Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Meeting Rick Steves - The Highlights

Although meeting Rick Steves was the highlight of my Saturday, it was not the only aspect of the day. He gave two lectures to the audience and I was able to walk on water (literally, not just metaphorically). His first lecture was based on his best selling book, "Europe Through the Back Door", which focuses on his tips for traveling on a budget. Here are the highlights from his lecture:

  • Understand the mindset of where you are; research the time and context of your destination so that your sightseeing takes on a new meaning.
  • Find ruined castles or other free things. 
  • Find ways to really be in Europe. It is a mental game, so do what you can to psychologically be present. 
  • Stroll, stroll, stroll!!! Europeans enjoy taking the time to stroll through their cities, and you should too.
  • Make sure you have up to date information.
  • Start mild (Ireland, England, etc.) and work your way to exotic (Rome, Greece, Turkey, etc.)
  • Find ways to get away from lines. If you are waiting in lines, then you are doing it wrong. 
  • Travel to the Mediterranean in April and May, and spend June and July north of the Alps. 

Rick's second lecture was based on his book, "Travel as a Political Act". The main purpose of this lecture seemed to emphasize the importance of being a conscientious traveller.

  • Travel allows you to bring back empathy and truth form the rest of the world.
  • The opposite of fear is understanding.
  • People don't think they are better than you, they are just inspired by something different. 
  • When you're told to go shopping and they'll do the thinking, red flags should be raised.
  • The European Union is interested in ethnic region, not just traditional boundaries.
  • Traveling allows us to gain empathy for other people's baggage, so be mindful of that baggage as you travel.
  • If we are honest with ourselves, we will realize that children and familial relationships from other parts of the world are just as precious as in the United States.
  • The Iranian people are good people motivated by fear and love; the same as some Americans. 

After the lectures and meet and greets, we headed over to the kids section of the expo. They had a zip line, bounce houses and bubble rollers. I decided to fork over some cash and get into a Bubble Roller. When you get in a roller, you get zipped up and vacuum sealed into a big bubble, and then can walk (or at least try to), roll, or spin on water without getting wet. I struggled to stand, but had so much fun trying. Bubble Rollers are a new idea to me and I found out that they will even come to your house for a birthday! I thought it would be great for a work event.

Do you have any travel tips you pass on to friends or family? Have you ever thought of your travels as a political act?
(Photos taken for Short Story Long)


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