by Christine Karren
With the arrival of the Corona virus on every continent of the world besides Antarctica, a lot of people are taking precautions. We started by washing our hands more carefully and frequently, and avoiding contact with possibly contaminated surfaces. Next we were buying out the stocks of hand sanitizers, toilet paper, and other goods as supply chains (particularly out of China) have become increasingly disrupted. Now, despite our standing hopes, we are canceling travel plans. And it isn’t just vacations that are being called off. Worldwide, businesses are canceling conferences and restricting travel for employees. Rome is now reporting a 90% cancelation rate in hotel bookings.
We just decided to cancel a much-anticipated anniversary trip to Rome that we had planned to take in May of this year. Italy is one of the 5 countries recommended by the CDC and US Department of State as places to avoid. (The others are: China, South Korea, Iran, and Japan.) It’s been years since either of us have gone, so we find it ironic, and a bit heartbreaking that this is the year Italy would be hit with an epidemic. But we’re making plans closer to home, and keeping our fingers crossed that shutdowns won’t block our plan B.
Is There Another Option?
While it’s disappointing to have to make these decisions, it IS possible to find alternative ways to safely ‘escape’ the rut while satisfying our curiosity about faraway lands.
Two and a half years ago, Val and I decided to set up a company that would bring Europe into the homes of thousands of people. ‘Travel Europe Through Books’ is the meta title of our little publishing company, Fly-By-Night Press, which we’ve created in the hope that we could help anyone broaden their horizons, and see a side of Europe they might not otherwise see.
Over these past few years, we’ve created books, videos, and articles based on our own travel experiences to entertain and enlighten curious readers and viewers. Val-the-author draws from his experiences traveling, studying, and working in Russia and other eastern European lands as he crafts his novels. His personal experiences have become intertwined with suspenseful plots in his historical thrillers such as The Deceit of Riches (set in Russia) and From the Rooftops (set mainly in Romania and Ukraine).
Short stories drawn from his adventures in western Europe have made their way into his collection of short stories entitled The Tales of a Fly-By-Night. These are crazy-but-true stories that happened in places like Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, England, Russia, Romania, and of course our home country of the Netherlands. These books are easy to download onto your Amazon Kindle or through the free Kindle App right onto your phone or tablet. Prefer a hard copy? Amazon will speedily ship one to you, so no need to leave the house.
More information about Val-the-Author can be found at his new author website: vmkarren.com.
As we’ve gained a greater knowledge of the book market, we’ve been amazed by the legions of websites, blogs, and Facebook and Instagram accounts dedicated to all things bookish. One of our favorites is Bookish Bytes. Check it out on Facebook or Instagram. There’s something addictive about all those books; it’s just plain fun to travel through your imagination and that of a talented author.
If you are more of a ‘viewer’ than a ‘reader,’ you’ll be happy to find our YouTube channel: ‘Fly-By-Night Press,’ which offers virtual tours to a host of European destinations, many of which are off the beaten track. Feel like you yourself are perusing the German Christmas markets in Aachen, or taking a ride in a telecabina up the steep Carpathian mountains in Transylvania, Romania! Even though it’s through a screen, you’ll find it exhilarating.
We’ll continue to create blog articles which you can read at your leisure, and escape for a few minutes on a European getaway for one. Bon voyage!