I imagine I am one of a very small number of people for whom this makes sense, so I might as well explain.

I sort of don't live anywhere. I'm currently traveling.

But, that travel takes a strange shape: I spend ~85 days in Taipei, leave and visit somewhere else for a few hours, and fly back to Taipei (at which point they give me, very generously, a 90-day visa, due to my being an American citizen).

I love Taipei. It's great, and living here helped my study of Chinese immeasurably. The food is great, the people are great, the nature here is amazing and easy to access. And their COVID-19 response has been (no exagerration) the best in the world. It's exceptionally safe here.

But it isn't safe everywhere in the world, and just getting on a plane increases risk.

So it's sort of a bummer that I need to take 8 plane trips a year.

My next flight was going to be at the end of this month, and I've just booked a different ticket (totaling 3 different plane trips I won't take, possibly up to 4 – this was largely my own fault, but the plans changed because of a global pandemic, so please understand I'm not trying to be wasteful here). Instead of flying to Hong Kong and back, I'm going to the Philippines the day before my visa expires.

[This was replaced – at the last minute and the urging of the US State Department, with a return trip home, which despite my best efforts couldn't be a direct flight. I am still furious about seeing almost no one in American airports, including staff, wearing protective gear (aside from me), but I've been back in the States for a week now and feel OK. I've been sheltering in place with family, to whom I am deeply grateful, and my personal life is essentially shattered by being 8 time zones away from all my friends. I'll live – I hope – and that's more than many could say, but if a country has unknown community transmission, why close the borders? And yet here we are. America's deep and abject failure has been forced on me, and while the below continuation of my thoughts are... fine, obviously that's not how anything worked out.]

I've been to the Philippines before – amazingly nice people. Freakishly hot weather. Beaches. It's a paradise, for sure. And because they're a clever island chain, they allow foreigners to apply for visa extensions instead of flying out of the country. I've been through that process before – very simple, because I'm a pretty honest guy who has very low chance of being in any financial duress or anything.

And their COVID-19 response has been pretty good. They don't have a world-class healthcare system like Taiwan. But they're doing their best, and that turns out to be pretty good, honestly.

I've got face masks. I've got the antiseptic hand wash. My strangely hermit-like lifestyle involves a fair amount of self-isolation already. I don't want anyone else to get sick.

And I've even been thinking about leaving Taiwan for a while. Well, this seems like the time. Minimize the flights I take (just one), maximize distance to mainland China (although they're doing better than they were). I want to be safe, I want everyone else to be safe, and I think this reduces risk enough to be worth the expense of changing plans.

It's been a bit agonizing, saying goodbye to a place I love, to people I care about (more than I thought I would). But I think this is a good choice, and I hope that no one reads only the headline and thinks travel is a good idea on health grounds – COVID-19 isn't magic, if you isolate and take care of yourself your risk truly is low. Don't try flying somewhere with a better response, it's selfish and probably counterproductive, given the risk of getting on the aluminum petri dish of an airplane.