My schedule has been really packed with fun recently. Since Sunday, I’ve been in Washington, DC, celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. And right before I got here, I enjoyed a whirlwind lecture tour through Kansas City, Grand Junction, and Milwaukee. It was a great little trip, filled with crowds crazy about travel, and I got to talk in beautiful halls — such as Milwaukee’s venerable Pabst Theater.
Photo: Wade Johnston
Rather than make people wait politely in the conventional long line for an autograph, after I give a talk I like to hang out in the lobby and just say, “Pretend you’re in Italy and there’s no line…just gather around, and I’ll turn in a circle, signing whatever’s in front of me until there’s nothing left to sign.” The pandemonium is always a lot of fun (and far quicker than the alternative).
Photo: Matt Perley
In Milwaukee, I had an unforgettable experience during my post-talk scrum. For 20 years, I’ve closed each episode of Rick Steves’ Europe with the tagline, “Keep on travelin’.” I’ve seen my sign-off line on hats, T-shirts, and journals. But this was a first: Three happy travelers actually greeted me with brand-new “Keep on Travelin’” tattoos.
And in Grand Junction, I spoke to a very spirited crowd at the Colorado Tourism Conference. Many people at the conference were using their state’s name as a verb — and, that night, I was very nearly “Colorado’d” myself. To add memories to the already-fun little road trip, I dropped by the Twisted Turtle for some high-altitude fun and went local, for a moment, with the help of a fine cowboy hat.