Travel Advisory Is In Effect

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Travel Advisory Is In Effect

“How dare you open a spaceman’s helmet on an uncharted planet? My eyeballs could’ve been sucked from their sockets!” Cathy East Dubowski, Toy Story

These days, planning a trip to Iraq or Afghanistan is probably not a good idea. The United States and other nations are currently advising their citizens against all non-essential travel to these countries. But a government travel warning doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a bad idea to plan a trip to a particular part of the world.

Governments issue travel advisories to let their citizens know about safety concerns that may affect travel to a particular country or region. In the United States, these warnings are issued by the State Department.

Travel advisories are released for a variety of reasons, including terrorism, natural disasters, political unrest, wars, health emergencies and outbreaks of crime.

In many cases, violence, unrest or natural disasters are confined to a particular region while the rest of the country is still safe and welcoming to tourists.

The fallout from an isolated act of violence can affect an entire country’s tourist industry — and have a disproportionate effect on the economy of a developing nation.

Today i received a state department warning about a change in travel for Americans traveling to or living in Israel.

“The U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem advises U.S. citizens in, or considering travel to, Jerusalem, the West Bank or Gaza to keep up a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness in light of the current environment.  Individuals and groups opposed to U.S. policies may target U.S. government facilities, U.S. private interests and U.S. citizens.  U.S. citizens should be aware of their surroundings and avoid crowds or areas where there is a large police or security presence.”

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens to consider the risks of travel to and throughout Jordan due to persistent terrorist threats.  The self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS), its affiliates, sympathizers, and other violent extremist groups have successfully conducted attacks in Jordan and continue to plot against local security forces, U.S. and Western interests, and “soft” targets. Jordan’s prominent role in the counter ­ISIS Coalition and its shared borders with Iraq and Syria increase the potential for future terrorist incidents. This replaces the Travel Warning issued December 23, 2016.

Ok- Jordan looks a bit unsafe at this time.  I’ve decided to go to Israel  despite the government’s warning email. But i will take certain precautions. It’s best in troubled times to be in a country that has an embassy from your own country and make sure it is fully staffed and functioning. The US Embassy which has not moved yet is a two-minute walk from my airbnb. Under the circumstances, it may not be a good thing.

I registered for  the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency. I will keep my family at home aware of my itinerary, watch the news, get travel insurance and have a backup plan.

I will be careful in these areas but I think if I cancel my plans, the terrorists win. We beat them by being unafraid in the way we choose to live.

Fly safe,
JAZ

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Apologizing For Trump All Over The World

Apologizing for Trump All Over The World

“People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.” Søren Kierkegaard

As Americans traveling in Europe we do apologize often for our behavior. But we may have outdone ourselves with Trump. Trump represents the America that the world hates. He embodies the worst anti-American stereotypes: vulgar, violent, cash-obsessed, racist.  I recently returned from Europe and the Middle East and found myself on the Trump Apology Tour. They are just baffled by how we have this Republican candidate.’To be a potential leader of a nation of immigrants and be anti-immigration and xenophobic plays into other countries fears.

The world seemed to like Obama. Traveling in 2008 was fun when it came to politics.  Since the rise of Trump, you can’t really travel out of the US without a barrage of  political questions.

In South Africa, I was often asked who do you think is worse Zuma or Trump? We’ve never competed with corrupt, dictator types before for unpopularity.  “Why is Trump so popular with Americans?” asked the man at border control in Jordan. Are they allowed to ask that while holding your passport? As usual, I immediately have to distance myself from the Donald. ”No Idea. It’s terrifying.” He smiled and stamped my passport. 

America is no stranger to embarrassing exports but we may have outdone ourselves with Donald Trump. They feel that what started as a bad joke might become a reality. Europeans are definitely feeling that now they have a reason to act superior.”What do you think of Trump?’ they ask. What I think is that Trump destroys everything I do as a traveler to make an impact on how people see Americans.

Fly safe,
JAZ

Last Ten Things I Googled

Last Ten Things I Googled

Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one.” Neil Gaiman

Weather in Petra, Jordan.

What is apple cider vinegar good for?

How are the teams shaping up on the Voice?

Did the brother kill JonBenet Ramsey?

Best things to buy in Portugal.

Are there Starbucks in Jordan, Israel and Portugal? (for my collection not for the coffee)

Guy who asked me out in Lisbon.

Best stain removers.

How much water has to leak before you have mold?

Fernando Pessoa quotes.

Best falafel in Tel Aviv

and that was just this morning.

Fly safe,
JAZ