Rick Steves: A Call to Travel

Interested in Traveling Abroad? Rick Steves: A Call to Travel

Michael Watts

Rick Steves gave a lecture on the importance and emphasis on traveling abroad on Tuesday evening in Olin Theater. Rick Steves is a well-known expert on European travel. Ever since 1973, Steves has spent 100 days every year traveling around Europe. He produces a public television series, Rick Steves’ Europe, a public radio show, Travel with Rick Steves, and an app and podcast, Rick Steves Audio Europe.  He also writes a bestselling guide book series and a nationally syndicated newspaper column. He also organizes tours that take over ten thousand travelers to Europe each year and offers tons of information on his website (www.ricksteves.com), along with the help of his immense and hardworking staff of 80 at Europe Through the Back Door– in Edmunds, Washington, just north from Seattle.

“Travel is freedom,” Steves said, “one of the last great sources of legal adventure. Travel is intensified living, with maximum thrills per minute. It’s recess, and we need it. Experiencing the real Europe requires catching it by surprise, going casual… Through the Back Door.”

Rick has also been abroad to Iran. He has produced a 1-hour special on public television, filming his experiences in its historic capital and in a countryside village. In one of his experiences he describes while he was in a cab stuck in traffic in Tehran, a person handed a bouquet of flowers across to the driver telling the driver to give it to Steves for tolerating their brutal traffic. Later, he and his driver are struggling to drive through a congested road, and his driver declares, “Death to traffic.” Then he says, “Because we can do nothing about this traffic, this is what we do. We can all say, ‘Death to traffic.'” According to Steves, for us, it’s like saying “Damn traffic or damn kids!”

Steves believes that “globetrotting destroys ethnocentricity. It helps you understand and appreciate different cultures. Travel changes people. It broadens perspectives and teaches new ways to measure quality of life. Many travelers toss aside their hometown blinders. Their prized souvenirs are the strands of different cultures they decide to knit into their own character. The world is a cultural yarn shop. Back Door Travelers are weaving the ultimate tapestry.” Thus he encourages many individuals to “Join in!”