Program 731: Hiking Iceland; Disappearing Asia; England Journeys & Slang

Release Date: 10-21-2023


A creative-writing professor discusses Icelandic mythology, as told in the Viking-inspired sagas — and how a summer backpacking trek around the island nation helped him understand the role these tales play in Iceland's modern-day culture. Then futurist and Wired founder Kevin Kelly looks back on his journeys to document, over nearly 50 years, many of the traditions and features now quickly vanishing across Asia. And experts share advice for fall travels to England's gardens and stone circles, and for understanding British slang.


  • Kurt Caswell, author of "Iceland Summer" (Trinity University Press)
  • Kevin Kelly, photographer/author of "Vanishing Asia" (self-published)
  • England-based tour guides Tom Hooper, Roy Nicholls, Gillian Chadwick
  • Chris Rae, author of "The Septic’s Companion" (self-published)

Additional Info

  • Kurt Caswell wrote "Iceland Summer" about his hiking adventure along the Ring Road in Iceland. He also filed dispatches from his trip for McSweeneys.
  • Advice for motoring Iceland's Ring Road.
  • Kevin Kelly is a "senior maverick" at Wired magazine. He organized a multi-year photography project called "Vanishing Asia," to document changing traditions in 35 nations.
  • Kevin spoke further with Rick on the topic of what’s vanishing in Asia on Travel with Rick Steves program #712 in April, 2023.
  • Kevin also delivered a TED talk on how "the future will be shaped by optimists."
  • Some of the favorite landscaped gardens mentioned by Rick and the British guides include those at Sissinghurst Castle Gardens in Kent; Great Dixter House and Gardens; Hidcote, near Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire; Longlete House in Wiltshire; Bodnant Gardens in northern Wales; The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, near London; Stourhead, near Stonehenge; and The Eden Project in Cornwall.
  • The stone circle called "Long Meg and her Daughters" is just east of Carlisle.
  • Chris Rae's website for "The Septic's Companion" includes a searchable British slang dictionary with pronunciations.

Program Extras

More with Kurt Caswell - Rick and Texas Tech creative writing professor Kurt Caswell discuss Kurt's humanities grant to travel to Iceland to spend time in the land of the Sagas, and how one of his favorite Saga characters relates to the Icelandic people of today. (runs 5:24)