Tuesday, July 23, 2019
Travel as a Political Act by Rick Steves
He covers several countries in the course of the book, Yugoslavia after the war; El Salvador with its poverty and government controlled by American interests and American money. He looks at Denmark as an example of a country that taxes itself to provide a high level of health and educational services to the people. He takes readers to Turkey and Morocco to examine the countries under secular Islam rather that controlled by religious groups. He discussed Iran as it was in 2008, in a lengthy chapter.
For me, one of the most interesting chapters was his examination of Europe under the European Union. While Steves' viewpoint was positive as he talked about unification, it was sobering to read it now after Brexit and immigration issues. It's easy to look back now and say the hopes were so high and so optimistic, but economic issues and fears have played havoc with that optimism.
In some ways, considering the state of the world and this country in particular, Travel as a Political Act is a depressing book. There are times it made me wistful for the past of ten years ago. I'm sure, though, that the author who hoped this book would challenge travelers to take the opportunity to learn and connect with people, would still say the same thing. It may be a bigger challenge right now. But, Steves insists we can start changing the world in our own little corner of it, and the more we travel, the more we'll want to change it for ourselves and others.
Despite the copyright date, Travel as a Political Act still has an important message.
Rick Steves' website is www.ricksteves.com
Travel as a Political Act by Rick Steves. Nation Books, 2009. ISBN 9781568584355 (paperback), 304p.
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