Heh. I like Rick Steves’ show, but I think there are better travel books out there, but I love his attitude. This article reflects a lot of my thinking on travel.
“Eating five meals a day and still being able to snorkel—that’s not travel, that’s hedonism,” travel guru Rick Steves said last weekend at the Edmonds Center for the Arts. He told a room awash with Gore-tex and purple scarves that if people truly love travel—then they must travel to learn, to advocate for a different approach when they return.
“Is it a noble thing to do—to teach rich white people to travel?” Steves asked about 700 rich white people. Blank stares. He began with slides of Eastern Europeans twirling in town plazas and explained that those affable foreigners hold Fourth of July on different days of the year and they detest the U.S. for its recent audacity in foreign policy. And 700 people nodded. Then he showed a picture of a Scandinavian public restroom that has blue lights inside to prevent junkies from finding their veins and a picture of the syringe dispenser outside, and he spoke of the supervised heroin-injection facilities down the street and said there are fewer overdoses there. He talked about how many people in the Netherlands don’t drive cars at all, and we really need to consider doing these same things in the U.S. And the room became very quiet.
Yulia and I love travel. I think it brings a family closer together, but as I have said before it is how you experience a place that makes the real impact. When you go somewhere, it is so much more enriching to try to speak the language, eat where locals do, and get away from just the tourist spots. This isn’t to say that none of the tourist activities are worthy, after all, missing the Eiffel Tower in Paris would be silly, but you can see everything from the top of a tour bus. You also learn more about your home and yourself by seeing things through other’s eyes.
I feel I do my best writing when I am away from home, probably because there is just so much more to write about. Both good and bad. (a nightmare at the time is always funny later). This summer we are doing the opposite of what we normally do, we are going to a resort, all-inclusive. It’s something that I would normally avoid, just for the reasons above, but since I can’t remember when we did something like that last, it becomes new in itself. We will be in Mexico, so hopefully we will get some chance to go out and see the place, away from the resort, but either way, I know that it will be a blast, good fun with the family, and great fodder for the pen.