‘Scuze me for a second while I catch my breath, because this past week has been one WILD ride.
Last week I took my Instagram fam on a mad dash through 9 airports, and 4 countries on what I satirically called Branko and Rachel’s Amazing Race to the States!
*cue theme music*
(If you’re bored in quarantine, you can still catch the replay on my saved stories here)
It all started when I woke up Wednesday morning in Lisbon, Portugal.
We were there visiting friends and closing up shop on our apartment – finally completing our relocation to Florida for Branko’s awesome new copywriting gig.
As I rolled over to scroll through my Instagram feed while my eyes slowly woke up grab my phone…
I saw a note from my sister: “Trump’s closing the borders”
With a quick Google search I confirmed that Trump was, indeed, closing the borders to European travelers as of midnight Friday…
And because of the time zone change, we had less than 48 hours to get our butts out of Europe and into the States.
Otherwise, my lovable Australian boyfriend would be turned back at the border and barred from entering our home in the USA.
As my foggy morning brain tried to make sense of what was happening, I reached over to wake Branko, and said: “Babe, I think we gotta go now.”
After a quick cup of coffee (hey, caffeine is the best emergency plan) we sprang into action to book flights home to Miami.
Mere hours after the announcement, the price of flights to the US skyrocketed. We finally found one to New York. From there we planned to grab a domestic flight home to Florida.
But right when we were about to click that “buy” button…
Were we overreacting? Were we being crazy?
I mean, this thing can’t REALLY be so serious that we need to emergency-pack all our stuff and hop the next flight out – cutting our trip short and cancelling all our Portugal plans for the whole week.
We debated and Googled for half an hour before deciding – Nope. Let’s just go. We gotta get home.
In those short 30 minutes, every single flight to every single American city had completely sold out. And when we finally DID see a flight after repeatedly hitting refresh…
Basic seats had skyrocketed to over $20,000.
TWENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS? For Economy!?
Do they give you butt cushions stuffed with caviar and Cristal?!
Finally, after an hour of searching (while our brains made panicked contingency plans in the background)…
We were able to find a book to the Azores islands, where we could then hop a flight to Toronto.
Not the USA, but you know what? Close friggin’ enough.
The plan was to stay overnight in the Azores.
Get to Toronto by 8pm Friday night.
Rent a car.
And make a mad dash to the New York border before it closed at midnight.
We’d figure out the rest after we were in the country.
Since Branko and Rachel’s Amazing Race to the States is still on IG for all the world to see – obviously we made it.
But we almost didn’t. And whooooo doggy did we cut it close.
We spent a lovely evening in the Azores at a 4-star hotel built into an old war fort:
Not a terrible place to be stranded
While we waited for the flight, we stuffed our faces and wandered beautiful botanical gardens (because what else do you on a tiny island made up of mostly cows and wine).
Only to discover at the airport that the Azores was implementing a mandatory 14-day quarantine on any new arrivals.
Fortunately, we were able to squeak by and board the plane before the lockdown went into effect…
One VERY bumpy ride later, we landed in Toronto, wrung our hands nervously all the way through the massive immigration line, and sprinted to the rental car counter.
After a badly-timed joke about “can’t find a car for you” from the lady at Enterprise (that is NOT funny Diane!)…
We were on the road and speeding (carefully of course) to the Niagara Falls border.
The race was on.
2 hours and one very unhappy border guard later (who was obviously disappointed we made it and did NOT want to let us pass)…
We we put Canada in our rearview and drove, dumfounded, past the casinos and neon lights of Niagara New York.
It took us 4 more days and many empty supermarket shelves to get back to our home in Florida.
Now that we’re all stocked up and hunkered down for a 14-day quarantine…
I cannot, in good conscience, recommend the Branko and Rachel’s Amazing Race to the States tour for your next family fun day.
10/10 would not do again.
The waiting was definitely the hardest part. Being “stuck” somewhere and not knowing if you’ll be allowed entry on your next leg.
But you know what?
The whole time I couldn’t help but think, “Wow, I am SO FREAKING fortunate to be able to work from anywhere there’s wifi.”
Because so many people would NOT have been able to drop everything at a moments notice and race home in an emergency.
So while I was sitting in a beautiful garden on an island of in the middle of the Atlantic ocean…
… I made you a quick video about how you can do that too.
Check it out below, and regardless of where you’re at in your freelance career or your business today…
Let me know how I can support you in the comments below.
Because these are crazy uncertain times. And we’re all in this together.
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Learning to write copy that’s works on cold traffic (like advertorials) is one of the most valuable skills you can learn as a copywriter right now.
My new Advertorial 101 Course starts April 2nd.
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