Is It Safe To Take A Train, Flight, Or Road Trip? What You Need To Know

Your European vacation is canceled and your shoe-box sized apartment is sitting at an unbearable temperature of 105°. If you’re one of the lucky ones who still has a job, Mondays are basically indistinguishable from the weekend and your vacation days feel pretty much useless. At least we’ve made it to summer, and halfway through this dreadful year.

The CDC still advises against travel, and the best way to avoid contracting and spreading COVID-19 is to stay home and limit your interactions with other people. However, being around people—particularly in enclosed spaces—is what spreads coronavirus, not the actual act of traveling. This means that there are still ways to take a vacation and plan ahead to ensure you stay as safe as possible this summer. As every company’s email newsletter informed us back in March, these are unprecedented times. So take precautions when allowing yourself to decompress, safely take a vacation, and try to dull the pain of 2020 with tequila sodas.

Travel, But Make It Local

Travel, both internationally and domestically, has obviously taken a serious hit due to the pandemic, with a low point on April 14th of only 87,000 fliers, according to the TSA. Since then we’ve seen a gradual increase in travel both in the air and on the ground as states rushed to open. Memorial Day weekend seemed to be the turning point when everyone just thought we could forget about the pandemic and get on with our lives, with a 48.5 percent increase in road travel compared to the previous weekend. Unfortunately, this jump and people’s general unwillingness to socially distance resulted in a huge spike in coronavirus cases. Anddd this is why we can’t have nice things.

The moral of the story: don’t be that guy! If you’re going to travel this summer, now is the time to keep your group exclusive and spend your money on fancy sh*t rather than just flocking to the hottest vacation spot (or literal COVID hot spot). Forgo the crowded Lake of the Ozarks pool party and show off your bikini body via Instagram from a private pool in an Airbnb instead. Skip the long flight and treat yourself to summer loungewear or dinner on a socially distant street-side patio. We’re always talking about how we want to be where the people aren’t, so let’s take advantage of this opportunity and built-in excuse for getting out of plans.

It also helps to limit your groups, wear a mask when social distancing isn’t possible, and avoid peak travel times. Before booking and going on a trip, be sure to monitor the number of cases in the area you are visiting, follow travel recommendations, and definitely don’t ignore some states’ 14-day quarantine mandates and get arrested.

“Help Me, I’m Poor,” -The Airline Industry, Probably


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While your pink Away luggage set collects dust, your preferred airline has gone into a tailspin and the remainder of 2020 is looking increasingly bleak for the industry. American Airlines may furlough 20,000 employees starting October 1st when the federal bailout expires. United said they could lose 36,000 jobs in the fall. That said, should you be rushing to give them your money? While before, you would probably book flights based on what was cheapest, now you might want to choose your airline carefully. 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, airlines have claimed to be doing all they can to prevent the spread of coronavirus. However, as the economic pressures loom and lockdowns are lifted, there has been a gradual abandonment of precautions. Flights have become increasingly full, and airlines like American are booking back at full capacity. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) called his jam-packed connecting flight to Texas  “incredibly irresponsible” and “high-risk.” Meanwhile, airlines are not prioritizing cleaning, according to a recent Association of Flight Attendants survey where only 44 percent of flight attendants said their planes were thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between flights. A worker from American Airlines’ evening shift also stated that she and a few colleagues had only ten minutes to clean some incoming flights before they had to board more passengers. Considering I spend double that amount of time just on my nighttime skin care routine, I don’t think ten minutes is enough time to sanitize a whole plane’s armrests and tray tables.

As we know from collecting air miles (remember those?), not all airlines are created equally. Delta will continue to not sell middle seats through the summer, and United will allow you to switch to a different flight if the one you are booked on becomes too full. While most airlines have policies advising all passengers to wear masks during flights, some airlines (you can guess which one) are not enforcing them.

Not Feelin’ Fly Like A G6

Air travel is risky due to the increased time around large numbers of people in enclosed spaces, but if you must travel by plane, be sure to take the necessary precautions. Take the time to disinfect your seat, area, and hands, and opt for shorter flights without layovers to help reduce your exposure. Dr. Farley Cleghorn tells National Geographic, “Choose a window seat as far from the restroom as possible. Keep the overhead vent open and toward your face—continuous airflow creates a small, invisible ‘wall’ that restricts (at least slightly) the exhaled air from other passengers.”

If international travel is essential for you, be aware that some airlines are prioritizing business class seats, which currently can cost as much as some people’s annual salary. While on July 10th American Airlines told flight attendants that “for now, it’s OK for customers to move to different seats in the same cabin,” that policy isn’t always the case. For one couple trying to get home to Australia from the U.S., their only option might be a $24,000 USD business class ticket. Somewhere out there an out-of-touch, super-rich person (Ivanka, is that you?) who only flies private thinks that must be the normal cost of a seat in economy…must be nice.

Trains: Bad And Bougie, Or Just Bad?

Trains can conjure two types of imagery: relaxing on a humming passenger train in comfortable seats like you’re on your way to Hogwarts, or being shoulder-to-shoulder on the subway with a guy who smells as you try to drown out someone’s argument with a podcast on your daily commute. 

Doesn’t the first option of train travel just feel so European? While you may just be chugging upstate, it feels like you could be making your way through the Italian countryside. Even though European travel is off the table this summer, trains remain a safer option during coronavirus. Amtrak offers flexible bookings, limited seats for sale, and even private rooms. If your train travel is a little less “martinis in the lounge carriage” and more “essential commute on the L in Chicago at 6am”, you definitely deserve a vacation. Even though cities like New York have gone to great lengths to clean and sanitize their subway systems, transit employees have been heavily impacted by coronavirus with many deaths in the early stages of lockdown. Regardless of the type of train you’re taking, be sure to stay six feet apart when possible and wear a mask.

Roadtrip > Eurotrip


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Ok, fine, an Aperol Spritz in Positano is probably better than Bud Lights from a cooler by a murky lake, but traveling by car is likely the safest way to vacation this summer. It allows the least contact with other people and the most control of your surroundings, plus gas is at record low prices. If you’ve ever dreamed of being Britney Spears in Crossroads and driving down the highway in a convertible with your besties, now is the time!

“Traveling by airplane is much higher risk than traveling by car with your family,” Carl Fichtenbaum, an epidemiologist with the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and Infectious Diseases, tells CNBC. If you don’t own a car, renting one is fairly easy, or upgrade to a camper van and convince your boyfriend that you are the next Caelynn and Dean, without having to meet on Bachelor in Paradise. Once you rent the vehicle, clean and sanitize it, then download Britney’s full discography for when there’s no cell service. (That last part is just a personal recommendation, not the CDC’s.)

Before you leave, pack a COVID tool kit with hand sanitizer, masks, and wipes. While on your journey, try to limit interacting with others as much as possible: bring your own snacks to avoid going into convenience stores, pay at the pump rather than inside, and limit your number of stops—particularly in public bathrooms, as they can be cramped, and flushing a toilet can stir up aerosol particles. (If we weren’t germaphobes before this pandemic, I’m pretty sure we are now.) Once you’ve completed your road trip checklist, you’re ready to hit the open road like a suburban family in a minivan.

Drinks Well Alone

2020 is certainly a wild ride, and America continues to be the world’s Florida. We won’t be getting drunk in the airport lounge this summer, and Maine is the new Greek Islands, but at least the panhandle state stays consistently wild. Plus, on the bright side, you can delay buying another millennial pink bridesmaid dress for your cousin’s destination wedding for at least a year.

With things looking so depressing, it’s definitely time to salvage what’s left of summer 2020 and book a vacation or even a long-term stay to take advantage of working remotely. Being safe doesn’t mean you have to stay in your apartment alone, but it does mean you have to take precautions and limit your interactions with groups of people. And remember, drinking alcohol doesn’t act as an internal sanitizer, but multiple White Claws can help you forget the terrible Zoom dates you went on in April and make summer feel a bit more normal.  

Images: Anna Shvets / Pexels

Where TF Can Americans Travel This Summer? And Should They?

As coronavirus cases climb in the United States, American passports appear to be losing their value. But America is GREAT AGAIN, haven’t you heard? Thanks, Donny! As if a raging pandemic, lack of accessible healthcare, and systemic racism weren’t enough, you can say au revoir to your European summer holiday, as well as vacations in a bunch of other places around the globe. Great. As the European Union prepares to reopen, U.S. travelers did not make the 15-country safe list and have officially been blocked from entering. So, where else can Americans travel right now? And better yet, should they travel or cancel trips this summer?

“You Can’t Sit With Us”—The EU, Probably

When the EU closed its borders in March, it was no small decision. The same goes for continuing the ban for Americans, considering the fact that 15 million U.S. travelers visit Europe each year, and the industry creates jobs for 26 million people. Clearly, the bloc’s economy will take a substantial hit as the travel industry’s normally bustling summer season comes and (likely) goes without its usual international visitors. The decision was based on epidemiology as opposed to the economy, with the New York Times reporting that the EU “sought to balance health concerns with politics, diplomacy and the desperate need for tourism revenue.” 

Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Japan are on the list of approved countries, and that list will be reviewed every two weeks. However, it seems that the U.S. will have to make a serious reduction in new cases in order to be reconsidered, so we won’t be holding our breath. Unlike Americans, travelers from the approved country list will be permitted access to all EU member states, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. So if you had hoped for some thirst-trap pics for your grid in Iceland’s Blue Lagoon this summer, you’ll have to keep your posting closer to home.

There’s good news for some Americans, as the ban pertains to your residency rather than your passport. This means if you’re an American living in one of the approved countries and can prove your residency there, you may be able to enter. Congrats—it’s like a get out of jail free card!

Cruel Summer—The Countries Americans Can’t Visit

In addition to the EU, there are also a number of other countries not allowing Americans in. Canada’s regulation hottie Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently announced the continuation of its border closure with the U.S. until August 21, with the possibility of another extension. Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and China’s borders also remain closed to all international arrivals. 

honestly it’s surprising that the Bahamas are just now banning Americans when Fyre Festival was like three years ago

— Betches (@betchesluvthis) July 20, 2020

As of July 22, the Bahamas has once again closed its borders to the U.S. due to the recent rise in cases stateside. However, if you’re bougie enough to have a private plane or yacht, you can keep planning your vacation as long as you can provide a negative COVID test… but you may get roasted by the internet for being a covidiot if you do. 

Countries Open To American Travelers

Dreaming of the beach? You might be in luck, as a number of Caribbean countries are open to visitors. Belize, Barbados, and Jamaica are all open to international travel, as well as St. Barts, St. Lucia, and Antigua. However, each country or territory has its own COVID restrictions upon entry. Some include providing a negative COVID-19 test no more than a week old, or temperature and health checks upon arrival. 

Mexico is also an option, even though the land border between the country and the U.S. remains closed. You can still arrive in certain areas by plane, but keep in mind that states are opening in varying degrees, so not everywhere in the country is ready for visitors. 

Despite the ban, Europe is not completely off-limits to Americans this summer; the open countries just might not be the places you have at the top of your bucket list. Albania and Serbia are European countries not yet in the EU that are currently allowing international travelers, so start your research on their tourist destinations if you really want to book a trip. Apparently Serbia has a killer wine region—who knew? Additionally, Croatia has decided to issue its own travel requirements outside of the EU’s restrictions, allowing for non-EU citizens to visit, but requiring proof of pre-booked accommodations. Meanwhile, in the UK (no longer an EU member, as you may recall), international travel is permitted; however, all American arrivals must quarantine for 14 days upon entry.

“Just Because You Ameri-can Doesn’t Mean You Ameri-should”

I hate to be the Debbie Downer here, but even though some countries are open doesn’t mean you should be booking the first flight out. The CDC and the U.S. State Department still have travel advisories that warn against non-essential travel. You know what sucks more than wearing a mask during your staycation? Being on a ventilator.

As much as you’re eager to take new travel Instagrams, we are still amidst a pandemic, and there are still a lot of risks associated with travel. Air travel may increase your exposure to the virus due to difficulties with social distancing and being near people indoors for an extended period of time. If you do decide to fly, take the common-sense precautions we’ve been talking about for the last five months: wash your hands regularly, wear a mask, cover your face when you cough or sneeze, and stay six feet apart when possible.

Travelers should also consider the practical risks, like obtaining health insurance. Some travel health insurance becomes void when there is a government travel advisory, so be sure to always check to see that you will be covered in case you get sick or injured during a vacation. 

Many countries are not as lax as the U.S., with nations like Canada and New Zealand still keeping their borders completely closed to visitors even though they have drastically fewer cases and deaths than the U.S. The countries are also enforcing mandatory 14-day quarantine to anyone who enters the country. Additionally, countries like Australia have issued a complete ban on overseas travel, and any exemptions must be approved by the government. Given that the success of flattening the curve in these countries has far outweighed the efforts (or lack thereof) of American officials, it might be wise to take a page from their book.

Party In The USA, Because You Won’t Be Going Anywhere Else

Yes, 2020 has indeed been a horror show, with the U.S. as its main character. For now, let’s hope that next year gets a whole lot better and we can resume our partying in Mykonos in 2021. On the bright side, where other than America can we see a Karen go postal in a Trader Joe’s because her CoNsTiTuTiOnAL rIGhTs are being violated? Plus, there’s still an election that could go horribly wrong! Seriously, just so much to look forward to this year. 

Do everyone a favor and find a friend with a beach or lake house, and just stay the fuck home/in said vacation house and drink margaritas until Florida feels like Florence. Good luck.

Images: Anna Shvets / Pexels

The 7 Most Underwhelming European Tourist Attractions

If you’re someone who’s ever experienced major FOMO looking at Instagram photos of your friends studying abroad, like me, or someone who would kill to replicate the photos of travel influencers, then you’re probably familiar with the most popular European tourist attractions. Seeing your feed flooded with basic photos of Instagram babes in silk skirts and berets in front of the Eiffel Tower, posing on the beach surrounded by the colorful buildings of Positano, or cheersing beers while wearing a lederhosen at Oktoberfest is enough to tempt anyone to drop some serious bank on a European getaway.

While Instagram does a phenomenal job of hyping us up to put ourselves in slight debt for the chance to slip, “when I was in Europe…” into as many conversations as humanly possible, what happens when you spend $800+ on a flight to finally see these tourist staples just to find out some of them are underwhelming as f*ck!?

Don’t get me wrong, pretty much every single one of the “must-see” or “must-do” European tourist attractions I’ve been to was amazing, but it doesn’t change the fact that because some of them are so over-hyped, over-filtered, and glamorized on social media, they end up being lackluster once you see them IRL.


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pull up with a lemon ?

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Would I still drop everything going on in my life to visit these overrated landmarks again? Point me toward the terminal! However, if you’re someone who wants to avoid anything without flare or life-changing qualities, here are seven European tourist attractions that will probably leave you feeling robbed, or at the very least, underwhelmed.

Leaning Tower Of Pisa (Pisa, Italy)

It’s no surprise so many tourists visit the Leaning Tower. The makeup of the building itself is perplexing, never mind the fact that some people get seriously creative with their photos—doing everything from making the tower look like a cone of gelato to the ever-original “holding up the tower” pose. The inspo alone is enough to drive you to want a Leaning Tower pic of your own. But after you spend an absurd amount of time getting the perfect Insta, what else is there to do in the area?


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“Taking a Pisa Italy back with me” ?Pisa, Italy ?Leaning Tower of Pisa [email protected]

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Everyone else makes this look like such a pisa cake ?

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Literally NOTHING!! If you’re going to Pisa for the sake of exploring the town, then you can make a day of it. However, if you’re going strictly for the sake of seeing the tower, snapping a few photos, and OD-ing on pasta, you don’t need to block out more than, like, two hours.

Mona Lisa (Paris, France)

Ah, the Mona Lisa…this betch was hands down the most underwhelming part of my trip to France. Before anyone persecutes me for sh*t talking a historic piece of artwork, I’m not saying you shouldn’t go see the painting, just that my expectations were wayyyy too high.  

The most popular online photos of Leonardo di Vinci’s Mona Lisa are usually closeups of the piece and not depictions of how it actually looks in the Louvre, which is where the deception begins.

Allow me to set the scene: you know exactly which area the Mona Lisa is kept in, because there’s always a massive crowd of tourists surrounding it. The painting is pretty hard to see from the back of the crowd, which may lead you to assume it’s mounted closer to the floor or something. Sadly, it’s actually because it’s basically a 2’ x 2’ painting aka it’s small as hell.


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She’s waaay up there. #monalisa #louvre #paris

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Look who we found. #monalisa #louve #parisfrance

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No wonder people can’t tell if she’s smiling! It’s practically microscopic compared to a majority of the other portraits in the museum. As someone who, full disclosure, only trekked through the entirety of the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa, I was seriously baffled by its size (or lack thereof).

Carnevale Di Venezia (Venice, Italy)

Carnevale is an annual Venetian festival that ends 40 days before Easter and is famous for its intricate masks. Speaking from experience, it’s reeeeeally easy to get sucked into the spectacle of it all: the beautiful masks, costumes, endless Bellinis, gondola rides, and incredible food.


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O Carnaval de Veneza surgiu a partir da tradição do século XVI, onde a nobreza se disfarçava para sair e misturar-se com o povo. Desde então as máscaras são o elemento mais importante deste carnaval. Há no entanto registros de folguedos carnavalescos de 1268. A festa carnavalesca de Veneza tem duração de 10 dias. . Paulo Vasconcellos WhatsApp 48 99919 7014 . VIAJAR ☀ VIVER ☀ SER FELIZ . #Veneza #Italia #CarnevaleDiVenezia #Excursoes #Turismo #Viagens #Paraíso #QueroViajarMais #AquelaSuaViagem #MelhoresDestinos #RoteirosTurísticos #GrandeFlorianopolis #Florianopolis #SãoJoseSc #Palhoça #Biguaçu #SantoAmaroDaImperatriz #Viajar #Viver #SerFeliz #PauloVasconcellos

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Though all of those things are fun to partake in and witness firsthand, there are also hundreds of other tourists (and locals) who want a piece of the action, making it feel like a festival of sardines. Being squished up next to so many people deducted major points from the experience as a whole. Every walk from one area of the city to another took twice the time, lines to get food were literal blocks long, AND I was too focused on not getting pickpocketed the entire time (necessary, but stressful as hell) to enjoy myself!!

Though Venice is a beautiful city, subjecting yourself to the madness of Carnevale is definitely something you can live without.

John Lennon Wall (Prague, Czech Republic)

A true study abroad staple, the John Lennon Wall is constantly spray painted and written on over and over by artists and civilians alike. Sometimes the wall is beautifully painted with a landscape, giant peace signs, or an inspirational quote; others, it’s nearly impossible to distinguish the John Lennon Wall from a graffitied garage door in New York.


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Me being extra and grace noticing me being extra #dreamteam #bus2northernloop #johnlennonwall #paparazzi #eurozigs

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Maybe I just have sh*t luck, but when I saw the John Lennon Wall, it truly just looked like a cluster of illegible words and smeared drawings. On top of that, the wall (much like the Mona Lisa) was much smaller than some photos make it seem! I think the John Lennon Wall has the potential to be really inspiring and beautiful, but it’s all about timing—something that unfortunately isn’t always a luxury you can predict during a vacation.

Inside The Roman Colosseum (Rome, Italy)

If you’ve spent years learning about the Colosseum and are finally ready to visit the the spot where all of that historical action and torture took place IRL, let me be the first to tell you: the inside is much less impressive than the stories lead you to believe.


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Missing my Italian summer ?? ?:@blakeysmalls

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When I got inside the Colosseum, I wasn’t moved, I wasn’t thrilled, I basically thought I was missing something or looking at it wrong.  

Though the architectural structure of the Colosseum is incredible (and makes for a damn good photo op), the inside of the landmark is nothing to brag about. Unless you’re a history buff, teacher, architect, or a Roman soldier, waiting in a long line to pay to go inside and see a series of seemingly random stones is so not worth it. You’re better off booking an organized tour with a knowledgeable guide who can actually tell you about the history and why it’s important.

The Little Mermaid Statue (Copenhagen, Denmark)

The statue is a figure of a little mermaid (see what they did there?) perched up on a rock in the sea. Sounds like a pretty cute experience, right? Unfortunately, as with several other attractions on this list, the statue is actually pretty small!


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丹麦地标 The statue of the Little Mermaid from the fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen was gifted from Carl Jacobsen to his beloved city Copenhagen . . #famous #thelittlemermaid #copenhagen #denmark #awesome #travel #solotravel #europe #goodday #travelphotography #travelgram #beautiful #clouds #bluesky #photography #instatravel #travelling #photoshoot #instalike #pic #travelholic #traveler #photo #photooftheday #instagram #throwback #instagood #instapic #instaphoto #旅行

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In addition to the size of the statue not being disappointing, a few years ago, people kept stealing Ariel’s head, cutting off her arm, and blowing her up, so she was moved farther into the water to combat vandalism. Since she’s stationed in the water, there’s not really an easy way to get close to her for a photo. Special shout-out to the assholes who made this experience suck for the rest of us.   

Spanish Steps (Rome, Italy)

*Googles why the steps are in Italy if they’re Spanish*


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Ciao Roma ??

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I barely have the words to describe how underwhelming the Spanish steps are. They’re literally just a set of steps that break off into two sections and reconnect at the top. Again, if you’re a history buff, or in this case religious, you may appreciate the significance of what the steps represent.


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Fangirling yesterday standing on the same steps that Audrey Hepburn stood on in Roman Holiday??❤

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However, if you’re just a layperson who Googled “tourist spots in Rome” like I did, prepare for disappointment. It’s almost laughable how many people flock to the steps just to take a photo and leave. If you’re only in the city for a couple of days (or even hours) and looking for the “must-dos” of Rome, you’re better off leaving the Spanish steps as a last-resort attraction. Trust me, there are steps all over Rome that can provide the same aesthetic.   

The common theme with these tourism hot-spots is: once you see them, you’re left with a feeling of, “ok, now what?” which is notttt a vacation vibe. That being said, I would still recommend everyone go see these attractions at least once for bragging rights, if nothing else. However, I’d keep expectations low. Going into these situations expecting to be underwhelmed will either result in the experience meeting your expectations exactly, or surpassing them; either way, it’s a win!

Like I said, if I wasn’t so f*cking broke  had the time to go see every single one of these underwhelming attractions again, I’d do it in a heartbeat. Who knows, maybe I’m just a bitter soul who’s been too blinded by the glorification of Instagram to enjoy these overrated tourist attractions for what they are.

Images: lisahomsy, rinniesaus (2), travelpuns, hellokrissay, history_gen, carlarowe53, paulovasconcellosturismo, ziggysmallzz, jamienkidd, evelyn.aufl, arecycledthread / Instagram; Shutterstock