Travel tips from my imaginary co-founder: Travel Weekly

Richard Touren

AV Churchill is a headstrong British Victorian gentleman from Sussex-on-Wessex-on-Thyme who was one of the fictional founders of our company. He works out of our Illinois office and occasionally speaks to our clients on topics that I would tend to avoid. I thought you might find his latest comments to our customers in our monthly Travel Report of Interest:

Of course, as a British citizen, I was surprised when a recent Pew study listed Facebook as the “main source of information” for 64% of Americans. Here in Naperville, I have a client who teaches in the local school system. He explained that in more than 90% of school systems in the United States, there are no required courses in global geography.

The news left me frustrated and more than a little angry at the way we humans act towards each other. But then I read a new study on the chimpanzees of Gabon. It turns out that researchers have now recorded the fact that chimpanzees “heal” each other by applying certain insects to their wounds. Scientists believe their research shows that chimpanzees have a presocial mindset, “a desire to help others”. The study leader found the results mind-boggling, saying “suddenly we have a species where we really see individuals caring for each other.”

I will admit that as travel is on the rise and more and more people are opening up to us, the news is by no means easy on the eyes. Of course, I watch BBC News, but sometimes I switch to less serious media. After that, I learned that Penn State had just tested the remains of over 4,000 deer killed by hunters and cars in 14 states. They found that 60% of deer were infected with Covid. There are over 30 million deer in the United States. I came back to the BBC.

For some reason, this got me thinking about the question most often asked of Churchill & Turen staff these days: “Do you think it’s safe to go to (fill in the blank)?”

Not so long ago, it was easy to answer. One could simply look at the recommendations from the CDC, although I know for a fact that my partner Richard Turen tends to pay more attention to recommendations from Australian Foreign Service reports. Australians will not tolerate silly or contradictory advice.

Advice on “what is safe” should be accompanied by a follow-up question: “Compared to what? The data often indicates that churches, supermarkets, gyms and stadiums are, statistically, the most dangerous places in the United States. Here in the United States we have one of the highest per capita Covid rates in the world, the highest percentage of anti-vaxxers and deniers, and Covid aside, we rank 122nd of the 2021 ranking of the respected Global Peace Index. This would mean that there are 121 countries on this Earth that are considered statistically safer than the United States. I’m not sure staying in the US and moving from place to place is very high on the safety scale.

The BBC reported that 56% of Americans believe there will be a second American Revolution. Well, if that’s true, why don’t we all go back to the motherland now? But before you do, make sure you understand that this means Boris will be your prime minister.

If security is your main concern going forward, allow me to share the top 10 safest countries on Earth in the study:

  1. Iceland
  2. New Zealand
  3. Portugal
  4. Austria
  5. Denmark
  6. Canada
  7. Singapore
  8. Czech republic
  9. Japan
  10. Swiss

My personal travel advice is quite different from Turen’s. Believe me, flying to London with BA is definitely the smartest choice one can make these days. Visit my homeland until the rest of the world gets by. — AV Churchill