Travel as a Political Act Teacher Forum
After a life time of travel, my latest book, Travel as a Political Act, shares the most valuable lessons I've learned. Nothing would make me happier than to see the lessons I've learned after spending a third of my adult life overseas amplified in classrooms by teachers who understand that the road is a great classroom.
I hope this forum will inspire dialogue on how to best inspire students to develop a global perspective!
- Teachers, see if Travel as a Political Act is right for your class.
- Download discussion questions for your classroom.
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Rick Steves - hipper than you think
I just finished this book, and I thought it was great. I am an ESL teacher who has taught people from every corner of the earth, and I think "Travel as a Political Act" definitely would give any teacher an accessible way to figure out how to get out of his or her cultural paradigm. As a traveler, I have always thought Rick Steves was a bit of a "gooby white guy" leading equally straight gooby people around Europe. Actually, I now think he might be cooler than Anthony Bourdain. Although Rick Steves doesn't do endless shots of local booze and smoke cigarettes on his show, he's pretty radical, especially for a Lutheran from Edmonds. Rick Steves rules!
Portland, OR USA 12/06/2011
Peace Corps & Your Book!
As a retired teacher in Oregon, I'm leaving soon for Peace Corps serviec in Jamaica. Your "Travel as a Political Act" should be required reading for new Peace Corps volunteers! Thank you, as always for your invaluable insights.
Susan St. John
Welches, OR USA 05/24/2011
Let Students Think Critically
Politics absolutely should *not* be kept out of the classroom. Of course, students shouldn't be subject to political or religious indoctrination. But bringing texts with different political perspectives into the classroom allows students the opportunity to critically evaluate the competing ideas of various claimsmakers. That is exactly what they will have to do as citizens.
Fargo, ND USA 02/16/2010
Graduate-level Diversity Class for Teachers
I just finished this book and I want to recommend it to everyone! I am a retired teacher of a diversity class (SEED - Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) for teachers and this book would have been a perfect addition to my class book list if I was still teaching. It is both thought-provoking and action-provoking.
Woodbury, MN USA 01/24/2010
Teaching Social Studies,Teaching Understanding
Yesterday I was given this book by a fellow teacher at the independent school I work at and I am already half way done. I strive constantly to show multiple perspectives in my ninth and eleventh grade social studies classrooms, making sure students understand there is a world outside of their own. To teach just facts and just political philosophy is a disservice to students. They want to share their opinions and they want to explore the world, the good and the bad. Having read parts of Rick Steve's book leads me to believe that such material would be beneficial for my students. Yes, he has political opinions throughout, but that's what makes it great. The point of the book is to expose students to these perspectives and OTHERS. If I were to use Rick Steve's book and I would make sure to discuss what he is and IS NOT saying. Rick Steve's is fantastic when it comes to connecting with other people of cultures outside of our own, something most of my freshmen have yet to experience. Why not let them look at the world through his eyes, if not for a little bit? Students should be exposed to as many issues and opinions as possible-- it is only through exposure and then their experience outside the classroom that will foster respect, understanding, and compassion. Rick Steves promotes these values in his work. Those that are discrediting Rick Steve's political opinions are not trusting of teachers enough to utilize this work in a productive way.
Norfolk, VA USA 12/16/2009
work to live or live to work?
I am a high school teacher of foreign languages, and part of my curriculum is cross-cultural awareness. I hadn't even finished the book yet, but the other day we had a great discussion about live-to-work or work-to-live attitudes mentioned by Rick's book. Aided by the German exchange student in the class, we discussed her parents' 30 working days of annual vacation vs. my students' parents' 0 or 10 or 15 days of annual vacation. Now, I've finished the book - dozens more topics to discuss and provoke thought!
BC Canada 09/20/2009
Right now I'm helping my teacher education students to mine this motherlode of a book for specific examples of HOW people in other countries do things differently and live their lives differently. Then we'll discuss possible reasons WHY they do things differently. Understanding and valuing diversity is important for teachers. Finally, we'll discuss responsible citizenship--how everyone might learn from others for the betterment of all.
Logan, UT USA 09/19/2009
As I age I realize that in life it matters little what we think but how we act on those thoughts. Rick, thanks for your thoughts and actions.
Neenah, WI USA 09/03/2009
Travel as a Political Act as Honors Project
I have a female student in my ESL Methods and Techniques class who has recently returned from two tours of military duty. She both relates to and has some disagreement with Rick's observations/positions. She has asked to do an honors project using Travel as Political Act as a springboard for a class presentation. She will start this project by journaling about her travel experiences as a military person, a female, language learner, and US citizen.
Memphis, TN USA 09/02/2009
Teachers - how might you use this text?
I would like to hear from other teachers who are considering this text. Where do you teach? What do you teach? How might you incorporate this text into your curriculum?
My friend who has just started a teaching position at Bradley University is reading Travel as a Political Act to become better informed about the backgrounds of her visiting professor colleagues from Croatia and Morocco.
Looking forward to hearing other teachers' ideas. --Angela
Memphis, TN USA 08/25/2009
Travel IS a politcal act
I am not a teacher, but have read the postings and wish to comment. My first trip to Europe was 6 days after 9-11. I decided to go, even though everyone thought I was nuts for not cancelling. The entire trip was a mind-blowing, eye-opener. Without travel, it is impossible to see those aspects of life that you take as concrete truths: things that are so much a part of your native culture that it simply never occurs to you that another way exists (like coin-operated water heaters outside the bathroom door in Scotland). Traveling with open eyes and an open mind shatters asunder a good many preconceived notions and lights many an unexplored path. What I have learned from travel is that America, from a politcal standpoint at least, is arrogant and selfish. Not that other countries don't share those faults. But our policies, by and large, serve only to distance us from most other countries: we don't play well with others. By travelling and spending time with people overseas you begin to understand that they are not so very different, and that there is indeed another way; maybe better, maybe worse. But at least your eyes are opened to the possibility. And once the curtain of ignorance starts to fall, there is no keeping it up. Leaving home to travel is, in and of itself, a political act...as is deciding to return home from abroad. Giving students, especially those who cannot or do not travel abroad, the opportunity to be exposed to these concepts is vital to their growth and development as human beings sharing this small planet and I encourage teachers to consider addressing the subject, even if they choose not to use Rick's book.
Port Townsend, WA USA 08/25/2009
Room for ALL viewpoints
I have to say I understand the sentiments of ALL the commentators thus far. Would like to weigh in with my 2 cents. First, let me say I love Rick's "Through the Backdoor" philosophy. In my view traveling with curiosity and an open mind is the very most beneficial approach. (On the other hand - as Ann Landers once succinctly commented - "Don't be so open-minded your brains fall out!") You know what, Rick and I disagree on a whole host of political issues, but then that holds true for me and every other person on this planet. I highly respect his travel philosophy. I'm certain we don't pull the same levers in the voting booth, but, so what? I believe in the principles this country was founded upon, including freedom of speech. Let the best ideas prevail among an informed and thoughtful nation of citizens. I'm of the mind that while philosophies like the American Nazi Party or Iran's Ahmadinejad are repugnant, even evil, airing those views will only expose them as the cartoonish or hateful nonsense they are - as long as that freedom of speech applies to all (which is arguably NOT the case on some American college campuses today...and certainly not in Iran.) In my view the faux-liberals posturing in many quarters today are among the most repressive, narrow-minded, and intolerant to be found. True liberalism seeks equal opportunity and freedom for all, not equal results. My perspective: the U.S is the greatest country in the world, the beacon on the hill, and not just in the past. You won't hear me apologizing for our rebellion against England, Manifest Destiny, or Hiroshima. To me those who fought for the Allies in WW II are the greatest of heroes, always will be. And as an American I'm ready to take up arms against anyone who attacks our nation without reservation. And I think Americans stood tall when our bravest laid it on the line to liberate Iraq. As a nation we are not seeking empire ala Putin but just trying to "do the right thing." What we need in our schools is NOT less discussion and thought and debate, but MORE. One of our greatest assets is critical thinking as free individuals in a free nation. Considering the views of others either at home or abroad and then drawing our own conclusions does not threaten our security. Neither does considering the reasoned perceptions of Rick Steves based on a lifetime of valuable travel experience and one-on-one, face-to-face encounters with people from different perspectives, backgrounds, experiences, and countries. Keep speaking your mind, Rick, and let us sort it out in the free marketplace of ideas. And keep traveling, Rick!
Peoria, Arizon USA 08/25/2009
Rick used to be great . Unfortunately, he has completely sold out to the mighty dollar. I am surprised that he isn't hawking his wares on HSN or on late night infomercials. Between the overpriced luggage, quickly written books , e-mail advertisements, he has lost his credibility. Remember the early days, when his well researched work and shows showed dedication to discovering helpful travel tips and out of the way destimations? Our loss will be someone else's opportunity to carry the ball that Rick once proudly held.
maybe Ron popeil's kids will go to work for Rick selling vegomatics and poorly researched travel books!
newark, nj USA 08/24/2009
Travel as a Political Act
I want to thank Susan of FL for her comments (8/22/09, "How Can Travel NOT be Political?"). I agree wholeheartedly with her, as well as with Rick!! Travel is the BEST way to learn about the world, about people, about cultures, etc. I can't possible say it any better than she did, so I won't even try. Rick, thank you so much for all the years you've been making your travel shows and writing your books. Please keep up the good work. I'm not a teacher myself, but when I received the email with the teacher's discount offer, I passed it on to every educator that I know. The more people you can enlighten, the better!
Allyn, WA USA 08/23/2009
How can travel NOT be political?
I have just finished ordering my copy of Travel as a Political Act, taking advantage of Rick Steve's offer for teachers. Being a teacher, mother of four children ages 16-22, and an experienced traveler, I am very interested in reading Rick's ideas and opinions. This summer I traveled to Europe, staying with my daughter in Germany for a month. She and her husband are stationed at Ramstein AFB, but living "on the economy" because they wanted to live like the Germans. My daughter has met many Americans who live on Base and rarely leave the Base. In essence, they haven't left America. While in Europe, my daughter and I used a 21-day Eurailpass, traveling to Italy, Belgium, France, the Nederlands, and of course, Germany. I wanted to introduce my daughter to train travel because my experiences as a college student, studying abroad and traveling by Eurail, have been some of the greatest experiences of my life. How anyone can travel and NOT understand that travel is political, must be traveling with a blind eye. Perhaps they are one of the "Ugly Americans" that we learned about in a class prior to being able to study abroad. ("How NOT to be an Ugly American") Perhaps they are traveling on a tour that houses them in the American hotel chains, keeps them together as a group, isolating them from other travelers and the locals, and arranging every little detail of the trip so as to shield them from having to interface with the local customs/currencies/language. My daughter and I traveled on USO tours designed to introduce the military families to cities throughout Europe, by train, by RyanAir, and by car, and availed ourselves of the local transportation, never once using a taxi. The night before I left to return home, we discussed our favorite mode of transportation. My daughter concluded that she preferred the train, particularly using a pass such as Eurail. The reason? There were several: The schedule and the requirements for travel don't seem so stringent when traveling by train; you are able to see the countryside as you travel; you can hear the local language(s) being spoken; you can observe the modes of dress, how different peoples travel; but most importantly, you meet people from all over the world and learn how people view Americans. You are able to put America and Americans into perspective in this world. No class in any school, no matter what level, can teach you what travel - in the local mode, and living like the locals - will teach you. It is humbling, enlightening, sometimes trying, enjoyable, but always a learning experience. I can't wait to travel again, and hope to travel to countries that weren't open to Americans when I was in college.
FL USA 08/22/2009
First, it is too bad that Rick Steves arrogantly thinks his negative feelings on America (the country that created his riches) should be pressed into our schools (to his profit). Second, he somehow disregards the wealth of great humanity that the USA has given as a responsibility without asking for thanks over the past 100 years. Somehow this was done without Steves and his “bash America first” liberal agenda. Teach the children this agenda - change what the United States is - force the real world to look somewhere else for hope and support that they have received from the USA - more than any civilization in history. Maybe Steves can fill that void with his pretense - feed the third world from his pocket, stop visiting Europe, visit Africa or Pakistan. Sell those books, milk the USA then apologize to Europe for everything. But, look out - the majority of Europeans respect the USA, because they see in the USA what Steves is blinded to by his liberal agenda.
Raleigh , NC USA 08/22/2009
A friend sent Rick's article to me. My only comment would be that as Americans we should always present the most positive image we could, not only of ourselves but also regarding our government. We don't have to agree or even like our political posture but I do believe we as intelligent beings can relate what is percieved as negative in a manner as not to degrade our nation as a whole. As Judy mentioned in her note there is a great amount of disparity in this world. In those areas the problem is primarily their leadership and religion. Our country is far from perfect and could borrow a few ideas from our friendly neighbors. I think Mr.Steves is basically blowing his own horn to sell books.
Blair, NE USA 08/22/2009
Tralvel as a learning experience
I am not a teacher but reading some of the contributions criticizing your blog. I feel that it is time the critics learned that the the USA is not the center of the universe and that many other countries have a great deal to offer in the way they govern and their way of life.Traveling does broaden your mind.
Langley, B.C. Canada 08/22/2009
Political views should not be taught in classrooms.
Just as religion should not be taught in the public school classroom, I don't believe any form of politics should be taught except for studying the constitutions, how government branches work and the historical facts about a country. It is too easy for a teacher to put his or her own personal feelings (including yours if they use your book) into a discussion which results in a student being brainwashed at an early age with possibly the wrong perspective. I'm a world traveler myself and can see the same things others see, but have an entirely different viewpoint. I was in Yugoslavia just a few weeks before their war and citizens were begging me to have our country help them fight the Serbs. How can you say you see both sides of the issue when the Serbs were slaughtering people much like the Nazis did and also in Cambodia. Do you really believe women are being respected in Iran when their own family murders them for very innocent acts, and it has carried over into the U.S. with some of their immigrants. I've learned that they show you what they want you to see, not necessarily what is the truth. So I only believe the facts of history should be taught in schools and the facts of what is going on in current events...not discussion of right and wrong. Let a child grow up with all the facts (and not distorted facts) and then arrive at their own conclusions with a mature mind as they grow up...not with the brainwashing of a former teacher's personal view. Just because we "see" things and "hear" things as we travel does not make anyone of us experts in a political situation, because we are already tainted with our own political views when we are seeing or hearing it. So I don't think you are doing a favorable act by presenting your book to teachers, knowing how you stand personally when you were trying to "brainwash" your customers with letters to convince them to vote the way you saw fit in a U.S. election. I can't help to think this won't carry over in your guidebook for the classroom. I respect your ideas for travel help, Mr. Steves, but please stay out of our classrooms with your one sided views in politics.
Omaha, NE USA 08/21/2009
A great little book!
I paid full price for this book in a book store a couple months back and I honestly don't regret it one cent! (No, I am not related to Rick Steves or his company in any manner! smile) This is a fantastic little book that is unique in its focus and which verbalizes my own feelings and insights after years of travel, much of it "job related" and much of it now being frequent trips going "home to Europe", after having married a European! I think as Americans we cannot underestimated the impact we have as ambassadors of our country and our people when we travel. I only wish I had had a resource like this years ago when I was trooping college students around the globe on service learning trips as my career! Kudos to Rick Steves for exploring this powerful dimension of short term travel overseas.
OH USA 08/21/2009
Travel as a Potical Act
As a foreign language teacher I am totally in favor of Travel as a Politcal Act. In my county I am trying to develop a support group to include travel abroad with homestays as a part of the curriculum. I would welcome any suggestions as I enter this process.
Kannapolis, NC USA 08/21/2009
Travel as a Potical Act
This is a response to the teacher who wrote that we should not teach politics in the classroom. I agree. However, in a certain sense we already to teach one political viewpoint by using the textbooks that we use. They present a view of the world that is one sided. Teaching students to open their eyes to other ways of seeing the world is NOT teaching politics. It is teaching critical thinking skills. As a teacher I would never push one political view. However, I would push students to appreciate and empathize with other ways of thinking. Teaching students how other peoples act and view our world does not push one political view. On the contrary, it opens the world of view to them. By understanding how some peoples treat women does not mean that you condone it. In fact, by demonstrating to other cultures your comprehension of their ways is a first step to influence them to other ways of treating women. The arrogant american attitude has only gather hatred for US. We need to become less arrogant and more empathetic.
Kannapolis, NC USA 08/21/2009
Looking Through a Different Lens
Thank you Rick Steves, for making this available. I don't even have the book yet, but I can't wait to get it and share the ideas with my students. I teach staff development courses for educators and my focus is on cross-cultural communication. Cultural competence is glaringly omitted in most pre-professional preparation. My course is subtitled "Looking Through a Different Lens" and that is just what Rick Steves advocates. I trust that I can share my own and others' political views with my students (including the high school students I used to teach), knowing that I have also taught my students the importance of critical thinking. Our students, young and old, need to learn how to examine the view through a different lens.
Northportt, NY USA 08/21/2009
English and Humanities
I haven't ordered or read this book yet, but will not judge whether or not the book might be useful in my college English and humanities classes until I have done so. As a world traveler who has raised world travelers who are even better traveled than I am, and having hosted several international students in my home, I have come to believe that we are all political creatures who unconsciously commit political acts at every turn. So it is vital, at every level of education, not only to do thorough research but also to present an entire array of facts and to stimulate thought and discussion about global issues and perspectives. Good teachers can do that without inserting their own opinions. Thanks for writing this book based on what you have learned, Rick. I'll write more once I've read it!
Oklahoma City, OK USA 08/21/2009
Rick's Political Views
I totally agree with Judy. I lost a lot of respect for Rick when he turned political. I look to him for his travel expertise; I do not look to him for influence on my political beliefs.
Custer, SD USA 08/21/2009
I'm sure this book is wonderful, enlightening, and important, but it takes more than a teacher's willingness to bring books into a classroom. As the grandmother of a 6-grader and a kindergartener, our county school board--and maybe even the state dept. of education--will want to weigh in on this.
Does anyone have any suggestions about how to navigate this process and get Rick's book into the hands of students?
Travel as an expansion of consciousness
Congratulations to Rick for taking a stand and expressing his views on his website. It is far easier to refrain from possible alienation of potential consumers who may disagree with him. He is a prophetic voice and what he says is much needed. I recall being in Europe before our 2000 elections and reading that 95% of Europeans believed Al Gore would make the best choice for US President. Someone wrote, "Americans are not just electing the president of their country but the leader of the free world."
Atlanta , GA USA 08/21/2009
I totally disagree with the opinion voiced in an earlier contribution that presenting a political viewpoint is 'brainwashing.' As a teacher I do not believe that there is any merit in presenting 'just the facts' (always assuming that there is such a thing). In my opinion, facts are worthless if you do not teach students how to give them some meaning, and I think that is where critical thinking comes in. For example, in my German classes I tell the story of my youngest daughter who spent a few days in Paris with me before going to Germany. When we returned after extensive sight seeing, someone asked her what her strongest impression was from Paris. She replied: 'The people on the metro smell bad.' I use that as a starting point to discuss different cultures' attitudes towards hygiene, trying to put the American view of body odor as being socially unacceptable in perspective. I want my students to become aware of their own cultural beliefs and to make an effort to understand other cultures' view of things rather than judging from the vantage point of their own cultural credos.
Stillwater, OK USA 08/21/2009
Keep the politics out of it
I agree completely with G. Schwahn and Judy.
Whenever I watch his travel shows now, I question if his editorial choices were influenced by his political views.
Minneapolis, MN USA 08/21/2009
Travel as a Political Act
I have to agree with A.N., G. Schwahn, Judy. Mr. Steves in no way has convinced me that I need to apologize for being an American. Our family trip to Europe next year will not include Mr. Steves' books.
Eugene, OR USA 08/21/2009
Thanks for the Opprotunity
Thank you Judy. Because of your comments I have decided I do want to buy this book. I think it is impossible to teach simple, undistorted facts. That in itself, as you call it, is brainwashing. Even if you say a certain event happened on a certain day and say that is a fact, the minute you put it in any sort of context you have created a point of view. How can I reach to a conclusion or know what I think or how I feel unless I have the opportunity to discuss it with others who may not agree with me. To say a bomb was dropped on Hiroshima is a fact, but what does that mean? The minute you give a reason for it try to explain a "victim's" reaction to it you are "distorting" the fact and that begins a discussion. It is through an honest discussion that opinions are expressed, insights revealed and a more complete understanding is formed. To limit discussion and dismiss opposing views is itself a form of brainwashing. I look forward to reading Rick's book and having the opportunity to agree or disagree with what he says. That, I believe, is what is occurring here. As I see it, it's not a manifesto or even a definitive statement, but a point of view that invites discussion (hence the discussion questions). And that is education. We are not alone in this world, but we are in a unique position in it. Much of the world looks to us for help and guidance. And because of our unique system of government and the freedoms it offers, it allows us to discuss, debate and question the “facts” before us. That is not simply a wonderful opportunity but an awesome responsibility. Thank you Rick, for adding an experienced voice and another thoughtful perspective to the debate.
R. E. Stream
Iowa City, IA USA 08/21/2009
Travel is the Best Education!
I applaud the concept of this book and look forward to receiving it. I disagree strongly with the naysayers who feel that their political view is correct apriori. I never had the insights into the true nature of America until I spent much of my 20's living in Europe via the U.S. Air Force, Antioch College Antioch Education Abroad, and the University of Tuebingen. If one is too close or too myopic, one cannot see the true nature of the forest for the trees.
New Orleans, , LA USA 08/21/2009
Rick, I haven't even read your book as of yet but must disagree with Judy and the others who are upset you expressed your opinion. I have now been to 43 countries on 5 continents including 1yr traveling around the world and living in 3rd world countries. I am continually shocked by the ignorance of Americans on what is one of the great benefits of our country "free speech". You have as much of a right to your opinion as anyone and with your experience are much more knowledgeable to do so. To call ANY book brainwashing is absurd. We have to use SOME book to teach with, why is one brainwashing and another is not? Growing up in the public school system in this country I'm ashamed at how little I learned about the rest of the world. I have always appreciated Ricks commitments to making the world a better place whether it be through his travel shows, his work with bread for the world or whatever other means he gives back to his community and I look forward to reading his latest. I know in my travels I have often found myself intrigued by other much others think of our country and how interested they are in our politics.. often more than we are ourselves!
Portland, Or USA 08/21/2009
Thinking as Curriculum
I haven't read the book yet, but I did read Rick's description on the order page. It *doesn't* say it will be teaching a particular perspective, but rather that it is designed to open discussions. Those of you who have condemned it out of hand - is this due to Rick's political beliefs or because you've actually looked at the book? Bloom's Taxonomy has "evaluation" as the highest level of thinking skills. How can we teach children to evaluate the facts before them if we never model it, as I do in debates, by playing devil's advocate regardless of the political perspective from which the child is coming? Students complain that they can't tell which side of a debate I believe in - so I'm not brainwashing, but I *am* teaching them to THINK. I took middle school students to Europe for 3 weeks. At the end, I asked what they had learned. One of them said that he would be much more patient with non-English speakers, since he'd experienced what it was like to be unable to read the signs or understand simple conversation. Without any intent on my part, his travels changed his views of immigrants. Travel *is* a political act that changes lives and perspectives.
San Diego, CA USA 08/21/2009
Fish don't know they're wet - Frogs do!
Hello to All,
What a terrific opportunity we have with this forum to discuss/share the possibilities of ‘globalizing’ our classrooms with Travel as a Political Act.
I will be encouraging the students in my Methods and Techniques in ESL class at the University of Memphis to use the discussion questions and their thoughts/ feelings/reactions to them as authentic material for discussion with their international conversation partners attending the Intensive English Program (IEI) at our school.
We will also be inviting the IEI students - who are enrolled in a Conversation Class - to join us for a viewing of Iran: Yesterday and Today. Participants will be encouraged to bring foods from their home country (surface culture issue). This should work well as a bridge to a discussion of deep culture issues (diversity of expectations in academic culture found around the world, ethics, religion, politics, etc.).
One of the most exciting things about this project is the delicious ambiguity it offers the brick-and-mortar or e-teaching classroom. We will go where our cultural awareness travels take us!
I look forward to sharing ideas with those of you who will implement this text into you teaching venues.
Memphis, TN USA 08/21/2009
A Political Act...
The idea that there are facts, devoid of context, is a laughable notion. Teaching the student a set of "facts", without the ability to critically assess those "facts" is the very essence of brain washing. So many of the commentators here have judged the book, sight unseen, based Rick's previously expressed opinions. Education is about exposing students to a broad range of experiences and perspectives and providing them with tools that help them make sense of what they are experiencing. It seems like this book will be useful in doing that. I look forward to receiving my copy. $5. & free shipping? This really is a gift to teachers. Thank you Rick.
Danville, Ca USA 08/21/2009
I've already purchased three copies of "Travel as a Political Act"--one for me, one for my daughter, and one for my son. And I just ordered another one (for $5, how could I not?) because I've loaned out my copy to one of my colleagues and who knows if I'll ever get it back (hopefully she'll pass it on to someone else). I am a big Rick Steves fan and after reading this book, I respect him even more. I think it is so important that we all gain a better understanding of the people and cultures of the world and that we have an open mind. When you approach people of different cultures with an open mind, you have the opportunity to not only broaden your view, but to broaden that other person's view. When my husband and I travel to different countries, we go with the idea of soaking up as much of their culture as we can and we also hope that we are good ambassadors from the USA. Rick, after reading and using your guidebooks for all of our European holidays and watching every single episode of your TV program (more than once!), I think "Travel as a Political Act" had to be written and I'm so glad you wrote it! I'm a school psychologist in two elementary schools and I firmly believe that we must teach our students about other cultures. Thank you so much, Rick!
Batavia, IL USA 08/21/2009
I’m sorry to disagree with you Rick but, after reading your book “Travel as a political act”, what you are doing has nothing to do with traveling politically. You do not travel as a political act. As far as I can see you travel with an open mind and are looking for, primarily, enlightenment. That is completely non-political. You have this in common with travel writers like Paul Theroux and Rolf Potts. Some people even go so far as to call it spirituality. Traveling to have spiritual moments, to learn of other people and places. What you are doing is traveling as un-politically as possible, and then returning home to agitate politically for change. The politics does not enter into your actions until the travel portion is done. Your travel is not a political act, only the preaching you do at home can be considered political. Could it be that “Travel as a Political Act” was too good a title to give up? Did “Travel as a Non-Political Act” not cut it with your publisher? Rob.
Ottawa, Ont Can 08/21/2009
Travel as a Political Act
Rick, Your are a great guy but a philosopher your are not. "hanging out with smart people who find different truths "self-evident and god-given"" Different truths or diverse world views?
Lomita, CA USA 08/21/2009
Rick: I've got a new gig for you. We got turned onto your books. When an Italy tour that we booked got canceled.
We did everything based on your recommendations and loved it. We are now taking a cruise to Scandinavia. We felt locked in to the cruise tours, because we didn't know how to connect to the things that you recommended. If you can include in your next book, how people on cruises could hook up with your guides you could probably expand your audience by 50%. Keep up the good work. Regards, a Rick Steve's travel junkie.