Travel  In The Time Of Corona

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 Travel  In The Time Of Corona

“Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help you from getting me sick” unknown

Eventually all those people stocking up on supplies at Costco are going to have to leave their houses and the Corona Virus will still be here. It will lighten up in the spring and summer as viruses do, and come back in the winter. It is something we will learn to live with like Aids and Airport Security.  If you have not been addicted before, hand sanitizer is the new normal. Someone you know or maybe you will get it and next year there will be a vaccine and things will calm down.

The decision to travel or not is a tough one. I just had to cancel my month long trip to Germany and France in mid April.  The first part was a tour with the Jewish Heritage Museum though the Alsace region. I was particularly excited to go to the baths in Baden Baden – a bucket list thing for me. Afterward, I was meeting the BF In Lyon and we were traveling to Marseille, Cassis, Aix and later staying in a beautiful winery in the region. We would  have  ended up in Paris for a few days. It was a lot of planning and involved planes, trains and cars. I have not cancelled part two yet. 

I know it is the right thing to do at this time but when it comes to travel-all reasoning disappears. I have terrible travel envy and the cure for me is planning a trip. I always have something to look forward to and now I don’t – other than maybe not getting sick and dying – which is big. 

At the moment it feels like I am sitting at home thinking about traveling a lot more than I am actually traveling. 

I’ve always had anxiety and lived my life in fear so this collective fear doesn’t feel strange to me. The best we can do is to wash our hands and avoid people who are coughing. I’m germaphobic so I do this anyway. I was way ahead of my time with social distancing.  I am no longer weird and can proudly touch things with my elbow and not hug hello. 

Life is tough and unpredictable .No matter how well-thought-out your plans might be, they’re bound to be disrupted at some point. Don’t take it personally, it’s just life and like everything else this will pass.

And by the way, thanks for freaking out and buying all the toilet paper.

Fly safe,

JAZ

 

A Smaller Suitcase

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A Smaller Suitcase

 “I see that it is by no means useless to travel, if a man wants to see something new.”Jules Verne

I have a few enviable skills but packing is not one of them. No suitcase in the world is fit to contain the multitude of useless junk I consider bringing on even the shortest trips. I am ready for any “what if” and “you never know” scenario. I’m a high maintenance traveler. with a big suitcase.

When Phileas Fogg decided to circle the globe in Around The World In Eighty Days, the 1873 novel by Jules Verne, he did not take a suitcase. “We’ll have no trunks,” he said to his servant. “only a carpet bag, with two shirts and three pairs of stockings for me, and the same for you. We’ll buy our clothes on the way.”

It’s a good thing Phileas Fogg didn’t take a trunk, because dragging one from steamship to railroad to carriage to hot air balloon would have ruined his rapid pace.

My next trip is through France and Germany  and like Phileas Fogg dragging my big suitcase is definitely going to ruin my pace, 

 The European rail system is a great alternative to booking flights across Europe. Travel by rail is far more flexible, with the ability to hop on and off, on a whim, with  no advance booking. The ability to arrive twenty minutes (or less) before departure time, and avoid a security line makes traveling easier.

Carrying my own big luggage on a train makes it harder. In 1873 large luggage was handled by porters but in today’s world it is necessary for a person to carry their own baggage.

I  need a smaller suitcase.to carry the basics. I have to learn to separate the want from the need. It involves a morning and evening routine with less products, vitamins and workout gear. It means more washing and less clothes. Experience has shown me that I always bring too much. Maybe I can start with less and  buy what I need  along the way like Phileas did. I’m only going for a month not eighty days. It shouldn’t be too hard and yet,  I’m still taking more luggage than a carpet bag.

Fly safe

JAZ

  

25 Things That I Want To Do In 2020

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 25 Things That I Want To Do In 2020

“I’m too busy working on my own grass to know if yours is greener” unknown

Spend New Year’s Eve In NY.

Go to Paris.

Practice Qi Gong.

Spend some time in Provence.

Practice Tai Chi.

Go to a spa in Baden Baden.

Try to see the glass half full.

Work on my anxiety.

Meditate every day.

Try to be more organized.

Get a system. 

Take a train from Adelaide to Darwin.

Look up less random things on the Internet.

Go to Germany.

Walk my dog every day.

Go to Marfa.

Think before I speak.

Do more art things in LA.

Buy a smaller suitcase.

Drive less during traffic hours. LA is getting crazy.

Write things down.

Go somewhere special for the BF’s big birthday.

Breathe.

Be grateful.

Let it go.

Happy New Year  and Fly Safe,

JAZ

 

Countries With the Most Travel Friendly Passports

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Countries With The Most Travel Friendly Passports

I’d rather have a passport full of stamps than a house full of stuff.” Anonymous

I used to think that the USA had the best passport. We could go almost anywhere but we do need an awful lot of visas. The Henley Passport Index periodically measures the access each country’s travel document affords. The ranking is determined on the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa. It is based on the exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association, which maintains the world’s largest and most accurate database of travel information. Here are the top countries starting with the best passports to have. We are not number one. 

Japan retained its top spot as the world’s most powerful passport in 2019 for the second time in a row with access to 190 countries.They believe it is due to strong security regulations, economic security and international reliability. They are good guests.

 Singapore is in second place with 189 countries. People from Singapore are welcome almost everywhere.

South Korea is in third place with 188 countries.The Asian countries are dominating this category.

Germany and Finland are in fourth place with 187 countries. Germany has given up its  previous first place ranking. (Finland)

Denmark, Italy and Luxernbourg rank fifth with 186. No one expects trouble from this group.  (Italy)

France, Spain and Sweden are next with 185. They are independent, they don’t usually break anything and they are quiet. (Spain)

Austria, Netherlands, Switzerland and Portugal are behind them with 184. I feel very welcome in these countries so I understand why counties like them.(Portugal)

Belgium, UK, Greece, Ireland, Norway, Canada and USA rank eighth  with 183. Brexit has not yet impacted the UK score -nor has our President changed ours. (Greece)

Malta has a  score of 182. This tiny independent,European Union country has a very attractive passport to many people.Wealthy individuals seeking secondary citizenship for security, have their eye on Malta, which doesn’t impose taxes on their worldwide income and assets and applies only a flat 15 per cent tax on money brought into the country. 

Czech Republic follows with 181. It is doing very well for an ex Communist country.

Lithuania,

Australia, Iceland, New Zealand and Lithuania jointly share the eleventh position with access to 180 nations. (Iceland)

 The findings suggest that visa free access is improving in the world. The last time I went to Brazil I needed one. This time I do not.

Fly safe,
JAZ

The Voice Heard Round The World

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The Voice Heard Round The World

‘Where words fail, music speaks.’ Hans Christian Andersen

I love to be able to travel when I am home. I watch The Voice. Reality TV and coffee are my vices. If you happen to live under a rock, it is a singing competition with celebrity judges. I love the Blind Auditions where the judges have to pick their team by hearing them. The audition is the only reality TV that we have left. You can’t fake an audition. You are actually watching someone vulnerable who’s life can be changed. I like seeing new talent emerge.

One night I was trying to catch up on some auditions, and I came across videos of blind auditions from The Voice Around The World. I was hooked. I’m obsessed with the Italian and the French judges. The Ukrainians and the Russians love heavy metal music and they like to make comments.  The Voice originated in Holland. I have no idea who any of these judges are. I watch the British version now as well. Here are my favorite auditions in no particular order. One is a battle round.

italy, France, Germany, Australia, Ukraine, UK, China, Russia, Holland, Poland.

Music always makes me feel that we are more the same than different.

Fly safe

JAZ

Old World Palaces And Castles

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Palaces and Castles

“ And if she asks you why, you can tell her that I told you, that I’m tired of castles in the air “Don McLean (I love that song)

Castles and palaces are pieces of the past. They are evocative of the people who lived in them many centuries ago. They are rich in folklore and history and often built with astonishing craftsmanship and innovative design. Here are some of the palaces that I have toured. Many of these photos were before I was blogging so less palace and more look I was there shots.

Alhambra – Granada, Spain

fullsizeoutput_5ea7Buckingham Palace – London, England

Buda Castle – Budapest, Hungary (view near castle)

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Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale) – Venice, Italy

Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, Scotland

Neuschwanstein – Hohenschwangau, Germany

Pena Palace – Sintra, Portugal

Peterhof, (known as Petrodvorets and Petergof) – Petergof ,Saint Petersburg, Russia

Pitti Palace – Florence, Italy

Prague Castle – Prague, Czech Republic

Schoenbrunn – Vienna, Austria

Trakai Castle – Trakai, Lithuania.

Palace Of Versailles, Versailles, France

Fly safe,

JAZ

Countries My Friends And Family Have Emigrated From To America

Countries My Friends And Family Have Emigrated From To America.

“No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark.” Warsan Shire

Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Colombia, Egypt, El Salvador, England, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Hungary, India, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica,  Japan, Lithuania, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand,  Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Philippines, Poland, Puerto Rico, Russia, Serbia, Scotland, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Syria, Turkey, Viet Nam, Zimbabwe.

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Growing up in New York, with immigrant grandparents, the Statue of Liberty meant something. “Tell us the story of when your parents saw the Statue of Liberty for the first time again” we asked.   My mother would say that to her parents and many like them, the statue meant freedom to live in a country where you could be whatever you wanted to be. America was the place to go to flee from oppression, racism, class-ism and poverty. We understood that it was something special to be born in a country with ideals like that.

America is not perfect. We have racism and poverty. But that doesn’t destroy the dreams it was built on. Millions of people came to America to build a better life for themselves and for their families and still do to this day.

On the Statue of Liberty, there are words I know so well: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free.” That’s the spirit that made me feel like an American.  I wouldn’t be here without that philosophy.

Fly safe.

JAZ