picture borrowed from time.com

            Rick Steves has written dozens of Europe guidebooks; he stars in his own PBS travel show, Rick Steves’ Europe; he hosts a syndicated radio show and he is the only American travel writer adored by Europeans. Steves often appears on television and radio talk shows and online travel chats as a leading authority on independent European travel.

        Rick Steves’ Europe’s mission is to “inspire, inform and equip Americans to have European trips that are fun, affordable and culturally broadening. We value travel as a powerful way to better understand and contribute to the world in which we live. We strive to keep our own travel style, our world outlook and our business practices consistent with these values.”

                     Steves began backpacking through Europe ever summer as an undergraduate at the University of Washington. After a couple years, he created a one-man company guiding minibus tours. Steves published his first guidebook in 1980. Decades later, Steves employs 80 different people and has spent more than a quarter of his life living out of a suitcase.

                   The attraction to Europe is the cultural diversity, the continent complexity, and the pride of the people. “After a generation of exploring Europe, I find that it is as vital as ever,” Steves said. “Wales is starting its first daily newspaper in Welsh, which is great. The big changes have been in efficiency and in affluence.”

                    To those considering a career in travel writing, Steve suggests that one should, “travel a lot. Maintain a focus. Take notes carefully in the field. Share your information generously — almost as a publicity stunt. If it’s any good, people with an ongoing need or appetite for good travel information will come back for more. Gradually you can build up an income.”

                Steves wishes he was a better observer of people and cultures and economies and societies. That’s one thing he said he remains humble about. He is a distinguished guidebook writer. He can find a good hotel and restaurant and he can present the information so it’s helpful for his viewers/travelers.

                  “My lucky situation is that I think more people read my material than the greatest travel literature writers because I have a practical rack to hang my information on,” Steves said.

                  The biggest reward being a traveling writer? Steves revealed that it is developing a network of good friends in the most fascinating corners of Europe. Seeing how, as a teacher, he can help people enjoy the magic/challenge/experience of travel as he has. Steves interacts with the most beautiful people and visits the most beautiful places in Europe. He documents his European experiences meticulously to help facilitate traveling for his viewers.

            “You want to sit down and get out your notepad and collect all these thoughts and weave them into something coherent so people can vicariously be there through you and gain the same sort of empathy for peoples’ struggles,” Steves expressed “That’s something I’m working on.”

Rick Steves’ Blog


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