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A Writer's Responsibility

A spring break state of emergency in Miami Beach, author Erin Van Rheenen shares her thoughts on a writer’s responsibility to a destination, and a Spanish happy place.

We started this episode talking about vaccines -- since they'll be determining pretty much every aspect of our lives for the foreseeable future. Alicia mentioned this Minnesota Public Radio discussion of vaccine line jumping in today's episode. If your vaccination guidelines are hazy, these 4 ethical vaccination questions might clear things up.

Have you gotten (or scheduled your COVID vaccine yet?

Has the vaccination process where you are been more like Joe's in Germany, Alicia's in the U.S. or somewhere in between?

First Stop:

In that latest edition of "Why We Can't Have Nice Things," I bring you...spring break in Miami Beach. Mayor Dan Gelber declared a state of emergency on March 20 after throngs of people (not just college students) packed the streets and beaches, got into fights and forced many businesses to close their doors. A curfew is in effect.

In an interview with CNN, the mayor said there have been over 1,000 arrests since February 3, a number that's risen since we recorded this episode. More than half of those arrested are from outside the state.

Do you think it's worth the risk to open widespread tourism during a pandemic? Why or why not?

Next Stop: Do writers, immigrants and visitors from wealthy countries have any responsibilities to the destinations they live and vacation in? Joe asked writer and teacher Erin Van Rheenen that question (and more) this episode.

Erin herself has written about living in Costa Rica, Ecuador and Mexico. You can learn more about the books she mentioned in this interview and her life abroad at or follow her on Facebook or on Instagram.

Language Love:



A place from which you draw comfort, strength and a sense of well-being or a spot where you feel at home. Alternatively, a haunt or a feeling of familiar fondness for a person, place or thing. It's taken from a bullfighting term that describes a corner of the ring where the bull gathers its strength, but its usage evolved since then.

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