Travel Well

Travel Well

“Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting an uphill battle.” Ian Maclaren

The name of my blog is Travel Well Fly Safe, It was named that for a reason –  a reason I have never talked about.

I have been lucky to have lived for a long time without any serious illness.  But I believe that health is a bucket. You add in stress, emotional pain, genetic predisposition, and environmental factors and when your bucket is full you get sick.  In my case, six years ago,  I became very allergic to smoke, pollution and chemicals. It is called Reactive Airway Disease.  Traveling to third world countries in Africa and Asia has put me on a nebulizer and high doses of cortisone. I call my doctor much more from a trip than from my house. I  became very allergic, developed Reynauds – a circulation problem which causes your fingers and toes to turn blue in the cold and Gerd. Two years ago (after a 16 hour flight to Australia) I was diagnosed with Sjogrins symptoms and didn’t know what it was – making dehydration and dry eyes on a plane something to worry about. But I am not these things.They are just a small piece of who I am.

I didn’t choose this but this is the hand I was dealt. I had to learn how to travel with the new normal. The alternative of staying home is unthinkable. I have had to alter my vision of what a trip should be to allow for the unpredictability of all these symptoms. I look at every trip now as a gift. The difficulty of having all these weird autoimmune symptoms is that every day is different. It is easier to stay home but traveling is my passion so I make it work.  It requires more managing and planning, To do something in a new way, you need new  ideas. The list of countries I can safely go to gets smaller. The list of medicines and toiletries I have to bring and activities I can not do anymore gets longer.

The hardest thing is because I don’t look or act sick, people believe it isn’t real. They express concern and suggest strategies and remedies. After a while they just like to pretend it isn’t there and hope I go along with that. It is hard for them to understand how in some places I am totally fine and in others I am on sixty milligrams of cortisone a day. They don’t realize that once I am exposed to something, it doesn’t disappear without medication. I can’t just walk away unless I do it quickly.  There is an invisibility of certain illnesses that other people say they can see but they don’t.

Life does not always go the way you want.  I place one foot in front of the other and climb higher. I believe that I have a great responsibility to live as happily and as fully as possible, to listen to my body and trust my instincts. I’m telling my story not for anyone to feel sorry for me, or excuse anything but to start the conversation. What if my story offers some hope to someone who thinks they can’t travel because they have “stuff”?  A dull and predictable life is boring. Just do what you need to do to get where you want to go. 

Fly safe,

JAZ

Traveler’s Block

Traveler’s Block

“Writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all”
Charles Bukowski

Today I have nothing.

I have written about packing and not packing, carry on luggage, check in luggage, travel clothes, travel companions,  souvenirs, my bracelet collection, my Starbucks collection, my good luck charms, LA – where I live, Manhattan and Brooklyn where I am from, places I love, places I hate, my mother, my dog, people who have died, animals that have been killed, airports, airplanes, stewardesses, airport security, things I’ve learned from traveling and not traveling, hotel rooms and things Ive left behind in them, travel addiction, people who think they are black, superstitions, proverbs and quotes from around the world, movies, books, children’s books and songs that have inspired me to travel, food, restaurants, turkey burgers, acting like a tourist, not acting like a tourist, tourist traps, tourist attractions, holidays, traveling alone,eating alone, random photos, being a godmother, travel etiquette, third world countries, countries that have changed names, countries not to travel to, misspelled countries, auto-correct, photography, art, urban art, music, world affairs terrorists and should you blame your parents if you are one,  philosophy, spirituality, religion, prejudice, meditation, things to say and not say to a world traveler, places I haven’t been to, bucket lists, top ten everything, travel problems, imaginary places, movie locations, trip planning, weddings, World Cup, Olympics, first world problems, blogging, Nellie Bly, touching strangers, things i like, things I dislike, the 100th monkey, coffee, sunrises, how to avoid the paparazzi, travel tv shows and people in the world.

I don’t know why they call it writer’s block. I have idea block. I could start reblogging pieces, post other writers, post more instagram photos, read more books and think about writing. I could hope that this is only a temporary setback, go out and do something and then write about it – like move to Spain, go to a wedding in Africa or perhaps the new Broad Museum in LA.

Fly safe,
JAZ

30 Songs That Inspired Me To Travel

30 Songs That Inspired Me To Travel

“There must be some kind of way out of here,’ said the joker to the thief..” Bob Dylan

Music is called the universal language. Songs are successful in communicating ideas and feelings to everyone who hears them. I listen to different songs depending on my moods. A song resonates with me when I hear it and I think, how did they know that is how I was feeling?

These songs always took me somewhere else. Sometimes it was the poetry in the lyrics or music that made me want to travel. Other times it was the foreign language and melody.   I picked a few to play. They are in order of my memory of the titles. i have them all on iTunes.  Enjoy them.

America – Simon and Garfunkel

Bamboleo – Gypsy Kings

Marilou Sous La Niege – Serge Gainsbourg

Scatterlings of Africa – Johnny Clegg and Juluka

Leaving On A Jet Plane – Peter Paul and Mary

Guantanamera – Lucca Feliciano

A Rainy Night In Soho – Pogues

One Night In Bangkok – Murray Head

Hopeless Wanderer – Mumford and Sons

New York State Of Mind – Billy Joel

Sorrow (Your Heart) – Trevor Rabin

Jerusalem – Matisyahu

Les Champs-Elysees – Joe Dassin

City of New Orleans – Arlo Guthrie

Where Do You Go To (My Lovely) – Peter Sarstedt

Africa – Toto

Budapest – George Ezra

Carolina Day – Livingston Taylor

Diablo Rojo – Rodrigo and Gabriela

99 Luftballons – Nena

Rubylove – Cat Stevens

Mexico James Taylor

Walking in Memphis – Marc Cohn

Chan Chan – Buena Vista Social Club

Ca Plane Pour Moi – Plastic Bertrand

Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd

Mozambique – Bob Dylan

Here There And Everywhere – Beatles

Fly Safe,

JAZ