posted on 10/11/2011 via
BabyBoomerTrips.com: We would like to take you back to a time when you were first starting to think about traveling independently. Can you relay some personal travel experiences from when you were just starting to travel on your own? Were your travel experiences very simple, such as going to "the lake," or the nearest "big city," or was it something more exotic like backpacking through Europe, hiking through Nepal, or taking a VW van cross-country? How much planning was involved back then, and what were your information sources?
Rick Steves: Back when I was the kid on my mom’s passport photo (that’s how it was in the late 1960s), traveling for me was just spending my summer vacations in places with different candy and pop, one-armed bandits in hotel lobbies, and statuesque women with hairy armpits. I just went where my parents took me and looked enviously at kids a few years older than me with backpacks, Eurail passes and the world as their playground. There was very little planning even possible other than buying the Frommer’s $5 a day guidebook and getting the flight and car rental through our travel agent.
BabyBoomerTrips.com: In your early travel days, how did you view the idea of flying to some distant country or a third world country? How does this compare to now?
Rick Steves: Back then, we dressed up to fly. Had a somber little family ceremony around the airplane crash insurance dispenser booth. Summer after summer I would gaze down at Greenland and catch a fuzzy Iceland in the distance, and marvel at how, in just a day, we could be in the other hemisphere.
BabyBoomerTrips.com: A fair amount of time has elapsed since you first started to travel independently. How has the travel industry changed since that time? How have your personal travel habits changed?
Rick Steves: With greater general affluence and technology making the physical act of travel less expensive, safer, faster, and more comfortable, international travel has become almost mundane. Coming from the land of “time is money,” the greatest change in my style and the environment of travel is simply being able to experience and accomplish much more in a given amount of time.
BabyBoomerTrips.com: Do you still have a “Dream Vacation?” If so, where/what would that be?
Rick Steves: In Europe I’d like to hike across the Alps and travel in Italy without working. Outside of Europe I’d like to island-hop across the South Pacific and hang out in Nepal.
BabyBoomerTrips.com: List your top 5 favorite travel destinations.
Rick Steves: Cinque Terre (Italian Riviera), Swiss Alps (on a sunny day), West coast of Ireland (Dingle in a light mist with a beer), Prague, South Coast of Portugal (the Algarve…the town of Salema)
About Rick: I’m 51 years old, married 25 years to Anne, father of two (Andy, second year at Notre Dame) and Jackie (11th grade), lived all my life in Edmonds (just north of Seattle), Lutheran, can’t cook or garden, run Europe through the Back Door (a company of 70 employees that teaches Americans how to travel smartly through Europe), write and host the PBS TV series Rick Steves’ Europe, author of 30 travel guidebooks.