Category : Travel

(FT) Walsingham–The Norfolk Lourdes: England’s lost Holy Land

Somewhere in an English village — amid the cul-de-sacs and pubs, vegetable patches and garden gnomes, the GP’s surgery and the miniature steam railway — lies the spot where the Virgin Mary came down from heaven.

Walsingham, Norfolk, is a sleepy place (though not as sleepy as the neighbouring village of Great Snoring). Nonetheless, it was here in 1061 that the Virgin supposedly appeared to Richeldis de Faverches, a Saxon noblewoman. Mary instructed her to build a replica of the house at Nazareth where archangel Gabriel had brought the news that she was to bear the Son of God.

You might wonder if there were more urgent prophecies to relate to a Saxon in the England of 1061 — but, in any case, the noblewoman set about following her instructions. It is said that one night, while she prayed, the building materials she had provided miraculously assembled themselves into the “Holy House” of Walsingham.

For half a millennium, Walsingham thrived as a centre of pilgrimage, alongside Jerusalem, Rome and Santiago. English kings came to pray here. The Milky Way became known as “The Walsingham Way” because its celestial sweep recalled the movement of pilgrims towards the bright star of its shrine. Walsingham, so the saying went, was “England’s Nazareth”.

Read it all (subsciption).

Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Religion & Culture, Travel

(FT) The truckers who keep our world moving

Archie Norman, chair of Marks and Spencer, said this week: “Some of the descriptors, particularly of animal products, have to be written in Latin and in a certain typeface.” Every sandwich containing butter, he said, requires an EU vet certificate, which means employing 13 vets and budgeting for 30 per cent more driver time.

Six-mile queues at Dover and 18-mile lines at Calais this year were caused by post-Brexit checks, worsened by small numbers of lorries with the wrong paperwork.

We can expect more delays in September, when a new security system may require drivers to leave their vehicles for facial or body scans, and more again next year when trucks will be inspected at the new inland border at Sevington, near Ashford, Kent.

The metaphor of supply “chains” makes the process sound orderly and smooth, but from the first this journey along them was more like an adventure through a wild ecosystem in which we were a prey, dashing between safe habitats such as lorry parks and filling stations, hunted by authorities, legislation and customs rules that sought to charge, delay or stop us.

It was not that the trucks had any deficiency to bother the police or the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, which regulates haulage in Britain. It was that many drivers loathe and avoid the DVSA, and checkpoints of all kinds in all countries. 

“They’re not on your side. They’re out to get you. It’s like they want to punish you for doing your job,” Ian said. “They want to fine you and take your money.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Travel

(Economist) Trains run through the dark to keep Ukraine going

The vital nature of the railways has transformed the way they are run. When the war started on February 24th, the system’s management triggered a secret plan worked out in advance for a national emergency. Female staff with families were evacuated abroad. Train drivers were recalled from retirement. Meanwhile a core management team packed suitcases for an as yet unclear period on the road. That central team has been in charge of strategy for the past 22 days, making decisions from aboard randomly chosen trains to avoid being hit by the Russians. Operational decisions have mostly been delegated to station managers, who work with military police around the clock to ensure as safe a passage for staff and passengers as they can.

Petro Stetsuk, the controller at Kyiv’s central station, is but one of a number of war heroes keeping the railways running. The former head of Ukraine’s transport police and a 30-year veteran of the railways, 60-year-old Mr Stetsuk has been camped alongside the tracks for the past three weeks. It has been a constant battle, fought alongside a slimmed-down staff of 60 railway workers. They have repaired the station after it was damaged by a falling rocket; turned the station’s east vestibule into a soup kitchen, field hospital and psychological clinic; and put more than 2m frantic fellow Ukrainians on evacuation trains to the west. Passenger flows are now less than the highs of late February, when close to 80,000 flowed through the station daily. But the work continues to be taxing. “My main job is keeping my people calm so they can make good decisions,” Mr Stetsuk says. He laughed: “Plus, of course, finding the train drivers, the carriage assistants, preparing the trains, calling the end stations, and making sure people aren’t blown up en route.”

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Posted in Military / Armed Forces, Russia, Travel, Ukraine

(Local Paper) 4 South Carolina cities hold top spots in new travel rankings for the South

Every year that Southern Living has published rankings for its annual South’s Best Awards, Charleston has topped its list of best cities.

This latest win, announced last week, can’t be called consecutive, though. Charleston’s last time at No. 1 on the list was in March 2020, just days before cities started going into COVID-19 lockdown.

At the time, it wasn’t clear yet how the virus would affect South Carolina, and tourism leaders said the nod from Southern Living might have come at an ideal time: Air travel was already dropping off, but the visitor industry was still hopeful that tourists would continue to make shorter road trips. Southern Living readers were primarily in Charleston’s “drive market.”

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Posted in * South Carolina, Travel

(Hidden Brain unsung heroes series) Little things are not a little thing–Sophia Croll’s Story

Take the time to listen to it all. It is simple but inspiring.

Posted in * General Interest, Travel

(FT) Gillian Tett om why we need to watch trucking costs fully to understand the US inflation problem

When America’s Bureau of Labor Statistics released data this month showing that consumer price inflation had surged to 7 per cent, many investors were shocked. No wonder: this marks the fastest jump since 1982.

But here is another number that should spark concern: 17 per cent. That was the annual inflation rate for overall trucking costs last month, according to a (deeply buried) section of the bureau’s data. For the long-haul trucking sector, the number was even scarier: 25 per cent.

That is bad news for business — and consumers — given that almost three-quarters of freight in America is moved by trucks. Or to put it another way, if you want to understand what lies behind that scary 7 per cent inflation number, don’t just track raw material, energy or cross-border shipping costs; watch those oft-ignored truckers too.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Federal Reserve, Travel

(NYT front page) No Shots, No Day Care: Parents of Kids Under 5 Stuck in Grueling Limbo

Twice last year, Margaret Schulte and her husband, Jason Abercrombie, traveled 11 hours round-trip to Louisiana from their home in Tulsa, Okla., in the hopes of vaccinating their children, who were 2 and 4, against the coronavirus.

The only way they could get shots for their children — among the more than 19 million Americans under 5 years old who are not yet eligible for vaccinations — was to take part in a clinical trial. So they signed up, hoping a successful vaccine would mean that by now, or at least sometime very soon, a semblance of prepandemic life would be on the horizon.

It has not worked out that way.

The Pfizer trial that their children participated in did not produce promising results, the company said last month. Nor have vaccines emerged from other corners. Moderna has yet to release results of its pediatric trials.

Now Ms. Schulte and Mr. Abercrombie are among the millions of parents stuck in an excruciating limbo during a surge of Omicron cases, forced to wrestle with day care closures and child care crises as the rest of the world appears eager to move on.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Children, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Stress, Travel

(CNN) Hats off to Two Georgia Heroes this Week, students Conner Doss and Kane Daugherty

Two middle school students are being praised for their quick action when their bus driver experienced a medical emergency.

Conner Doss and Kane Daugherty are students at East Paulding Middle School outside Atlanta and were on a full bus when the incident happened, according to CNN affiliate WSB-TV.
“I come out, I come in the aisle and look down. Miss Julie’s face is bright red and shaking,” Doss told WSB.

The driver managed to pull over and that’s when they realized something was wrong.

“I hear her say, ‘Hey! Somebody help!’ So, I run up. She’s over here shaking really bad,” said Daugherty. “I picked up the [dispatch radio], I said, ‘Somebody help. Our bus driver feels really dizzy.’ Somebody called her phone.”

The dispatcher was able to call 911, help the boys set the emergency brake, flashing lights and emergency stop arm.

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Posted in Education, Health & Medicine, Spirituality/Prayer, Travel

(Guardian) Bishops hit out at ‘criminalisation of Good Samaritan’ over Channel crossings

A multilateral approach, promoting safe routes and valuing human life and the “dignity of the vulnerable”, was needed, the bishops said.

Paul Butler, the bishop of Durham, said: “We agree with the home secretary that we need a better and more efficient asylum process, and we agree on wanting to stop human trafficking.

“But the answer is more designated safe routes. The situation in Afghanistan has demonstrated that it’s possible to identify the most vulnerable people, sort out the necessary paperwork and set up safe routes.

“In Afghanistan, we have seen the story, seen the horror. With a lot of the folk in Calais, we don’t know their stories. If we did, levels of sympathy and compassion would increase.”

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Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Immigration, Politics in General, Travel

(New Scientist) World’s first 3D-printed steel bridge opens in Amsterdam

The first ever 3D-printed steel bridge has opened in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. It was created by robotic arms using welding torches to deposit the structure of the bridge layer by layer, and is made of 4500 kilograms of stainless steel.

The 12-metre-long MX3D Bridge was built by four commercially available industrial robots and took six months to print. The structure was transported to its location over the Oudezijds Achterburgwal canal in central Amsterdam last week and is now open to pedestrians and cyclists.

More than a dozen sensors attached to the bridge after the printing was completed will monitor strain, movement, vibration and temperature across the structure as people pass over it and the weather changes. This data will be fed into a digital model of the bridge.

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Posted in Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Science & Technology, The Netherlands, Travel, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Lichfield Live) Lichfield Cathedral to join cycling route across England

Lichfield Cathedral is joining a new route for cyclists across England.

The new Cathedrals Cycle Route has been created by academic Shaun Cutler from Northumbria University.

It links all 42 Church of England cathedrals and will be showcased when Shaun and a group of cyclists take part in a relay ride.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sports, Travel

(WSJ) The ‘Great Reshuffling’ Is Shifting Wealth to the Exurbs

A shift to the exurbs started years before the pandemic hit, according to data from the Brookings Institution, and the population of these more-remote places continued to swell with more white-collar workers even as the pandemic weakened. Why? These regions allow employees to be within commuting distance of cities as many firms ask workers to be back in the office for at least part of the work week. U.S. Postal Service data showed that between March and November of last year, 72% of those who filed for address changes in the Bay Area only moved as far as another Bay Area county.

The money stockpiled from leaving pricier areas, coupled with stimulus checks and enforced saving over the last year, are padding the bank accounts of these new movers. Rising credit scores are, in turn, enabling other major purchases such as cars. The new arrivals in the exurbs are finding they need their first or second automobile now that they are located in a more remote part of a metropolitan area. A January survey conducted by Engine Insights on behalf of Xperi DTS found 55% of millennials surveyed said car ownership was more important than ever.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Travel

(NYT) She Fell Nearly 2 Miles, and Walked Away

From a window seat in a back row, the teenager watched a bolt of lightning strike the plane’s right wing. She remembers the aircraft nose-diving and her mother saying, evenly, “Now it’s all over.” She remembers people weeping and screaming. And she remembers the thundering silence that followed. The aircraft had broken apart, separating her from everyone else onboard. “The next thing I knew, I was no longer inside the cabin,” Dr. Diller said. “I was outside, in the open air. I hadn’t left the plane; the plane had left me.”

As she plunged, the three-seat bench into which she was belted spun like the winged seed of a maple tree toward the jungle canopy. “From above, the treetops resembled heads of broccoli,” Dr. Diller recalled. She then blacked out, only to regain consciousness — alone, under the bench, in a torn minidress — on Christmas morning. She had fallen some 10,000 feet, nearly two miles. Her row of seats is thought to have landed in dense foliage, cushioning the impact. Juliane was the sole survivor of the crash.

Miraculously, her injuries were relatively minor: a broken collarbone, a sprained knee and gashes on her right shoulder and left calf, one eye swollen shut and her field of vision in the other narrowed to a slit. Most unbearable among the discomforts was the disappearance of her eyeglasses — she was nearsighted — and one of her open-back sandals. “I lay there, almost like an embryo for the rest of the day and a whole night, until the next morning,” she wrote in her memoir, “When I Fell From the Sky,” published in Germany in 2011. “I am completely soaked, covered with mud and dirt, for it must have been pouring rain for a day and a night.”

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Posted in Children, Marriage & Family, Peru, Psychology, Travel

Quigg Lawrence on the Extraordinary story of Archbp Ben Kwashi’s Healing

During surgery, Dr. Madge Ellis found the cancer had spread to Ben’s liver and he was, shockingly, Stage 4. Ben definitely would have died had the Holy Spirit not rather miraculously told us to invite him to come here for treatment.

7 months and 12 brutal rounds of chemo later, Ben is healthy.

Ben’s levels of CEA (protein “tumor markers”) are within the normal range. In layman’s terms, the chemo was effective and Ben appears posed to have a much longer life!

Annette and I have been honored to share our home and our lives with them. We will never, ever forget them. They are dear to us.

++Ben and Mama taught us many things in the last 7 months. They are beautiful reflections of Jesus, they are wise, they are joyful.

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Posted in Church of Nigeria, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Spirituality/Prayer, Travel

Took a Break to Take a Trip with Wonderful friends from Nigeria this week

Posted in Church of Nigeria, Harmon Family, Photos/Photography, Travel

(Bloomberg) Electric Vehicles Could Make Dealerships a Thing of the Past, Too

There’s auto news out of Sweden: Volvo Cars says that it will be fully electric by 2030. No more internal combustion, no more hybrids. It’s batteries or bust.

In making this commitment, Volvo is betting on a trend: that as EVs are becoming cheaper and new conventional cars are being priced higher, consumers’ math on electric-versus-internal combustion will soon come out in electrics’ favor.

But there’s more to Volvo’s position on EVs than just changing the powertrain. The carmaker says its pure electric models will only be available for sale online, and that its first fully electric car is now receiving over-the-air software updates. (Tesla has been doing this for years.) That first plan has implications for the built environment; the second, for emissions and the global climate.

Read it all (subscription).

Posted in Ecology, Science & Technology, Sweden, Travel

Eleanor Parker on the Feast Day of St Julian the Hospitaller, patron of wayfarers and pilgrims

The author’s discussion of the three kinds of model which a holy person can follow – pilgrim, dead man, sufferer on the cross – is based on a sermon by Bernard of Clairvaux, but the saints’ names here are his own addition. James, Giles and Julian were the three saints most closely associated with pilgrimage in the thirteenth century – James in particular, the archetypal pilgrim with his scrip and cockle-shell. St Julian was known instead as an accommodator of pilgrims, as a result of the legend about his life which grew up in the thirteenth century. There’s a useful overview of his story here. According to the Golden Legend, Julian learned as a young man that he was destined to kill his parents. Trying to escape his fate, he fled his home (that never works, Julian!) and settled in a distant country. He got married, but one day when he was away from home his parents arrived at his house and his wife, fatally hospitable, gave them her own bed to sleep in. When Julian returned and saw the sleeping couple, he thought it was his wife in bed with another man, and so he killed them both. In penance for his sin he built hospitals and lodgings for travellers, and ferried pilgrims across the river – on one occasion, as depicted at the top of this post and below, he ferried Christ in disguise as a leper, and was told by him that his sin was forgiven.

St Julian therefore became a patron of pilgrims and travellers, a byword for hospitality – Chaucer says of his Franklin, who loves sharing the pleasures of the table and keeps open house for half the neighbourhood, that ‘an housholdere, and that a greet, was he; Seint Julian was he in his contree’. And so in Ancrene Wisse ‘St Julian’s house’ is heaven, the destination of wayfarers, a permanent lodging-place for those who pass as strangers and pilgrims through this world. Pilgrims travel to their ‘home in heaven’, but that journey is best made, Ancrene Wisse argues, not by travellers but by anchorites, who seek God in one fixed and steadfast place. In that dwelling, as a later English anchorite – another Julian – wrote, they find the union with God which means he becomes infinitely intimate, homely, with the soul: ‘for in us is His homeliest home’.

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Posted in Church History, Religion & Culture, Travel

(Bloomberg) Germany Orders Electric Air Taxis to Carry Emergency Doctors

Germany’s biggest air-ambulance operator has ordered two electric air taxis to evaluate their potential in a pioneering role speeding doctors to patients.

ADAC Luftrettung, part of the country’s leading motoring association, will begin testing the 18-rotor Volocopter GmbH aircraft from 2023 after the simulation of 26,000 emergency responses in two cities indicated that it could fulfill a rapid-transport role currently performed by a costlier helicopter fleet.

The joint announcement Tuesday provides further evidence of the commercial potential of vertical takeoff air taxis, coming less than a week after Singapore said it plans to launch the world’s first such service.

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Posted in Germany, Science & Technology, Travel

(WSJ) Saudi Arabia Shrinks Hajj Pilgrimage Because of Coronavirus Pandemic

Saudi Arabia said it was curtailing this year’s hajj pilgrimage to only a small number of people already in the kingdom, rather than the millions who usually flock to Islam’s holiest sites, amid concerns about the spread of the new coronavirus.

The hajj, the Muslim world’s most important religious pilgrimage, is considered a pillar of Islam and has been held since the seventh century in Mecca. All Muslims who are able to are required to make the journey at least once in their lifetimes.

The five-day event, which begins in late July this year, is a source of great political and religious prestige for Saudi Arabia, while also generating an estimated $8 billion in revenue for the kingdom each year.

The smaller umrah pilgrimage, which takes place in Mecca throughout the year, and international travel to and from the kingdom remain suspended.

Read it all.

Posted in Health & Medicine, Islam, Religion & Culture, Saudi Arabia, Travel

(CBC) Toronto to make face coverings mandatory on public transit, will hand out 1M masks to riders

Mayor John Tory announced the updated regulations for the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) on Thursday.

“This will help to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our city,” Tory said.

“As the restart and reopening begins, we know that more people will be back on the TTC… at the same time, physical distancing will become a greater and greater challenge.”

The TTC board will need to approve the recommendation at its meeting next week, though TTC CEO Rick Leary has already said he supports the plan.

“I want to make sure people know our system is safe for both customers and employees,” Leary said.

Toronto also announced on Thursday a plan to give out one million non-medical masks to transit users, with a focus on low-income and marginalized communities.

Read it all.

Posted in Canada, City Government, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Travel

(ScienceMag) ‘This beast is moving very fast.’ Will the new coronavirus be contained—or go pandemic?

The repatriation of 565 Japanese citizens from Wuhan, China, in late January offered scientists an unexpected opportunity to learn a bit more about the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) raging in that city. To avoid domestic spread of the virus, Japanese officials screened every passenger for disease symptoms and tested them for the virus after they landed. Eight tested positive, but four of those had no symptoms at all, says epidemiologist Hiroshi Nishiura of Hokkaido University, Sapporo—which is a bright red flag for epidemiologists who are trying to figure out what the fast-moving epidemic has in store for humanity. If many infections go unnoticed, as the Japanese finding suggests, that vastly complicates efforts to contain the outbreak.

Two months after 2019-nCoV emerged—and with well over 20,000 cases and 427 deaths as of 4 February—mathematical modelers have been racing to predict where the virus will move next, how big a toll it might ultimately take, and whether isolating patients and limiting travel will slow it. But to make confident predictions, they need to know much more about how easily the virus spreads, how sick it makes people, and whether infected people with no symptoms can still infect others.

Some of that information is coming out of China. But amid the all-out battle to control the virus, and with diagnostic capabilities in short supply, Chinese researchers cannot answer all the questions. Countries with just a handful of cases, such as Japan, can also reveal important data, says Preben Aavitsland of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. “It’s up to all countries now that receive cases to collect as much information as possible.”

With the limited information so far, scientists are sketching out possible paths that the virus might take, weighing the likelihoods of each, and trying to determine the fallout. “We’re at this stage where defined scenarios and the evidence for and against them are really important because it allows people to plan better,” says Marc Lipsitch, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. These scenarios break into two broad categories: The world gets the virus under control—or it doesn’t.

Read it all.

Posted in China, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Travel

Friday Mental Health break–(NBC) Airport Pig Spreads Holiday Cheer In San Francisco

Posted in Animals, Health & Medicine, Psychology, Travel

(NYT) Mission: Escorting Veterans Down Memory Lane

In 2004, shortly after the national World War II Memorial was completed, Earl Morse, a retired Air Force captain working at the Department of Veterans Affairs clinic in Springfield, Ohio, realized that many of the veterans he knew would never get to see it.

So he persuaded pilots at his local flying club to ferry a handful of veterans to Washington on small planes, and accompany them to the National Mall.

Jeff Miller, who owns a dry cleaning company in Hendersonville, N.C., soon added chartered commercial jets to the impromptu enterprise.

From there blossomed an entire organization, known as the Honor Flight Network, which since 2005 has carried nearly a quarter-million veterans of World War II and the Korean and Vietnam Wars to Washington.

Read it all.

Posted in Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Marriage & Family, Military / Armed Forces, Travel

Another shot with Friends on the recent Trip

Posted in England / UK, Photos/Photography, Travel

Visiting Friends from Oxford Days

Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Parish Ministry, Photos/Photography, Travel

Surprised by a dear Old Friend at Oxford

Posted in England / UK, Photos/Photography, Travel

Leaving on a Jet Plane

I’m off to a big conference and would appreciate your prayers for the Sunday sermon and Monday address–KSH. Blogging will be catch as catch can until I return.

Posted in * By Kendall, England / UK, Travel

(NYT) As Trade War With U.S. Grinds On, Chinese Tourists Stay Away

A new battlefront has opened in the trade war between the United States and China: the $1.6 trillion American travel industry.

A Los Angeles hotel long popular with Chinese travelers saw a 23 percent decline in visits last year and another 10 percent so far this year. In New York City, spending by Chinese tourists, who spend nearly twice as much as other foreign visitors, fell 12 percent in the first quarter. And in San Francisco, busloads of Chinese tourists were once a mainstay of one fine jewelry business; over the last few years, the buses stopped coming.

Figures from the Commerce Department’s National Travel and Tourism Office show a sharp decline in the number of tourists from China last year.

Industry professionals worry that the drop-off is picking up speed this year, affecting not just airlines, hotels and restaurants, but also retailers and attractions like amusement parks and casinos.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., China, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Politics in General, Travel

(ESPN) A Terrific story on the Boston Red Sox Groundskeeper and his Service Dog for Mental Health Awareness Month

Posted in Animals, Health & Medicine, Psychology, Sports, Travel

(NBC) Fake Uber drivers are out there: Here’s how to avoid becoming their victim

How can you avoid becoming a victim of an Uber imposter? Follow these important tips:

Before you get into the car, use the Uber app to check the license plate. Make sure it matches the actual car.

Check to make sure the person behind the wheel looks like your driver’s photo in the app.

Don’t give away your name. Instead, ask the driver who they are picking up….

Read it all.

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Travel