No Travel For Americans

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No Travel For Americans

“I don’t believe there’s any problem in this country, no matter how tough it is, that Americans, when they roll up their sleeves, can’t completely ignore.”
George Carlin

If you are planning to travel to Europe this summer and you happen to be American, you might want to make other plans.  The European Union opened their borders on July first and America is not on the list of countries allowed to visit. The decision to exclude certain countries is based on the number of Covid 19 cases and how well their governments are doing to control the cases.  China, Vietnam, Uganda. Russia, Brazil and the U.S. are all being seen as unworthy of inclusion. Are these the “shithole countries” now?

We also cannot travel to Asia, the Middle East, Africa  and South America. There are some countries which have a two week quarantine before you can enter but that is as long as an average work vacation.

To rectify the situation, Trump has cut the funding for Covid 19 testing. According to him, if there are less tests than less people have it. It’s sort of like less pregnancy tests, less babies. The United States has the highest death toll in the world from coronavirus.The U.S. death toll is more than 132,000 and there have been more than 2.9 million cases.The U.S. accounts for more than a quarter of all deaths worldwide.

In March, Trump banned travel from Europe, the Uk and Ireland. Since then, Europe was able to flatten the curve and our numbers continue to soar. The countries that were able to control the virus had national policy – not  each state doing something different.

You can’t blame Europe. Why would they want a bunch of Americans infecting them now that they have the disease under control. You can blame Trump. If he had realized the seriousness of this early on, had a strict quarantine in all states like Italy did, and wore a mask, we would be back to summer vacation travel by now.

Stay home, stay safe, and please wear a mask when you go out,

JAZ

Returning To The Places You Love

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Returning To The Places You Love

“I believe that each person has a favorite place, a tree, a mountain, or a beach which they want to come back to, even if the return can only take place in the boundaries of their imagination.” Sana Szewczyk

I’m always afraid to return to places that I love. There’s a danger for me that comes with returning to these places. There’s always an underlying fear that on a second visit, it doesn’t feel the same; that either I’ve changed or it’s changed or maybe both.  There are so many places in the world to see, how could I justify a return visit?

 I have revisited countries but I focus on different cities and I just spend a short time in the cities that I have been to. I often find that second and third time visits are much more relaxed, spontaneous and enjoyable. Going back to a place lets you dig a bit deeper and uncover another layer of the place.

I’ve already done the famous sites and waited on the long queues. The nice thing about return visits is the I can concentrate on exploring the off the beaten track parts of a city. I don’t feel bad about spending an entire day shopping, eating and drinking since I did the museums and tourist thing on the last visit. 

If I visit during a different season, the city can have a whole different feeling. Many cities are transformed for special events like festivals or holidays at certain times of the year.. Bad weather, bad luck and bad choices can turn you against a destination that might deserve a second chance. 

I cancelled two trips over the last few months in quarantine. I don’t know when i will actually be able to travel again. Researching trips, which is something I do extensively when I am home, is not an option right now. When the world feels so uncertain, maybe it is just  easier to reminisce about the past than to plan something new. Istanbul, Venice, London,  Sydney, Tel Aviv  anywhere in South America, Portugal, Croatia and Japan look pretty great to me right now.

Stay Safe,
JAZ

The  Best And Worst Thing About Quarantine With A Little Help From My Friends

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The  Best And Worst Thing About Quarantine With A Little Help From My Friends

“The best way out is always through.”  Robert Frost

BEST: I’m doing qi gong, yoga and meditation and a beach walk every day. It is helping my anxiety and I sleep great. WORST:  I cancelled two trips and I’m not traveling.  JZ

BEST is cleaning my desk, watching great tv and finally finishing a series. WORST is not being able to hug & kiss my kids, missing my friends and working out in a gym! EH

BEST is being with my dog 24/7. WORST is cooking three meals a day for my husband. SR

 BEST is that I don’t have to get dressed up and put on makeup to go to work. WORST is not going out to eat, to the movies, a play or concert with friends and not having home cooked Sunday dinners with my kids.  Oh and not having my housekeeper!  JL

BEST is pretty easy.  My immediate family and girlfriend are here all day.  WORST is my fears for people who are facing huge problems  and also some personal health fears.  Just thinking about the worst list makes me sense my blood pressure increasing.  LA

BEST is catching up with friends and relatives virtually. Also more time for reading, Spring cleaning and watching Netflix. WORST is not going to movies, the Grove, shopping, church, and hugging friends. EM

BEST:  As an extrovert, I was delightfully surprised to find that I no longer suffer from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), because there’s not much to Miss Out on.  Instead, I can be fully present and do one thing at a time. WORST: My husband has “underlying health conditions” that make true isolation necessary for him, which means I have to be extremely careful, too.  So my time outside is limited. LM

BEST is getting a lot of sleep, having the time to try new recipes and beauty products and catching up on movies.WORST is being alone, stuck at home and not seeing, hugging or kissing friends and family. It is worrying about losing jobs, money and the future. NC

BEST is remembering what I am thankful for.  WORST is thinking that I will never travel again.TN

BEST is eating good food and watching good movies and TV shows.WORST is not seeing my friends and getting fat. DB

BEST is the confirmation that I definitely married the person in the world I would most like to be quarantined with. WORST is the constant low-level non-specific anxiety.  LO

BEST  is that I am finally getting rid of shit in my house.WORST is that I can’t spend time with my mom.This Sunday is her 95th Birthday. SF

BEST  is spending all this time with my boyfriend, just the two of us.WORST  (aside from missing personal grooming – Brazilian wax, fillers etc) is not getting together with friends for a meal. CL

BEST is getting to sleep later in the morning  and reading the whole NY Times. I’m even doing the Friday and Saturday crossword puzzles.  Also, having the time to reconnect with people in my life that I haven’t seen or heard from in a long time.WORST is that I miss seeing the people in my life. Zoom just doesn’t cut it after a while. HM

BEST is slowing down and having time to do a new project.WORST is isolation. MU

 BEST is that life is way simpler and more meaningful. Time is slower and faster and I am more aware of how precious life is and that what really matters most doesn’t need a new pair of shoes, dress or anything else to make it special.WORST is not being able to touch, hug and kiss family and friends. My daughter is pregnant and I worry about her. DG

 BEST Being with my family all the time.WORST Being with my family all the time MA

BEST is learning to cook.WORST is having the Corona Virus. AA

Thanks for the help.

Stay Safe,

JAZ

Living Together – The First Year

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Living Together – The First Year

“The best relationships usually begin unexpectedly.” Unknown

May First marks our first year of living together. Was it just a year ago that I was worrying about sharing closet space, how to split costs and who’s art would go where? I had deeper concerns also. Would we grow to hate each other? Would resentment fester over my messiness or his need for a lot of alone time?  Would moving in together end up moving us apart?

I also moved into an apartment after living in a house for many years. The walk up stairs are no joke when you have the dog and packages. The landlady lives underneath us – a fact that seasoned apartment dwellers would have taken into consideration. Parking is a nightmare.

Somehow we figured 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. 

Then Covid 19 arrived in Los Angeles. The virus that had felt abstract and in faraway places like China, Iran, and Italy was spreading across our city.  The fear of Covid 19 and what it would do to our relationship as we navigated the crisis during this first year of living together was real. Suddenly we were spending every single minute in the house together for weeks. We had two beautiful trips planned during this time that were both abruptly cancelled. Our conversations quickly went from where we should eat in Paris to how much toilet paper do we have left.

 At the start  of living together, I was worried that the mundanity of everyday life would kill all the romance and excitement between us. COVID-19, it turns out, has made our life even smaller and more mundane than I could have ever imagined. We barely leave the apartment except for special occasions like a morning or afternoon walk on the beach. We play word games when there is a lull in the conversation. I am usually in sweat pants or jeans and no makeup. We watch a lot of TV and have settled into an equilibrium over cooking and cleaning because there are no schedules to coordinate. 

In an unexpected twist of circumstance, COVID-19 will come to define this rather momentous step in our relationship. The crisis has also hit me with some much-needed perspective and gratitude. I feel lucky to navigate all of this with someone I love. At a time when public safety demands social distance, I feel grateful to have so little space separating us.

Self quarantined in our apartment, inundated with news and confusion about COVID-19, we are doing fine. Perhaps the real test of our relationship will come when the fears of COVID-19 subside and we once again have to decide if we will stay or move. Whatever we decide, I think we will make it through.

Stay safe,

JAZ