Richard Turen
Richard Turen

A.V. Churchill is an opinionated 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 addresses our clients on topics I might tend to avoid. I thought you might find his latest comments to our clients in our monthly Travel Report of interest:

Of course, as a British citizen, I was surprised when a recent Pew study cited Facebook as the "major source of news" for 64% of Americans. Here in Naperville, I have a client who teaches in the local school system. He explained that in over 90% of the school systems in the United States there are no required courses in world geography.

The news has me frustrated and more than a little angry at the manner in which we humans act toward one another. But then I read about a new chimpanzee study out of Gabon. It turns out that researchers have now recorded the fact that chimps "doctor" one another by applying certain insects to their wounds. The scientists believe that their research shows that chimps have a pre-social mindset, "a desire to help others." The leader of the study found the results breathtaking, saying, "suddenly we have a species where we really see individuals caring for others."

I will admit that, while travel is up and more and more of the world is opening up to us, the news is by no means easy to watch. Of course, I watch BBC News, but I do occasionally switch over to less serious news outlets. After doing so, I learned that Penn State just tested the remains of more than 4,000 deer killed by hunters and cars in 14 states. They found that 60% of the deer were infected with Covid. There are more than 30 million deer in the U.S. I switched back to the BBC. 

For some reason, that led me to think about the question asked most often of Churchill & Turen staff these days: "Do you think it is safe to go to (fill in the blank)?"

Not so long ago, this was easy to answer. One could just look up the CDC recommendations, although I happen to know for a fact that the my partner Richard Turen tends to pay closer attention to the recommendations in the Australian foreign service reports. Aussies won't put up with silly or contradictory advice.

Advice about "what is safe" has to be accompanied by a follow-up question: "Compared to what?" The data often indicates that churches, supermarkets, gymnasiums and stadiums are, statistically, the most dangerous places to be in the U.S. Here in the U.S., we have one of the world's largest per capita Covid rates, the highest percentage of anti-vaxxers and deniers, and, Covid aside, we rank No. 122 on 2021 rankings of the respected Global Peace Index. That would mean that there are 121 countries on this Earth that are considered statistically safer than the United States. I am not sure that staying in the States and flitting about from place to place ranks very high on the safety scale.

The BBC reported that 56% of Americans believe there will be a second American Revolution. Well, if that is true, why don't we all just move back to the mother country now? But before you do, make certain you understand that means that Boris will be your prime minister.

If safety is your primary 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. Switzerland

My personal travel advice is quite different than Turen's. Trust me, flying BA to London is certainly the wisest choice one can make these days. Just visit my homeland until the rest of the world sorts itself out. -- A.V. Churchill 

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