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

Joy and Gratitude: $1,187,352 for Bread for the World

I just got great news: the final update from Bread for the World about our holiday fundraiser. (Gifts just kept coming in, well into January.) More than 3,200 of you participated — and together, you donated $487,352. With my $700,000 “double match,” we raised a total $1,187,352 — far exceeding our million-dollar goal — to help build the political will to end hunger. Just thinking about what this money will accomplish fills me with joy and gratitude…and pride in the big hearts of my fellow travelers.

When I rave about the work of Bread for the World (as I have for 30 years), people often ask, “Just what does it do?” And when I explain that it’s a lobbying organization, some people react with, “Why would you pay for lobbying when you’re fighting hunger?” I reply that “lobbying” is actually just “advocacy” — and it’s more important and impactful than ever, now that the Trump administration and House Republicans are championing budget cuts and tax reforms that will do great harm to hungry and vulnerable people.

In 2018, Bread for the World was a key player in the legislative arena, getting impressive results. Here is a wonk-ish paragraph from their current newsletter:

“Congress’ record on hunger-related issues in 2018 was better than expected, partly because of Bread for the World’s advocacy. Congress passed the Global Food Security Act, which mandates the continuation of effective agriculture and nutrition assistance programs for the next five years. They decided not to try yet again in 2018 for trillion-dollar cuts to programs that help hungry and poor people in this country. The final version of the Farm Bill did not include the House of Representatives’ plan to cut food assistance (SNAP or ‘food stamps’) to struggling American families by $20 billion. (That’s a lot of groceries.) Finally, Congress passed – and the President signed – a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill. (This will reduce mass incarceration which results in hunger and poverty–particularly in our Black communities.) Bread for the World and its network across the country played a significant role on all these issues.”

I know we all have a lot on our plates these days. But many people, at home and abroad, have the opposite problem. And — thanks to the collective effort of more than 3,200 of you — we’re making a huge difference. Our friends at Bread for the World report that our initiative has injected palpable energy into the organization at the beginning of another daunting year. If you care about ending hunger…Bread gets it done. Thanks, and congrats to all involved!

Name Rick’s Books: The Finalists

Thanks so much for the outpouring of creativity you shared after I asked for your help finding good titles for my two upcoming books: my “art book” and my “articles book.”

Each book is a beautifully illustrated collection of 100 short chapters. The “art book” features my 100 favorite pieces of European art, along with descriptions designed to stoke the joy travelers feel when they see great paintings, statues, and architecture. The “articles book” is a collection of 100 of my best articles, and is designed to show off both my favorite slices of Europe and what I consider my best travel writing.

Over 1,000 of you submitted title suggestions on Facebook — and I enjoyed reading them all. We have several options that I now like, but I’d love your help with the final decision. Please consider the below and comment with your favorite titles for each book. Thanks again.

— The Art Book —
Each title will likely begin with “Rick Steves’,” followed by a short title and subtitle.

Favorite Suggested Titles:

European Masterpieces: 100 Favorite Works of Art
European Masterpieces: The Top 100
European Masterpieces: 100 Works of Art
European Art: 100 Top/Favorite Masterpieces
European Art: My 100 Favorite Masterpieces
Europe’s Best Art: The/My Heavenly Hundred
Europe’s Art in 100 Masterpieces
European Art: The Top 100
Europe’s Greatest Art: 100 Masterpieces
100 Masterpieces: Europe’s Best Art
100 Favorite Masterpieces: Europe’s Best Art
Europe’s Best Art: Rick Steves’ 100 Favorite Masterpieces
For the Love of Art: Europe’s Top 100
European Art: The Top 100

Mix & Match: Any of the above titles and subtitles

Other Good Titles:

A Travelers’ Guide to Art Appreciation
Europe in 100 Masterpieces
Essential Art: Europe’s Top 100
100 Favorite Masterpieces – Explained
The Art of Travel: 100 Favorite Masterpieces
The Art of Travel: Experiencing Europe’s Top 100 Masterpieces
Rick Steves’ Top 100: An Art Tour of Europe
Rick Steves’ Favorite 100 Works of European Art
Great Art of Europe: My Favorite 100 Masterpieces

— The Articles Book —
Mix and match the following for the best complete title:

Titles:

For the Love of Europe:
Unforgettable Europe:
Experience Europe:
Europe:
Europe’s Greatest Hits:
Loving Europe:
Rendezvous with Europe:

Subtitles:

Musings on 45 Years of Travel
Musings on a Lifetime of Travel
100 Musings from a Lifetime of Travel
100 Favorite Articles/Experiences
100 Reasons to Keep on Traveling
An Anthology of 100 Favorite Articles
100 Favorite Articles
My Favorite 100 Slices
100 Vivid Encounters
100 Stories from a Temporary Local
A Collection of 100 Favorite Articles

Good Words:

Musings, Encounters, Experiences, Articles, Top, Favorite, Best, Highlights, Vignettes

Other Good Titles:

Rick Steves’ 100 Favorite European Experiences
Rendezvous Europe: 100 Favorite Articles
Loving Europe: 100 Favorite Encounters
Wish You Were Here: Rick Steves’ 100 Favorite European Experiences/Articles
Dancing with Europa: An Anthology of 100 Favorite Articles
Dancing with Europa: 100 Favorite Experiences
For the Love of Europe: 100 Musings from a Lifetime of Travel

Your Help Needed: Name Another New Book!

 

Thanks a lot for all the creative assistance you gave me yesterday. It was so fun reading through all your ideas about what to call my new art book. We’re mulling over the list now, and I’ll be sure to let you know what our final choice is.

In fact, you were so helpful that I’m hoping to tap into your collective creativity again. Can you help me come up with a title for another new book of mine? This one showcases 100 articles about my favorite slices of Europe. It’s designed to give travel dreamers a fun-to-read overview of Europe’s most exciting experiences and sights.

I need a title with no more than six words, and maybe (or maybe not) a subtitle. Here are a few that we’re considering…but I’m hoping for something catchier:

Rick Steves’ For the Love of Europe
Rick Steves’ Europe: 100 Favorite Encounters
Dancing with Europa: 100 Best Experiences
For the Love of Europe: 100 Intimate Rendezvous with European Travel Thrills
For the Love of Europe: Musings on 45 Years of Travel
Loving Europe: 100 Favorite Encounters
European Pie: 100 Unforgettable Slices
Rick Steves: Favorite European Experiences
Rick Steves: 100 European Experiences
Rick Steves: 100 Great Days in Europe
Rick Steves: Dispatches from Europa
For the Love of Europe: 100 Favorite Articles/Experiences/Encounters/Slices

Possible subtitles:
A Collection of Rick’s Favorite Experiences in Europe
Eye-opening Experiences from Over 45 Years of Travel
Eye-opening Stories from 3,000 Days Traveling in Europe

Thanks for your help!

Your Help Needed: Name My New Art Book

 

I’m very excited about a new book I’m working on, featuring my favorite 100 works of European art. I like the cover my publisher is proposing, and everything’s looking really good. There’s just one problem: I don’t know what to call it. Can you help?

The book showcases 100 masterpieces across 100 two-page spreads, and describes each in a way that helps travelers appreciate and enjoy that work of art. I need a title with no more than six words, and maybe (or maybe not) a subtitle. Here are a few that we’re considering…but I’m hoping for something catchier:

European Art: The Top 100
Europe’s Greatest Art: 100 Masterpieces You’ll See AFTER You Die
100 Masterpieces: Europe’s Best Art
Europe’s Best Art: The Heavenly Hundred

What do you think?

 

“Reality Touring” with Nation Travels

Nation Travels

Honolulu or Havana? The world is full of travel opportunities that are more than enjoyable — they can be transformational. By getting out of our comfort zone, we realize that different people find different truths to be self-evident and God-given. We gain an understanding of the other 96 percent of humanity — and in many ways, we can learn a lot about our own country by viewing it from afar.

My tour company has been taking Americans on the road for more than 40 years now. From Lisbon to Istanbul, and from St. Petersburg to Palermo, we offer tours across Europe. I love each of our itineraries, and I frequently travel along with our tour groups — but I also regularly travel beyond Europe. And when I do, I like to enlist the help of what I call “reality tour” companies — organizations that offer educational trips for thoughtful travelers. You can find a list of some of my favorites here.

Recently, I found out about another great option for Americans who want to get an education on the road: Nation Travels. This organization, which is run by The Nation Magazine, takes small groups of progressives to parts of the world whose governments are at odds with our own, with the hope that citizen-to-citizen contact will lead to more productive engagement. At each destination, they introduce travelers to a network of interesting locals, including academics, journalists, activists, and artists — and 100% of their proceeds fund The Nation’s journalism. Plus, their itineraries cover some of my favorite destinations, including India, Iran, and Cuba. Check them out — and keep on travelin’!