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As of this publish date, we are rounding on one full year of the first traceable COVID-19 (or severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)) case in China, 17 Nov 2019.

Considering the world has seen so many millions of confirmed Covid cases by now, nearly everyone on the planet knows somebody who has survived a Covid infection…or has died from it. I was recently texting a friend in India with whom I had not communicated in nearly two years. After a short exchange of pleasantries, he told me he was recovering from Covid. …

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We are living in unprecedented times. Globally, this is the “perfect storm” to financially cripple, or at least dramatically affect, all of us in some way. Is your industry sustainable during a long-term shutdown? Could you lose your job, your small business? What can you do about your retirement savings shriveling away? Add to that the unknown qualities of this novel coronavirus — will it infect me or my loved ones? How soon will we contain it? Will I have access to testing? When will there be a vaccine available?

The questions are endless. The answers are minimal. No one has a crystal ball. As more countries are on various forms of lockdown, shutdown, border closings, mandated quarantines, this hits our natural human psyche; HARD. …

I recently returned home from a mother-daughter trip to Poland this past September. Pre-trip, I fielded many questions.

Them: Poland? Huh. Are you Polish?

Me: No.

Them: Is there anything to even do in Poland?

Me: Um, yes. A lot. Like everywhere in Europe.

Them: But in September? Isn’t it already cold there?

Me: No, September is a lovely time to visit.

Here’s why.

High Season: Summer

When the majority of North Americans think about travel to Europe, we typically consider the months of June, July, and August, right? High season. …

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I have explored two fantastic Holocaust Museums — the one in Washington DC and in Cape Town, South Africa. Visiting them left me unsettled in heavy emotions.

However, nothing quite prepared me for a tour of Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps in Southern Poland. We visited on a mid-September day — still officially summer on the calendar — yet the day was chilly, blustery and grey. The biting north wind forcing us to feel what the victims endured in their threadbare striped pyjamas.

Nearly everyone on earth knows at least some history of World War II and the brutality of the German Nazis under Hitler’s regime, seeking world domination for a “perfect” Aryan (Caucasian-European) race through genocide. …

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Conservatively, yet elegantly dressed, not a hair out of place in her slightly-big-Texas hairstyle, wearing too much make up for her naturally beautiful face. That is how I remember modern-day southern belle, Jayne Christianson, when I met her over 3 decades ago sipping sweet tea deep in the heart of East Texas. Me, being a newbie Chicago transplant to that uniquely conservative part of the country, she became a fast friend and mentor for someone who “ain’t from around here”.

We drifted apart after I defected across the “pine curtain” to the capital city of Austin. Just a 4+ hour drive away, but it might as well be on the other side of the world, psychographically speaking. Then social media came along and we reconnected. She is still that beautiful soul I remember: Involved in making her community a better place, deeply devout in her Christianity, and welcoming to new arrivals in town. She and her husband still live on the ranch where they raised a family on the outskirts of an East Texas town. …

The fishing boats pulled up on the pebbles of Sámara Bay are about your only option if you want to head south from here. This Pacific beach town is at the end of the road, whether you’ve arrived from the north via Route 150, or from Nosara to the west. At Sámara, both routes grind to a happy halt on the palm-lined sands. The feeling of being at journey’s end extends to the town’s relaxed atmosphere. It’s a fine place to end up.

And if you enjoy meeting new people, you don’t need to look further than the friendly bars and restaurants on Sámara’s main street. You can eat inexpensive meals at local sodas (simple roadside restaurants) for $7 to $8 and snag a jumbo margarita at one of the beach bars during happy hour for around $5. …

by Kathleen Evans

Where are the Galápagos Islands?

The archipelago known as the Galápagos Islands is part of the country of Ecuador on the South American continent. These mystical islands are located in the Pacific Ocean approximately 600 miles (965 kms) west off the coast. The 19 islands straddle the equator to the north and south. They violently emerged from the bottom of the sea during volcanic eruptions between three and 5 million years ago.

What are the Galápagos Islands Famous for?

Since this relatively new land began with nothing but volcanic rock, every plant and animal species which migrated there (birds flying with plant life, iguanas and turtles floating on logs, etc.) had to learn to adapt to the harsh environment — lacking in flora and fauna, initially. No place on earth can you see such rare adaptations for survival. …

Doesn’t it feel like a joke when you visit your doctor for some ailment and they tell you that you need to reduce stress in your life? Stress seems to be the singular cause that pops up as a trigger for so many disorders — both mentally and physically. But you can’t exactly quit your job, desert your family and move to a tropical beach to sip umbrella drinks all day. Well, you can, but it’s not very realistic or sustainable.

This is the time of year when many people make New Year’s resolutions. Some of us make them a habit by which we live forever. And other resolutions fall by the wayside, possibly because they are unrealistic or not clearly defined as to how to reach the end goal. …

When I shared with friends that I had an upcoming trip to Uganda planned in the fall of 2018, the number one inquiry was, “Where is that?” followed by a somewhat snarky “Is it safe?” In all fairness to them, the media tends to cover bad news much more diligently than good news and then rarely follows up afterwards.

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Uganda, after securing its freedom from the UK as a British protectorate in 1962, faced instability — leading to coups, border disputes, economic turmoil, protests, and an era a terror throughout the 1970’s lead by Idi Amin. All Asians were expelled from the country at that time and an estimated 300,000 Ugandans lost their lives through indiscriminate killings during the regime. But where is the news coverage now about their stability and beauty? Uganda, like their elusive prehistoric-looking bird, the Shoebill, has emerged into a glorious flight. …

I adored my photography class junior and senior years of high school. What made the experience so incredible? Perhaps it was my quintessentially cool teacher, Mr. Colombe (insert high school girl crush here). Perhaps it was the hours of darkroom freedom I was granted to experiment with this art form. Regardless of the reasons, it was by-far my favorite class ever. I wanted to be a photographer when I grew up, but my father dissuaded me — citing that I would work long, challenging hours and find myself eternally poor. I listened to his guidance and chose another career path, so we will never know if he was right. I currently do not even have a “fancy” SLR camera. …

About

Kathleen Evans @KatsJourney

Creating the life of my dreams overseas. Teaching others how to make it happen. Journalist. Digital Nomad. Traveler. Influencer. Adventurer.

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