I'm sharing my travel experiences, candid opinions and what's on my mind. If you think it's inappropriate for a travel writer to stir up discussion on his blog with political observations and insights gained from traveling abroad, you may not want to read any further. — Rick

Video: Travel Thrills on the Cutting Room Floor

When it comes to our TV show, I tend to overpack. I love each corner of Europe — but there are only 30 minutes, or 3,000 words, in each episode. Invariably our episodes come in at 32 minutes or so, and I need to make the hard cuts. While it’s painful to lose bits I really like, the tighter shows are better without them.

Many of you have been watching Rick Steves’ Europe for literally decades, and I thought, as we celebrate the arrival of our tenth season (12 all-new episodes debuting next month on public television throughout the USA), I’d share with you the kind of footage that ends up on our cutting room floor.

In this little clip, you’ll see what we cut from our upcoming Scottish Highlands episode:

  • The Inveraray Castle, which houses clan mementos that are precious to Campbells.
  • McCaig’s Tower, a silly “folly” in Oban. (Beautifully filmed mediocre sights in bad weather are the first to go.)
  • Me sharing a tip for road-trippers to get out of the car and take little hikes. (Fun asides are easy to cut when we’re running long because they don’t impact the structure of the script.)
  • The town of Fort William. (This was an entire module — like pulling a tooth, it only hurts once to lose it…but I hated to delete the great sound bite from our guide Colin, with his nice dig at English imperialism.)
  • Much of the Scottish Crannog Centre. (This was just too much information, so we used a much shorter version.)
  • A juvenile clip of me searching for the Loch Ness monster (which was not too juvenile to end up in our bloopers).

Thanks to all our travelers, whose viewership has kept us on the air for so long, and to public television, which continues to be a lonely bright spot in the broadcast media landscape of America. Stay tuned for lots of Rick Steves’ Europe this fall — including episodes on Portugal (Lisbon and the country’s heartland), the heart of England, Greek islands, Sicily (Best of Sicily and Sicilian Delights), Scotland (Glasgow, Highlands, and islands), cruising travel skills, and two special episodes on Europe’s greatest festivals. Check your local listings for air dates.

 

Celebrating a Gold for Iceland and a Silver for Festivals

We just received some great news: Our Iceland guidebook and European Festivals TV special have both been recognized by the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation with Lowell Thomas awards. These awards are considered the most prestigious accolades in the field of travel journalism — and I couldn’t be prouder of the team of people who worked together on these two projects.

Our newest guidebook, Rick Steves Iceland, took the gold in the Guidebook category. Here’s what the judges said:

 

Iceland seems to fascinate almost every traveler alive, maybe because the name seems so forbidding, maybe because of the geographic remoteness. This guidebook explains the attractions of the big city, Reykjavik, with vigor. But the guide also leaves the city to help with explorations of hiking journeys, visits to volcanoes, glaciers, and thermal waters. The offshore islands receive attention, too. This book is thorough and well-organized.

 

You can pick up a copy of Rick Steves Iceland here — and Cameron Hewitt, who was instrumental in writing the book, shares some of Iceland’s top travel experiences here.

In the Video Travel Broadcast category, our one-hour public television special Rick Steves’ European Festivals nabbed the silver with this note from the judges:

 

This host takes what could be a stale topic — European festivals — and, through clever writing and charismatic performance, brings them to life. It’s fun and light-hearted and makes me want to go.

 

Celebrate! Our one-hour Festivals special is streaming here.

The ‘Roadschooling’ Family Traveling Around the World

Photo: Stuart Kime

I’m often inspired by families on the road. And this past summer on a ferry between Oban and Isle of Mull, I met the Kime family from Texas. The mom and dad (Sarah and Stuart) told me that they had realized that there is no better education or quality family time than traveling together — so they took their kids on a year-long trip around the world. (The kids recognized me because they were using my TV show Rick Steves’ Europe as part of their on-the-road curriculum. They were staying in 107 locations over 370 nights, and 86 of those stops were based on episodes from the show.)

The energy, curiosity, and joy in the faces of each of those kids as they experienced our world was a delight to experience. To follow their adventures — and if you’re a parent, to be inspired to take your kids out of conventional school and make the world their classroom — check out the Kime family’s adventures on Instagram.

What about you? Have you taken your kids out of conventional school for a bit of “on-the-road” education? I’d love to hear about your experience.

Video: Travel as a Force for Peace

It was 1969, I was 14 years old, and one night my dad came home and said, “Son, we’re going to Norway to see the relatives.” I thought, “Stupid idea.”

A few days after arriving, I was sitting on the carpet with my cousins in Bergen watching Neil Armstrong on TV as he took “et lite skritt for et menneske … one giant leap for mankind.” It occurred to me that this was more than an American celebration. It was a human one. Without my realizing it, travel was broadening my perspective. While reinforcing how thankful I was to be an American, it was also making me a better citizen of the planet. It was shaping the 14-year-old me to be a force for peace and an advocate for the importance of thoughtful travel — the idea that travel can be a political act.

I wrote about this idea in the September issue of the Rotarian Magazine. You can read it now here — and be sure to tune in below to hear my conversation with Rotary International.

We chatted with guidebook author and travel TV host Rick Steves to learn more about getting out of our comfort zones,…

Posted by Rotary International on Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Scrubbing the Script: Poop or Pope?

We lovingly fine-tune all our TV shows before they air — and on the final review this time around, producer Simon, editor Risa, and I caught an embarrassing flub that no one had noticed before. When I think about how close this came to being broadcast across the USA, I shudder.

 

 

BTW, we’ve just finished Season 10 of Rick Steves’ Europe. Beginning next month, it will air in virtually every city in the country. Be sure to ask your public television station about your local air times, and don’t miss an episode!

Here’s the lineup for Season 10:

1001  The Heart of England
1002  Lisbon
1003  Portugal’s Heartland
1004  Travel Skills: Cruising
1005  Greek Islands: Santorini, Mykonos, and Rhodes
1006  European Festivals I
1007  European Festivals II
1008  The Best of Sicily
1009  Sicilian Delights
1010  Scotland’s Highlands
1011  Scotland’s Islands
1012  Glasgow and Scottish Passions