one.”
Brad Paisley

5. “Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives – choice, not chance, determines your destiny.” Aristotle

6. “The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective.” G.K. Chesterton
7. For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice, and to make an end is to make a beginning.” T.S.Eliot

8, “I truly believe we can either see the connections, celebrate them, and express gratitude for our blessings, or we can see life as a string of coincidences that have no meaning or connection. For me, I’m going to believe in miracles, celebrate life, rejoice in the views of eternity, and hope my choices will create a positive ripple effect in the lives of others. This is my choice.” Mike Ericksen

9. “And now let us believe in a long year that is given to us, new, untouched, full of things that have never been, full of work that has never been done, full of tasks, claims, and demands; and let us see that we learn to take it without letting fall too much of what it has to bestow upon those who demand of it necessary, serious, and great things.” Rainer Maria Rilke

10. Honor to the earth,” the abbot said, “honor to the dead in the passing of the year; honor to the living, in the coming of the new. A Great Year passes tonight. A new one begins. Let the good that is old continue and let the rest perish…” C. J. Cherry

11. We try to help where we can, and try to survive our own trials and stresses, illnesses and elections. We work really hard at not being driven crazy by noise and speed and extremely annoying people, whose names we are too polite to mention. We try not to be tripped up by major global sadness, difficulties in our families or the death of old pets…
We work hard, we enjoy life as we can, we endure. We try to help ourselves and one another. We try to be more present and less petty. Some days go better than others. We look for solace in nature and art and maybe, if we are lucky, the quiet satisfaction of our homes…

We’re social, tribal, musical animals, walking percussion instruments. Most of us do the best we can. We show up. We strive for gratitude, and try not to be such babies.” Annie Lamott

Happy New Year and Fly Safe,

JAZ

25 Things That I Wanted To Do In 2015. Did I Do Them?

25 Things That I Wanted To Do In 2015. Did I Do Them?

Promises are like babies: easy to make, hard to deliver. ~Author Unknown

1. Do something big that I am afraid of. Yes
2. Drink less coffee. No
3. Go to Rio. Yes
4. Go To Another Grouplove concert. Yes
5. Finish my hamburger blog. Yes
6. Get more people to read my blog. Trying
7. Try eleven more new restaurants in LA. Pistola, New Port, Stir Market, Gracias Madre, Ledlow, Pot, Zinc, The Larder, Burger Lounge, Terrine, MessHall, Fred, Odys and Penelope, Tacoteca, Bel Campo Meat Co, Jon and Vinny, SMYC, Ingo Diner, Aestus, Kiriko, Superba Food and Bread, Scopa Italian Roots, Ox and Son, Sushi Park, Cassia, Trois Mec, Leona
8. Try eleven restaurants in other places. Yes
9. Go to another place on my bucket list. Amazon
10. Read more books – the kind you hold in your hand that smell like books. Yes
11. Go to São Paulo.Yes
12. Meditate every day. Nope.
13. Look up less random questions on the internet.Yes
14. Go To Brazil. Yes
15. Have more real friends. Not sure but definitely less fake ones.
16. Go to The Stanley Film Festival. Not yet.
17. Get more involved at 826 LA. No
18. See ten documentary films. Finding Vivian Maier, Muse – Kobe Bryant, Deli Man, Going Clear, Sinatra – All Or Nothing At All, Monk With A Camera, Bolshoi Babylon
19. See ten foreign films Force Majeure, Leviathan, Timbuktu, The Gett, Wild Tales, A Borrowed Identity, Second Mother, Embrace of the Serpent, Sweet Bean, Son of Saul, Mountains May Depart, Lady In A Van
20. Eat less gluten. Think so
21. Read more of other people’s blogs. Yes
22. Do more beach walks.Yes
23. Be more grateful every day. Trying
24. Finally do that urban art tour in LA. No
25. Be a tourist in LA. No

Still Trying . Merry Christmas.

Fly safe,
JAZ

Xenophile

PRONUNCIATION:

(ZEN-uh-fyl, ZEE-nuh-)

MEANING:
noun: One who is attracted to foreign things or people.

“Americans are very friendly and very suspicious, that is what Americans are and that is what always upsets the foreigner, who deals with them, they are so friendly how can they be so suspicious they are so suspicious how can they be so friendly but they just are.” Gertrude Stein

I have just learned this word which is the opposite of xenophobe a word I know and have heard too much lately. I am a xenophile. As soon as someone speaks to me in a foreign accent, I want to know where they are from, how long they have been here and how do they like it. I want to know about their country as well. The longer I speak to someone who’s first language is not English, the more I begin to sound like English is not my first language either. It is a bit of traveling in my day without leaving the country. It sparks a memory or makes me think about planning a trip.

Im overly friendly when I meet someone who is from a country I have just visited – a waiter, a parking lot attendant, a sales clerk or the person on-line behind me at the grocery store. I’ll just randomly start talking about their state or village. It’s definitely awkward. I don’t have a fear of saying the wrong thing because I usually do. I smile, not like a prom queen, but because I’m genuinely interested in anything they are going to say about their country. It usually goes well. People like to talk about themselves and like that you know their part of the world.

You get to hear their impressions of America and Americans. One of the things people have to get used to here is that we use over the top adjectives and smile a lot. We are not happy all the time and all the smiling is cute but confusing to cultures that don’t smile a lot or New Yorkers. Everything is not awe-inspiring or awesome to people who know the meaning of the word.

We like to say we are “Irish or “South African” or “Italian” to people who are actually from those countries. They don’t like it.

They think it is funny that we write the month before the day. I always get annoyed with the rest of the world for not doing that.

I notice that when I talk about politics to people who are not American I am very PC but I get defensive when they criticize our government even though I feel the same way.

Around the world, they are starting to say that we are a people who are always shooting at each other like we have nothing else to do. We are a scary country to visit now.

I met a nice looking man who had been here for three months legally and looking for a job. He had a beautiful accent and I couldn’t figure it out where it was from.  He had always heard Americans liked people from different backgrounds because that was who we were, yet he felt his accent was keeping him from finding a job. Though he had a business degree, he was willing to take any job and start at the bottom. i said it was probably that he had no work experience here. With the condition of the world these days, being a xenophobe is definitely becoming more popular than being a xenophile.

Fly safe,
JAZ

Can You Blame Your Parents If You Turn Out To Be A Terrorist?

Can You Blame Your Parents If You Turn Out to Be A Terrorist?

“Honestly, if you’re given the choice between Armageddon or tea, you don’t say ‘what kind of tea?” Neil Gaiman

Parenting is the one job that anyone can do. There is no age requirement, training or qualifications necessary. As human beings, we bring our pasts, fears and our baggage into our children’s lives. We give up our dreams, desires and independence and put our children’s needs before our own. We try our best to shelter them from harm and point them in the direction of morality and compassion.

We can only steer them toward the good and hope they don’t get caught up in the bad. We wish that they will find their path. I think we do the best we can with the resources we have. Whether it is nature, nurture, hard work, inherited, genetic or environmental,  most of us just get on with the job of being parents.

There are many people walking around with diagnosed and undiagnosed mental illness. When a teenager or young adult commits a horrifying act many times on themselves as well, it does not always turn out to be a kid from divorce, single parents, violence or abuse.  All parents have moments where they lose their tempers, say things they regret, and create unloving situations that they want forgiven. There are some evil parent stories out there but most are not like this. Are kids just born hardwired? Or were they good and something just set them off?

Every one of us has the capacity to make good and bad choices. Do you love and protect your child no matter what or do you take a harder line when you see them acting out?Times change people. I believe we are all hardwired.  Dysfunctional, abusive and broken families always make a kid with problems worse. Our choices are ultimately who we become. When I see a teenager/young adult open fire on a school or mall, a suicide bomber or a terrorist, I always think, “that’s somebody’s kid.”

Fly safe,

JAZ

If Your Bum Tickles It Means That You Will Soon Eat Pie and Other Superstitions From Around The World

If Your Bum Tickles It Means That You Will  Soon Eat Pie and Other Superstitions From Around The World

“If a black cat crosses your path, it signifies that the animal is going somewhere.” Groucho Marx

Humans have always tried to explain the unknown and allay their fears. Most superstitions are based on old explanations of how things might work if we actually had control over our universe. Fear, ignorance and superstition can be very dangerous. I thought I would share some of the more milder superstitions – the kind that my grandmother brought with her from the old country.

My own personal ones include not walking under a ladder, not stepping over someone because they won’t grow (I was very short till I was about 14 so I was adamant about that one) and wearing a red bracelet or evil eye on a plane for luck. I do get queasy when a black cat crosses my path.

Clipping toenails or fingernails at night is bad luck. China

Never hand some one a knife. Set it down and let them pick it up, or else you will get into a fight with that person. Greece

It is lucky to hear a cat sneezing. Italy

If you whistle or play a flute at night, snakes will come to you. Japan

If you  spill wine on the table, it brings happiness to the whole house. Portugal

if someone passes a broom over your feet, you will never get married. For that reason, you can see many single women getting out of the way of people who are sweeping. Venezuela

If you stand between two people whose names are the same, you should wish for something because your wish will come true. Turkey

If you always put the sugar in the cup before the coffee, you’ll become rich.
 Brazil

If a single woman sits at a table in the corner, she won’t be married. Kyrgyzstan

When you move to a new house, make sure you do so on a rainy day, because it will bring you wealth. Iceland

Don’t present your mate with a pair of shoes. If you do, your boyfriend or girlfriend will leave you. Korea

If you find money, even if it’s just one cent, you’ll receive more money. If you are walking in the street and you see money, you always have to pick it up. Argentina

If you stand up and your chair falls over, you’re in for bad luck. Ireland

Hearing a cricket brings good luck. Spain

Leaving your keys on a table is bad luck. Sweden

On the first day of the month, if you say “white rabbit”, the entire month will be lucky for you. England

 Putting a loaf of bread upside down on the table, is considered bad luck. France

if your bum tickles it means that you will  soon eat pie. Belgium

It is unlucky to enter the house with the left foot forward. Austria

A broken dish brings good luck. Netherlands

If you make jokes when eating, a ghost will steal your rice, Thailand

Killing spiders is considered to bring bad luck. Whenever you see one making itself comfortable in your own house, you are supposed to take it and set it free in nature. Slovakia

If your right palm itches you’re going to spend money, but if your left palm itches you’re going to receive some money. Ukraine

One of the unluckiest things you can do, is walk between two old ladies on the road. Germany

Putting gloves on a table will bring misfortune. Latvia

If you spill your coffee it means you will receive money from somewhere. Romania.

If a bird shits on you, or if you accidentally step in shit (any old shit will do) – you’ll be (filthy) rich!  Lithuania

If a woman puts her handbag on the floor, she will have no money. Poland

Throwing a shoe over your shoulder brings luck, though not for the person who might be standing behind you. Czech Republic

Fly safe,

JAZ