fbpx

Monthly Archives: July 2019

10 Things You Need to Know About Cuba

UPDATE: On June 4, 2019, the US State Department implemented additional travel restrictions on Cuba travel for US citizens. Group educational and cultural trips are banned alongside cruise ships, yachts, and private planes. Despite this news, please note that commercial airline flights remain unaffected, and Ker & Downey’s Support for the Cuban People programs are still permitted. Ker & Downey has been partnering with travelers to create their own journeys to Cuba since August 2015. Recent policy changes on American travel to the country have stirred up questions about traveling to Cuba and the future of visiting a place that is so close but was once too far out of reach for many. The good news: Cuba is not out of reach with Ker & Downey. What Do the Policy Changes Mean? In short, the style of travel offered by Ker & Downey and our in-country partners is not impacted, for the time being. The changes will impact self-planners, group tours, cruise ship passengers, yacht charters, and private plane travelers the most. Arranging a journey on your own that avoids

Understanding Legal Travel to Cuba

Frequently Asked Questions About Traveling to Cuba Am I allowed to travel to Cuba? Yes. US residents and citizens are able to visit Cuba, but there are restrictions on the type of travel and the businesses in Cuba a traveler is permitted to work with. How can I travel to Cuba legally? With Ker & Downey you will be traveling to Cuba under one of the 12 travel categories authorized by the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the Department of Treasury. Specifically, our organization supports the Cuban people by using private local entities to provide your full schedule of activities. This general license falls under OFAC travel category CFR §515.574. You can review more about OFAC regulations around travel to Cuba at this link. What constitutes a full schedule of activities? The US Department of Treasury requires that U.S. residents and citizens traveling under the general license mentioned above participate in a full-time schedule of daily activities that support the Cuban people and strengthen civil society. In order to ensure you are compliant, and to meet Ker & Downey’s

Robert Siciliano Q&A

YOU’VE OBVIOUSLY EXPERIENCED A GREAT DEAL OF SUCCESS IN YOUR LIFE. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS YOUR GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT, AND WHY? My business revolves around security awareness which is the process of changing peoples behavior in their responses to threats perpetrated by predators and thieves.  What I do is help people take personal responsibility to protect their family, lives, privacy, data and possessions. Greatest accomplishment is preventing harm in people’s lives. LIKE EVERYONE ELSE, LIFE IS NOT ALWAYS SMOOTH. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT A SETBACK OR TRAGEDY YOU’VE ENCOUNTERED, HOW YOU DEALT WITH IT, AND THE IMPACT IT HAS HAD ON YOU? As early as the ag of 12 I was a victim of a multiple attack situation. This singular event woke me up to the existence of predators. Shortly afterwards I met a young woman who confided her sexual assault victimization to me which had a profound effect on my life. In my early 20’s my small business was hacked. These significant life changing events shaped my view of the world. DO YOU SET ASIDE “ME-TIME” IN YOUR CALENDAR,

Emma Sky: Advisor and Confidant to Military Leaders

Despite her anti-war stance, her journey takes her to the frontlines in the shifting sands of the Middle East. It was a “Time of Monsters” in the Middle East, when Emma Sky navigated through the region’s conflicts and complexities during the Arab Spring. She bore witness to how and why dreams of new orders based on rights and justice were shattered in wars and weak states – and demons unleashed upon the world. Now a professor at Yale, she is heralded as a regional expert, helping to bridge gaps between Arab and Western worlds while elevating humanity in the region. Sky chose to live in a world unlike any other. In the swirling of desert sands, she found the land to be magical, ever-changing yet always a tinderbox for war. She tread softly alongside top military leaders and traversed the desert terrain finding it riddled with politics and diplomatic figures of great power and influence. Her journey has intrigue, politics, and edge-of-your seat harrowing tales. Not one to let her morals and ideals take a back seat, her opposition to

Enjoying Life Without Getting Scammed

Scammers are Lurking Everywhere We live in a miraculous time of unlimited opportunity with technological advantages the previous generations could only have dreamed of. Even a decade ago, we couldn’t have imagined that the ubiquitous smart phone and high speed, globally connected network would so revolutionize our lives. But with every revolution comes its downsides and risks. Such as: opportunities for peace and quiet are growing scant, our privacy has been seriously compromised, and, our personal information (identity) and financial security are under attack. I suspect the following examples will sound familiar. Every day, I receive at least ten calls from numbers and area codes that I do not recognize, some from as far away as Lithuania. On top of that, I receive several more from “unknown callers” or unfamiliar numbers that appear to be from my local region. And, of course, there are the dozen or so emails I receive nearly every week asking for personal information or money in one form or another. I usually ignore the phone calls, assuming legitimate callers will leave a message. On occasion

Robert Siciliano: Fraud & Security

From identity theft to personal safety, surviving in today’s world is a matter of proactive threat protection. Firsthand experience, moral ethics, and acquired knowledge has crafted a message one man calls out to all citizens: Americans must take action to protect themselves from cyber and physical crime. He’s on the frontlines of battling personal and privacy intrusion by educating and empowering his fellow man. He says, “Privacy is an illusion. Privacy doesn’t exist, and it hasn’t existed for quite a long time.” Robert Siciliano is an expert in security awareness, fraud, and personal safety. He carries his message in a unique style, melding boldness and know-how into real-world solutions. Major media outlets, corporate execs, thought leaders, and others have benefited from his insight. These leaders of industry seek his expertise to obtain the blunt truth of his assessment —what they’ve missed in their bubble of perceived safety. His aim is to inform and educate, helping industry leaders as well as the average Joe from becoming a statistic. He says, “There always has been, there is now, and there will always

Kaitlin Roig: Sandy Hook Teacher and Hero

She chose to share her experience with others, in the hope that they too can find light in dark moments. Precipice of Death It was December 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut, when Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis witnessed the horrors unfolding at her workplace. She was a first-grade teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School. That Friday started out normally with students looking forward to the weekend leading up to the holidays. Suddenly, the sound of rapid-fire gunshots, screams, and pleadings emanated from outside her classroom. She took immediate action. Without hesitation, she got up, shut and locked the classroom door, and turned off the lights. She knew time was critical and made the decision to hide her fifteen students in the classroom’s tiny bathroom. As the carnage continued, she managed to keep her students calm and quiet. There they stayed in a huddled mass until the SWAT Team arrived and rescued them. Roig-DeBellis is credited for her act of heroism in saving the lives of her six- and seven-year-old students that day. It wasn’t until later that she learned the full extent of

Eric Bandholz: The Original Urban Beardsman

Tapping into a neglected niche, he helped transform a stereotype into a formidable community of bearded men. Sometimes, your calling is right under your nose. For one man, this was literal … his beard. It was the first decade of the 21st century and a huge group of individuals still had no real representation or specific products aimed for them. Eric Bandholz would change all that. Yearning to Be Himself It began in a South Carolina elementary school when he started his first venture into business by repacking snacks for classmates. Decades later his business sense evolved into a career as a financial advisor. “I always felt the pressure to conform to a certain look, even though it wasn’t really how I identified as an individual,” he recalls. “When I worked as a financial advisor, I felt like I was living in a shell. Like the real me was hidden away in a cage and could only come out when I was among friends or family.” Little did he know that the facial hair, feeling so natural and “meant to

Matt Rutherford: Because He Can…

A story about dominating dreams. Oh, and cults, sailing, rehabs, oceanography and record-breaking. But mostly,dominating dreams. The frigid arctic sea was choppy and unpredictable. Astonishingly, there was one single soul bearing the storm. Matt Rutherford, the first man to finish a solo circumnavigation of the Americas, held on to the ropes as the elements tossed his 27-foot boat around like a rag doll. On the port side, a 40-foot glacier loomed above him through the fog. He rushed from one rope to another, checking his ship while trying to stay on it. This was a monster of a journey, ten months and 27,077 miles. “I was beating into the wind all day every day, just pounding,” Matt said. “Forty-one days hard on the wind.” The tip of the boat cut through the frost tipped waves as they absconded the ship. He was always self-motivated and headstrong, not even nature would foil his plans. Nevertheless, he was often certain he’d have to turn back and occasionally he almost did. People called this a suicide mission, what was he thinking? On this

Dave Pallone: An Extraordinary Umpire

“Strike!” yells the umpire. Decades ago, this umpire spent his days on the playing field, and his nights living a double life. Today, he is meeting with CEOs, inspiring audiences or receiving recognition for his bravery and cultural importance. He is Dave Pallone, a former Major League Baseball Umpire, and current model of perseverance and self-advocacy. In 2013, Dave Pallone cemented his place in history as one of the inaugural inductees to the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame. Pallone’s fellow inductees in that year included Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova, Greg Louganis, Renee Richards, and Olympic skater, Johnny Weir.  At 67 years of age, he would agree that life is nothing if not a set of events ranging from fabulous to horrific. Getting Off the Sidelines Born in Waltham, Massachusetts, Pallone did not grow up with dreams of becoming an umpire. His dream was to play professional baseball. He knew he did not have the talent to make it to the pros, so his dream was sidelined. In the summer of 1970, as he was watching a baseball game