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Alaska Indigenous Rights, At-Home COVID-19 Test

Random Acts of Canine Kindness

Cedric the Dog takes a well-deserved break after an ill-fated attempt to shut down a white supremacist rally in Idaho.

You want a friend in Washington? Get a dog. – Harry S. Truman

MORE Dog Quotations

Deb's Poetry Break

On the Beach at Fontana

by James Joyce

Wind whines and whines the shingle,
The crazy pierstakes groan;
A senile sea numbers each single
Slimesilvered stone.

From whining wind and colder
Grey sea I wrap him warm
And touch his trembling fineboned shoulder
And boyish arm.

Around us fear, descending
Darkness of fear above
And in my heart how deep unending
Ache of love.

Send Deb your favorite travel poems

JetBlue Passengers Will Be Able to Take an At-Home COVID-19 Test

No nasal swab required

Written by Stefanie Waldek, Courtesy of JetBlue

With COVID-19 testing restrictions impeding both domestic and international travel, JetBlue is providing its passengers an option that might help them travel more freely. The airline has announced a partnership with Vault Health to provide its passengers with easy access to an at-home COVID-19 test that could be used to enter specific destinations with coronavirus testing policies in place.


10 Domestic Tours for 2021!

Courtesy Austin Adventures

Here is a countdown of our top 10 domestic tours for 2021!

North Carolina scenery

10. North Carolina – The High Country
No need to fly to Europe to experience European history and culture. North Carolina is abundant in early American history interwoven with French, British, and Spanish notes. While you may feel the remnants of the past in its beauty, you’re sure to be reminded of its American present as you watch a bald eagle soar above the Catawba River winding through the Blue Ridge Mountains. Adventure travel through the landscape on foot, kayak, or zipline and then refuel yourself with the American tradition of Carolina BBQ!


National Anthems With Surprising Origins

More than any other song, a national anthem needs to hit all the right notes. While the melodies may range from triumphant marches to traditional hymns, the lyrics should be uplifting, with words that convey patriotism and pride. Most citizens can sing along to their country’s national anthem at parades and sporting events, but the story behind each song is often lesser-known. From nationwide contests to government petitions, the origins of these five national anthems probably aren’t what you’d expect.

“Negaraku” (Malaysia)

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


4 Ways to Protect Yourself from Disinformation

protection from disinformation

Courtesy Elizabeth Stoycheff

Even the most well-intentioned news consumers can find today’s avalanche of political information difficult to navigate. With so much news available, many people consume media in an automatic, unconscious state – similar to knowing you drove home but not being able to recall the trip.


Coronavirus and COVID-19

people wearing masks as Covid19 precautions

How can we be more direct in battling this national crisis? America is facing an unprecedented medical crisis. Throughout this challenging time, your health and safety remain our top priority. Protect yourself and your loved ones with the help of this important information on COVID-19. Together, we can keep our communities healthy and strong.


Tom Hanks Has ‘No Respect’ for People that Don’t Wear Masks

Tom Hanks in mask
Tom Hanks: Shame on you if you’re not wearing a mask! PHOTO COURTESY OF JOHN BAULD VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS.

Tom Hanks has “no respect” for people that don’t wear masks during the coronavirus pandemic, he told the Associated Press. Though the CDC recommends all Americans wear masks in public, many people refuse to use face coverings. I don’t get it. I simply do not get it. It is literally the least you can do, Hanks said. If you can’t wear a mask and wash your hands and social distance, I got no respect for you, man. Hanks recently on CNN compared C-19 with WWII: Do your part, were all in this together!

Racism by Scott Woods

“The problem is that white people see racism as conscious hate, when racism is bigger than that. Racism is a complex system of social and political levers and pulleys set up generations ago to continue working on the behalf of whites at other people’s expense, whether whites know/like it or not. Racism is an insidious cultural disease. It is so insidious that it doesn’t care if you are a white person who likes black people; it’s still going to find a way to infect how you deal with people who don’t look like you…”


Corona Virus Travel Updates – Live Blog

Courtesy Big 7 Travel Team


As the coronavirus situation is ongoing, we will be updating this live blog with current travel advice, quarantines, flight cancellations and travel industry news. Check back daily for new updates and send any coronavirus travel news tips to sa***@bi***********.com


How to Take Your Own Passport Photo

Courtesy, Caroline Morse Teel, SmarterTravel

taking a passport photo

After paying $15 to have an awkward photoshoot in the aisle of a CVS, only to have my passport photos rejected twice (once for being too dark and once for being too bright), I decided there had to be a better way to take your own passport photo. Turns out, snapping your own passport photo is easier, cheaper, and much more convenient than going to a “professional” (a.k.a., the cashier at your local drugstore). Here’s a few tips:


New TSA Rules

As travelers return to airports, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced new rules and precautions to reduce the spread of coronavirus or any kind of germs amongst travelers and employees.


Dream-Worthy Destinations to Start Planning For

The Royal Mansour Marrakech in Morocco is on travel writer Angelina Villa-Clarke’s list of places to stay soon after travel restrictions are lifted. She also has her sights on AlmaLusa Baixa/Chiado, a 28-room townhouse hotel in Lisbon, Portugal, as well as a few other destinations.


Exploring These Lost Cities Is The Closest You’ll Get to Time Travel

Bagan temples, Myanmar

Lost cities offer glimpses into ancient civilizations that, either suddenly or over time, collapsed, often leaving artifacts intact and architecture fully preserved. Machu Pichuu might be the most famous, and we have yet to discover Atlantis, but the cities below are rife for discovery. You’ll find accessible ruins to easily place on your bucket list and kingdoms so lost and isolated you never knew they existed. Some were decimated by disaster, others simply faded away. But all are worthy of exploring once our civilization’s gears turn back on.


Working Remotely? This Webinar is for You


Whether you work remotely 100% of the time or find yourself navigating this situation for the very first time, working at a physical distance can pose a unique set of challenges. Slack is here to help. This 30-minute webinar will provide tips and tactics within Slack that you can put into action right away.


How to Redesign Government Work for the Future


In this article, Deloitte explores the opportunity for government orgs to intentionally redesign work to both accommodate the role of technology and machines, and to design for new needs and activities, including those resulting from broader economic, workforce, and societal shifts.


JetBlue CEO Anticipates Improvements to Make Travel Safer

In an interview with CNBC, JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes said widespread testing will be essential to make passengers feel secure and allow air travel to recover from the coronavirus crisis. “We’ve got to make sure that they’re safe from a health standpoint,” he said, predicting that the epidemic will result in permanent changes in cleaning and screening procedures that will make aircraft and airports safer.


Together in Spirit – The Best Friends Animal Society

At the core of Best Friends Animal Society’s work is the dream that one day animals will no longer be killed in America’s shelters.


Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER) set to open October 31.

German capital will finally have a large, unified and modern airport.

Germany’s third largest airport, Berlin Brandenburg “Willy Brandt” airport BER, is scheduled to open on 31 October 2020. IATA code for the entire airport location will change to BER with the start of the 2020/2021 winter schedule. Schӧnefeld SXF becomes BER.

BER waiting area at check-in

New Booking.com Data Shows How Americans Traveled This Summer

Spoiler: We stayed a lot closer to home

Written by Patrice J. Williams, Booking.com

summer travel, America

Summer tends to be a heavy travel season for most, but not surprisingly, 2020 was a big exception. New data from Booking.com reveals exactly how the global pandemic affected Americans’ travel plans.


Meet the 18-Year-Old Championing Indigenous Rights in Alaska

By Maia Wikler, YES! Magazine

Quannah Chasinghorse is continuing the legacy of Gwich’in women working to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Quannah Chasinghorse
Quannah Chasinghorse. PHOTO: KERI OBERLY.

“Did someone lose their dog?” Quannah Chasinghorse jokes, pointing at a large moose in her neighbor’s snow-covered yard. At -40 degrees Fahrenheit, it is a typical winter’s day in Fairbanks, Alaska. Chasinghorse, an 18-year-old Han Gwich’in and Oglala Lakota youth, is curled up on the couch, wearing a shirt emblazoned with the slogan “Protect the Arctic, Defend the Sacred.”

It is a rare moment of rest for Chasinghorse. In the past year, she has traveled coast to coast, advocating to protect her homelands from the desecration of oil drilling, with her mother, Jody Potts, who is Han Gwich’in and a tribal member of the Native Village of Eagle. Her mother also serves as the regional director for Native Movement and is a board member with the Alaska Wilderness League. This mother-daughter duo represents the decadeslong fight to protect their state’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.


Postal Service Workforce, Flattened by the Pandemic, Quietly Resists DeJoy’s Changes

By Antonia Noori Farzan, Jennifer Hassan, Brittany Shammas, Miriam Berger, Lateshia Beachum and Kim Bellware, The Washington Post

This autumn, as controversial new procedures at the U.S. Postal Service snarled the nation’s mail delivery and stirred fears of how the agency would handle the election, rank-and-file workers quietly began to resist.

Mechanics in New York drew out the dismantling and removal of mail-sorting machines until their supervisor gave up on the order. In Michigan, a group of letter carriers did an end run around a supervisor’s directive to leave election mail behind, starting their routes late to sift through it. In Ohio, postal clerks culled prescriptions and benefit checks from bins of stalled mail to make sure they were delivered, while some carriers ran late items out on their own time. In Pennsylvania, some postal workers looked for any excuse — a missed turn, heavy traffic, a rowdy dog — to buy enough time to finish their daily rounds.


Covid-19 Direct Relief

And remember Covid-19 Direct Relief, who addresses the courage of health workers on the front lines, honoring them with meaningful support, and the people most at risk in this pandemic are cared for — regardless of politics, religion, or ability to pay.


Bruce Springsteen  to Donald Trump: Put on a F***ing Mask

Bruce Springsteen in mask
US president: Put on a f***ing mask

Bruce Springsteen has criticized Donald Trump‘s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, telling the US president: Put on a f***ing mask.  With Americans dying over the last few months and the empty, shamed response from our leaders, I’ve been simply pissed off, he said. Those lives deserve better than being simply inconvenient statistics for our president’s re-election efforts. It’s a national disgrace.

He continued: Instead of celebrating the joys of summer today, we will be contemplating our current circumstances with the coronavirus and the cost it has drawn from our nation. We will be calculating what we’ve lost, sending prayers for the deceased and the families they have left behind.

Although the coronavirus has claimed the lives of over 140,000 people in the US, Trump has often refused to wear a protective face mask during public appearances, which sends a polarizing message to a nation, desperately in need of some cohesive form of leadership. Today our Executive Office boasts of saving millions of lives, but if the White House had not been so dismissive at the first outbreak of C-19, our statistics of those infected would have flattened like the E.U.

Springsteen dedicated a song to Trump on his radio broadcast, saying: If you are ready for a rock & roll requiem, stay tuned. I’m going to start out by sending one to the man sitting behind the resolute desk. With all respect, sir, show some consideration and care for your countrymen and your country, he added. Put on a f***ing mask.

United States Not on EU’s ‘Safe’ Travel list, Diplomats Say

Courtesy Philip Blenkinsop

BRUSSELS, June 30 (Reuters) – The United States is not on a “safe list” of destinations for non-essential travel due to be unveiled by European Union governments later on Tuesday, three diplomats said.

The 27-member bloc is expected to give outline approval to leisure or business travel from Wednesday to 14 countries beyond its borders when they vote on the list by midday Brussels time (1000 GMT), the diplomats said.

The countries are Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay, they said.

Russia and Brazil, along with the United States, are among countries that do not make the initial “safe list.”

Take These Steps If You’re Renting a Vacation Home During the Pandemic

Courtesy of Consumer Reports

Traveling this summer has risks. Here’s how to vacation responsibly and minimize your exposure to the coronavirus. Summer is almost upon us. But while the heat and humidity will be familiar, “this is going to be a very different type of summer,” says Amira Roess, Ph.D., M.P.H., a professor of global health and epidemiology at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. The country may be reopening, but the risk of COVID-19 remains. Until a vaccine is developed, this is a reality Americans will “have to contend with every time they step outside,” says Amesh Adalja, M.D., an infectious disease physician and senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore.

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Maintaining Tourist Sites During COVID-19

Courtesy of Smithsonian

maintaining tourist sites during Covid-19

How to Stay Safe While Traveling

the writer's room at Bear Springs Hotel

With travel set to resume as coronavirus restrictions ease, travelers should inform themselves about the cleaning procedures at hotels and Airbnb properties before choosing the best option for them. Ask about cleaning protocols, be on the lookout for red flags such as accumulations of dirt and grime, and inspect surfaces in the bathroom and kitchen, recommends Brian Sansoni of the American Cleaning Institute.


Exploring Japan’s Wellbeing Traditions to Inspire Post-Lockdown Restorative Travel

Beppu Onsen hot springs, Japan
Beppu Onsen has several hot springs varying in color and clarity for different ailments (© JNTO)

Recreate Japan’s onsens, find mindfulness through zen meditation and shakyo, and practice the technique of kintsugi from home

For would-be travelers dreaming of an escape to Japan post-lockdown, there are a variety of fun, interactive ways to recreate some of the country’s ancient wellbeing and mindfulness practices from afar. The below methods and products highlight how some of Japan’s oldest traditions, from onsens to the art of kintsugi, will help to inspire travelers to start planning their next restorative journey to Japan.

One of Japan’s most iconic wellness attractions, the onsen (or hot spring), is naturally enriched with vitamins and minerals from subterranean volcanic activity beneath the archipelago. There are a variety of products travelers can buy to enhance their own Japanese-style bath at home; the Japanese brand Kracie has created a variety of bath salts, allowing people to bring the magic of the onsen into their homes.


Businesses Prepare to Reopen with New Methods of Liability Waiver Collection

Handshakes, hugs and sharing pens and pencils may become things of the past. Physical contact with anyone or anything can now set off alarm bells.

COVID-19 is changing the world of customer relations, from contactless point-of-sale purchases to online ordering. WaiverSign, a digital liability waiver application, is helping companies get liability waivers signed electronically, eliminating the need to pass pens, paper, clipboards and keypads back and forth.

As officials like to say, “statistics don’t lie.” New sales figures are up 121% in April 2020 compared to April 2019, say officials from WaiverSign.

WaiverSign on tablet

“Utilizing WaiverSign is yet another tool for companies preparing to welcome patrons as virus-driven lockdowns begin to lift,” said Brandon Lake, CEO of Resmark Systems and WaiverSign. “In addition to getting waivers signed without the use of paper and pens, many companies are now seeing the myriad of other benefits that come with collecting and storing liability waivers online.”

WaiverSign, headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, also anticipates signing on new clients who choose to augment and fine-tune their risk management plans by implementing waivers and related documents to ensure that participants understand and accept the inherent risks of COVID-19 and other illnesses.


5 Ways to Support Small Businesses from Home During the Pandemic

Courtesy Caroline Morse Teel, SmarterTravel

Small businesses are really hurting during this time of isolation. Here are five simple and safe ways you can help support them so that they’ll still be there for you when the pandemic is over. (And remember — the best way you can help small business is by staying home, so that we can end this isolation period faster.)


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