I recently fulfilled my life long dream of taking the VSOE. Although it has been on my mind to experience the VSOE, this journey came about purely by chance
it’s no secret that China has been quietly building infrastructure around the world and buying political influence through the implementation of massive building projects. On recent trips on Zoom Southern Africa, Zoom Rwanda and Tanzania, Zoom India, Zoom Sri Lanka and Zoom Maldives I saw first-hand China’s involvement.
Cuba because it will change forever once the rest of the world is able to travel there and establish businesses. Having served as something of a time-capsule during the US-Cuba embargo, the country is already witnessing some of the social and economic effects of increased globalization. Because Cuba is relatively poor and very bureaucratic, change is slower than anticipated. Under the Obama administration, regulations have evolved and Cuba is becoming more and more accessible to American tourists. On the other hand, the Trump administration is suggesting that it will void Obama’s executive orders. Therefore, I recommend getting there sooner rather than later while it’s relatively easy to do so. Keep in mind that although we have re-established diplomatic relations and eased the embargo and eased travel restrictions for US citizens, the embargo is still in effect as a whole.
Second, the Maldives. Talk about change in a vanishing paradise, the reality is that if sea water levels continue to rise at current rates, the Maldives will be completely erased from Earth by 2046. I would certainly be upset if someone told me my country would be completely submerged in water in my lifetime. So, there are two places you should go to NOW! Don't wait. In the near future, traces of Cuba’s authenticity and the Maldives’s landmass are both under threat.
I just returned from Zoom Egypt with a small group and the question on everyone's mind is whether we/I felt safe.
I would say without any hesitation that we were safe in many ways. From a security perspective, given recent history the government has taken extra measures to secure all points of travel as well as tourist sites and areas. As an American we were made to feel welcome. We were often asked "where are you from?" as a way to start conversation, and invariably they would say "welcome!".
Despite the rhetoric about traveling in the Middle East as a gay person, I also felt very welcome and safe. It was a non issue. In fact, on our first day in Cairo I spend the day visiting at the beautiful home of an Egyptian couple I first met in Mykonos about 20 years ago. They have been together for 37 years and explained that gay life in Egypt is alive and well, although it's practiced differently than in the US.