Travel as a Political Act

Travel as a Political Act

author: Rick Steves
name: Elaine
average rating: 3.89
book published: 2009
rating: 5
read at: 2010/04/03
date added: 2010/04/20
shelves: autobiography, history, non-fiction, politics, travel, favorites
I first starting watching Steves’s show when I was in college, and though we often made fun of his extreme dorkiness, I’ve always appreciated his enthusiasm for travel and for other cultures.

In this book, he writes about how his travels have given him new perspectives on the political and social challenges of our time. In particular, his way of traveling, which is to get away from the tours and tourist traps, and out into the everyday world.

Each chapter focuses on a different topic, explored through his experiences in a particular region. Mostly Europe, but there is a chapter on El Salvador and another on Iran. What I find is that he has a very optimistic but nuanced view of the world. It also becomes clear that there’s a religious influence to his views, but IMHO it’s the best kind of Christian: infused with love and charity.

I found it fascinating and engaging; it made me think about my own views and to daydream about travel, which I suppose was the point.

Bonus points for gorgeous full-color photography. It’s rare to find a thoughtful (not natural science) non-fiction book that also has such great imagery!