FPQ #72: Travel and Leadership

Fandango’s back with his weekly provocative question: What is the one thing in life that you are most excited about right now? Why?

I could answer this is one sentence, but decided to do a little more with it. I’m assuming that the question implies something that I anticipate happening soon that makes me excited, not something that already happened. The first thing that came into my head was I’m excited for the pandemic to be over and I can travel again. Because I live for travel. So I am hoping that we will be able to take the cruise I’ve already booked and paid for, in November 2020, to the Amazon. I have always wanted to cruise the Amazon although when I was younger I probably would have pooh-poohed a nice cruise ship with all the amenities. But now I don’t think I would go there any other way!

I am excited about cruising the Amazon River.

Then I heard Dr. Fauci saying that we likely will have a “second wave” of the coronavirus along with the regular flu season near the end of the year. The cruise leaves on Nov. 29! So then I furiously got to work paging through the catalogs of my favorite travel companies to find something we could squeeze in between the first and second waves: Yes! Possibly a trip to Central America where we would likely be seeing mostly ruins and nature in September. Also in September, a couple of choices of African safaris. So once again, we wouldn’t be often among lots of people – we’d just be looking at animals! If there is to be a second wave, avoiding cruise ships might be wise right now. Even so, getting on an airplane in the next few months?! We could go to New Zealand where they’ve already gotten the virus under control: because they acted early to take mitigating measures, they only had about 1,500 cases and last I heard, no deaths! Great – if we could get there without exposing ourselves to the virus in tight places with people occupying every seat on the plane…

Anyway, so my first answer is I am looking forward to the pandemic being over, at least for the most part, so we could travel again.

So many countries, so little time…

Then I thought, well, there is another very important thing that I would be extremely excited about and that is getting Trump out of office!! (The two things are actually connected because in 2016 we got on a plane for Brazil on Nov. 8, not knowing the results of the election and expecting Hillary Clinton to be elected. When we woke up from dozing during the night, we were about to arrive in Sao* Paulo, and as we were all standing in the aisle with one hand on our carry on bags, someone checked his phone and announced Trump had won! It kind of put a damper on the trip and I seriously considered overstaying our visas in Brazil. But this time, if we can take the cruise, we’ll be able to go with the satisfaction of knowing the election results.) I feel pretty confident Biden will win because most people are so disgusted with how Trump has handled (or not handled) the Covid-19 crisis – a non-leader when we need leadership more than ever. Then this last week, he added insult to severe injury by threatening to call the military to stop the protests around the country due to the unnecessary killing of George Floyd. And just two days ago, he had police disperse protesters in front of a church with tear gas in Washington D.C. for a PHOTO OPP!! A photo of him holding a Bible with a sour look on his face. The incongruency of the image of Trump, his facial expression, and holding a Bible made it even worse – if you’re going to chase people away to have a photo opp, at least make it a decent one! But there is no decency with Trump. He doesn’t know the meaning of the word decency and he certainly has no idea what Christianity is all about.

Trump’s version of Christianity

But once again, I feel confident about a Democratic victory, as I did in 2016. Although terrible things can happen, this time we’ve lived with four years of this maniac and any thinking person has to realize by now that he is an existential threat to our country if he stays in office for a second term. (He may not calmly walk away from the presidency if he loses, but we’ll deal with that when and if it happens.) I wish the Democratic nominee were someone other than Joe Biden – I’ve nothing against him per se, but he’s sorta old and sometimes says some weird things (although nothing as insane as the Orange Moron). He is a kind person, which is good, and he has experience, also good, but after having a youngish black president for eight years, why are we taking a step backwards to elect another old white guy? (Two steps forward, one step back perhaps – Trump was the step backward – so change is slow but at least it happens and our country is saved from tyranny.) Biden has promised to nominate a woman as his running mate so I reserve final judgment until we find out who that is. (And even if he nominated Minnie Mouse, I’d still vote for him, obviously).

So, to conclude, considering the first part of the question “one thing IN LIFE” I would be very excited to see the United States join the rest of the “first world” in becoming a better democracy and with sane leadership to tackle serious problems such as health care for all and climate change. That is something I would like to see before my life is over, so I can die knowing my descendants will have a decent, safe world to live in but still have lots more to do.

And considering the EXCITEMENT part – or as I interpret it, anticipation – my desire for my own life is to see as much of the world as I possibly can and still have a few years to write about it!

*Dammit – why did WordPress take out the ability to put in special characters that other languages use???

Question Fun: On Adventures, Travel & Explorations

I know I’m late for this one, but I just didn’t have time to do it before now, and then I saw “Bipolar Barb”‘s answers and got inspired. This is one of my favorite topics, so please forgive me!!!

Welcome to Question Fun The Twice Weekly Game!
An easy game, and more so if you love questions! Each game has a topic, and then there are 23 questions relating to the topic – they can be visual, musical, personal, professional, topical, serious, thought provoking, fun, weird and even wacky – the questions will cover all fields and there is no structure to follow, so it could orderly one day and completely random the next time you play!
Today’s topic is ………….. Adventuring, Exploration and Travel/ling

What are five [in your eyes only] top quality Adventure films?
Instellar – In a future where humans are struggling to survive, astronauts venture into space through a wormhole to search for a new home for humankind.
Contact – a young woman takes a spaceship to a planet in another galaxy, not knowing what she will find or if she will even get there.
The Martian – The ultimate adventure that could plausibly take place in the next 100 years! An astronaut is left for dead on Mars by his crew members, who return to Earth. He must learn to survive Mars’ hazards until he can communicate with Earth and be rescued. This was a good movie, but the book was better!
Armegeddon – NASA discovers that an asteroid is going to hit Earth and sends a crew to land on the asteroid and divert it. OK, this film is not “top quality” but it  is actually a real possibility – it is against all odds that Earth has not been impacted by a devastating asteroid since the time of the dinosaurs.
The Lost City of Z – the only one of my five that takes place on Earth and is really true! It’s the story of a writer who traces the route of past explorers into the Amazon jungle to find a “lost city” known as “Z”, a possibly mythical place but whose legend has endured to this day. To get there, he faces many hazards and possibly death, since none of the explorers of the past returned from their expeditions.
In all of these films, characters face the unknown and the probability of not returning home alive. [Please provide links and say why you think they are]
What would be your ideal Adventure [not holiday – Adventure]? 
to be an archaeologist or help a team of archaeologists excavating ancient Egyptian ruins (I mean for real, not like Raiders of the Lost Ark!)
If you were planning your Adventure of a Lifetime which is the best season for you to go? Winter, early spring or late fall in a warm climate or southern hemisphere because I hate the cold.
What kind of activities do you enjoy doing and what would you never do?
I like to explore new places, then write about it, reading, photography and being in nature. I would never go hang gliding, mountain or rock climbing, skydiving or ziplining. (I did go ziplining once, in Costa Rica – never again!)
If you could live anywhere in the world for a year out of the answers below, where would you choose? The forest.
What are three great adventure quotes?
These are the answers “Bipolar Barb” gave, but they are great and I couldn’t come up with anything better. 

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” — Eleanor Roosevelt;
“Keep reading. It’s one of the most marvelous adventures that anyone can have.” — Lloyd Alexander
“Until you step into the unknown, you don’t know what you’re made of.”
― Roy T. Bennett
America is named after?
Amerigo Vespucci
Who reached North America first out of the following peoples? Spanish, British, Vikings, Portuguese
Vikings – archaeologists have found evidence of Viking habitation in Canada from back in the 12th century or earlier. They were master sailors and conquerors.
map_viking_voyages.jpg
What was Christopher Columbus’s aim of his second voyage to the New world? Probably to rape & pillage and steal all the gold. Really, I don’t know, but that is what he and his men did. They wanted to find “El Dorado” – a city made of gold.
What happened to the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan? It is buried under Mexico City.
What was the most exciting Adventure you have ever been on? Four days hiking/backpacking in the Grand Canyon
Where in the world have you had the most fun exploring as an adult?  I guess I have to say Scotland, because it is one place that we set our own agenda – we weren’t on a tour. It was in 1999, and my mother was with us. She had ancestors in Scotland and we explored some of the places that were part of their history.

dunnottar-castle-june.jpg
I downloaded this image from Bing, but this was a place in Scotland that we just happened to see when we were driving, so we stopped and explored! Well worth the visit!

When in Rome, one does as the Romans do; however, when on a sandy beach, one does ……….. ? Build a sand castle.
Whilst out and about exploring on an adventure, what is the scariest thing that has happened to you? I was almost kidnapped at O’Hare airport when I was 16, and also, in Mexico City, I got into an unmarked car whose driver claimed it was a taxi. If it hadn’t been for the alertness of the friend I was with, God knows what would have happened.
Of the following choices which would you prefer to explore?
Well, a forgotten city is sort of like a ghost town, which can be fun to explore. Ghost towns usually have great photo opps!
A sunken city – I would love it if it is no longer “sunken.” (Tenochtitlan is buried under Mexico City; many Egyptian ruins were buried under sand, but no longer. Do these count?)
A lost city – if it’s lost, how can I explore it?
An uninhabited island – that would be fun to explore also, as long as “uninhabited” includes dangerous animals!
uninhabited island.jpg
Why did you pick your option above, what appealed?
Sunken cities are archaeological goldmines, and I love learning and speculating about life in the distant past.
Would you rather swim with sharks or dolphins? Are you really expecting anyone to answer “sharks”? Dolphins, of course.
What’s the worst piece of travel advice you have ever received? It never really gets cold in Israel. WRONG!!
What is on the top of your bucket list? Going on another safari, perhaps in South Africa; visiting China; a cruise of the Greek Islands. In 2 1/2 weeks we are going to Europe, and while I am in France, I will visit Mont St. Michel, which I can then cross off my bucket list!
Best musical track you can think of for each of the following: exploration, adventuring or travelling? [Please provide links]
City of New Orleans by Arlo Guthrie (traveling)
Africa by Toto (adventuring – safari!!)
This Land Is Your Land performed by Pete Seeger (exploring – there is so much variety in this country!)
How many countries [or States/Counties] have you visited – please list. I’ve been to 42 U.S. states, I think: New York, New Jersey, California, Arizona, Texas, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia, Nevada, Colorado, Idaho (very limited), Utah, Washington, Oregon (very limited), Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico, Nebraska, Kansas, South Dakota, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alaska, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina (limited), South Carolina, Florida, Massachusetts, Vermont, Minnesota, Maine (only Acadia NP), District of Columbia, Maryland, Michigan, West Virginia. (I need to take two trips: Northeast and deep South!) I only counted states that I actually visited, and not states that I’ve driven through while on a road trip. My rule is I at least have to get out of the car and see something.  Oh, I have also been to Puerto Rico which is part of the United States, but it isn’t a state (yet).
Countries: Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Cuba, Costa Rica, Colombia (only Cartagena), Brazil, Peru, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Russia (St. Petersburg), Finland, Sweden, France, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Austria, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Egypt, Tanzania, Israel. In other words, NOT NEARLY ENOUGH! There’s a lot of world left to see!!!
Three items you simply could not travel without? Phone, notebook & pen, water bottle
water bottles.jpg