I’m a huge, huge fan of PBS. On any given evening, Mike and I can be found watching “Nature,” “Nova,” “The History Detectives,” and “Globe Trekker,” among many others. Just today we stumbled upon the West End’s 25th Anniversary production of Les Mis and, of course, had to tune in (sidebar: I may or may not have bawled like a baby through the entire thing. Whatever. Les Mis does that to me).
But my favorite show on PBS (yes, even including “Downton Abbey”) is “Rick Steves’ Europe.” We’ve watched Rick for years, wishing we, too, could tube down a river in Croatia, sip wine on a riverboat in France, or have a picnic overlooking a fjord in Norway. On anyone else’s television series these things might sound pretentious and inaccessible. Not so with Rick, whose entire travel philosophy is one of ditching the fancy hotels and tourist traps and, instead, getting to know the locals and doing all the off-the-beaten-track things that usually cost nothing at all.
So imagine my excitement when I returned from lunch and saw this on my desk:
And that was that.
And then it was time to see Rick speak:
He spoke for a full two hours about the best parts of Europe, his travel philosophy, packing light, where to eat, saving money, travelling safely, and his passion for meeting new people and leaving the American comfort zone. We laughed and laughed at his stories.
I loved it all, but as someone planning a trip to Turkey later this year, I especially loved his enthusiasm for the place. We took home a brochure of his favorite travel locales in Europe, and he had this to say of Turkey:
“Simple encounters in a remote village anywhere in the world remind me that other people don’t have the American dream. They have their own dream. Turkey, the size of Texas with 73 million people, has the Turkish dream. That doesn’t scare me. It doesn’t threaten me. It makes me thankful. And a visit there leaves me changed…for the better.”
We left the LA Times Travel Show with bags and bags of brochures and candies and pens. We won a tub of Danish cookies from a famous Solvang bakery (and when I say tub, I mean tub. Six dozen cookies!). More than that, we left inspired about a lifetime of travel ahead of us.
“Until next time…keep on travelin’.” – Rick Steves
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