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Americans Moving Abroad and a COVID Cruise Sets Sail

Moving abroad with Katka Lapelosová, the first Caribbean cruise since the pandemic sets sail (briefly) and the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is a 2020 mood.

First Stop:

The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree arrived in Midtown Manhattan earlier this month. The New York Times reported that the 75-foot, 11-ton Norway Spruce wasn't exactly ready for its close up.

Podcaster, comedian and ex-CIA operative Emily Brandwin (a.k.a. @CIAspygirl) summed up the reaction pretty succinctly: “If it was a beautiful tree, that would have been surprising. 2020 is a trash can. And it’s like, of course we can’t have nice things.”

Apparently, this straggling, defeated, barely holding it together look (same tree, same...) is normal after 200 miles in transit. A Daily Mail story revealed adding branch extensions (holiday make-over alert!) is normal too.

Then (plot twist!) an adorable owl was found in its branches. The little guy should be back in the wild by the time the (hopefully not cringe-worthy) tree is lit December 2.

Next Stop:

Katka Lapelosová popped on Zoom to talk to Joe about something they both know a lot of about -- the fierce desire to live abroad. She talked about her new life in Belgrade, Serbia, the technicalities of moving abroad and what made her decide to change her life in a way that many people only dream about. (And how you can too.)

You can follow her exploits in real time at @its_katka or @StratKatka on Twitter and @its_reel_katka on Instagram.


The first Caribbean cruise to depart since the coronavirus pandemic swept through North American left Barbados on November 7. It made if exactly four days into the seven day cruise when one of the 53 passengers tested positive for (wait for it...) the coronavirus.


The Points Guy cruise reporter Gene Sloan was on the Sea Dream when it happened and broke the story. He'd also detailed the ship's COVID-19 safety protocols just a few days before.

Look, we want the cruise industry (and the hotel industry and travel in general) to rebound. (We are travel writers after all.) But the CDC still says that cruising is a high-risk activity and recommends we avoid it. So we're gonna go with the disease experts on this one.

What about you?

If (or when!) you move abroad, where do you want to live?

What's holding you back from living in another country? (Other than COVID, obviously.)

Would you take a cruise right now? Why or why not?

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