Travel As a Political Act

Seattle-area travel guru Rick Steves (PBS travel guides to Europe) was recently interviewed by Mark Rahner of the Seattle Times and had some poignant comments about travel, politics, and Americans overseas. It's a bit tongue-in-cheek and snarky, but ultimately a good read.

MR: You're suggesting actually learning about a culture before invading it? I mean traveling to it.

RS: Yeah, I'm saying if everybody traveled before they could vote, we would not be outvoted in the United Nations routinely 130 to 4. We would not go into wars alone. We would work better with the rest of the planet.

MR: What have you observed first-hand to be the effect of the Iraq war and our current foreign policies on the way people treat American travelers?

RS: People in most countries know from first-hand experience that you can elect a person that's an embarrassment, so they cut us some slack.

MR: We don't have to see Europe through the back door now because they hate us?

RS: No, they don't hate Americans. People love Americans. Some people go over there and want to put their judgments on other people to tell them how to do things right. Europeans don't need other people to tell them how to do things right and wrong. And they don't take very well to it. As long as you go to a country with a wide-open enthusiasm and an open mind and an interest in giving some of their ways of living a whirl, they love to have you visit. ...

You can read the article in full via this link.

This, as a pure coincidence, has to do with a long discussion Kristin and I had last night (which reminded us both about the conversations we had about moving to the west coast) about "What's next". I'm not going to make a big thing about it because it's some time off, but it's something I've secretly wanted to do for a very long time. I'll post more details next week.

Speaking of next week, I have notes for several articles about stuff I've been meaning to post for a while, but just haven't had the time. I'll be getting back to a normal posting routine on Monday. Sorry for the sparse posts of late, but it's September in the gaming industry... Heck, the only two times I've ridden my bike in the past three weeks was to the Starbucks down the road.

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