Hi from Rick
With our dollar down and thoughts of how jets contribute to global warming, I've been considering the value of travel. Is it worth it?
In our empty-nest years, having traveled makes the life we've lived more interesting to gnaw on. For our children, travel stokes their youthful passions and gives them reasons to think big. And, in this election season, it's agreed that our statesmen and women gain critical understanding through travel.
I believe that to go through life without stepping outside your corner of the world is a lost opportunity. I can't remember meeting anyone who, after all the planning, expenses and challenges of turning their travel dreams into reality, didn't value the experience and consider it time and money well spent.
My parents likely won't be using their passports again — but their travel experiences have become a permanent part of their vocabulary. Just like treasured family photos and that piece of classic sheet music that's been on the piano for years, they have a sparkling chest of travel memories that can be dipped into at will...and is.
My dad still remembers marveling at how quickly Germans would say "you're welcome" after someone said "thank you." We had a game where my dad would bounce on hotel beds with me playing "danke-bitte" — our invented game where he would suddenly say "danke schön" and I would respond through my giggles as fast as possible with "bitte schön."
Our daughter, who's just started at Georgetown University, is immersed in a rich quasi travel experience — studying international affairs and journalism with classmates whose families make up the intelligentsia of countries all over the world. I still remember our little made-up game called "What do they speak." Passing hours on the trains and autoroutes of Europe, I'd ask, "What do they speak in Italy?" and our 4-year-old traveler would answer, "Italian!"..."What do they speak in Norway?"..."Norwegian!"..."What do they speak in Ireland?"..."Irelandish!"..."What do they speak in Thailand?"..."Thailandish!"
No matter what language they speak in your travel dreams, to help you jump-start your next adventure, this month's Travel News focuses on the essential backbone of every great trip: the planning process.
Our son Andy, having learned for himself the importance of planning smartly (especially on a student's budget), has just returned from a great year of discoveries: a semester in Rome, summer study programs in London and Milano, and lots of vagabonding in between. With this month's Travel News we'll kick off Andy Steves' new travel blog. While I find my cultural highs in galleries and castles, Andy finds them on mountain bikes, in stores displaying sleek Euro-designs, and in bars. While I'm in bed before midnight, that's when Andy's evening is just getting started. His blog will take you on a candid and bouncy ride through the Europe of a 21-year-old's dreams.
Reading our globe-trotting children's blogs keeps my wife Anne and me on the edge of our seats. I hope you can join us as we tag along...this time from home.
P.S: Speaking of news, have you checked out our daily European Headlines for Travelers feature? Be careful, you may get hooked.