Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Travel as a Political Act Paperback – May 5, 2009
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
If you’re the author, publisher, or rights holder of this book, let ACX help you produce the audiobook.Learn more.
Top Customer Reviews
The book is broken down into sections that demonstrate how different sections of the world handle socioeconomic situations differently than we do in America. He most certainly is not blind to American advantages, despite what his conservative critics will say. He speaks about how he finds it "disheartening" to see extreme theocracy being embraced in curriculums at Iranian universities, institutions he (rightly) believes should be open to challenging the status quo. He also speaks of how it is far easier to make a better profit owning a small business like his in America, as opposed to the regulatory hurdles of EU nations.
At the same time, he makes it clear that the rest of the world thinks about things globally and constantly interact with each other far more often and effectively than citizens of the U.S. do, and he's absolutely right. Some of it can be explained by American geographic isolation, but also because we are conditioned by many influences to fear or dismiss what we don't immediately know or understand. One of the greatest truisms he offers: "The very people who would most benefit from international travel - those who needlessly fear people and places they don't understand - decide to stay home.Read more ›
The author is not a radical liberal. He's not "in your face," nor does he "bash" America. He does not rant about US foreign policy, aggressive military actions, nor illegal wars. He is a Christian, family, patriotic business man who necessarily arrives at humanistic values through his wide experiences as an engaged citizen of the Earth. He expresses these values with an ease and eloquence that is instructive rather than combative, and so I hope to share this book with some of my more conservative and hawkish friends.
The book is highly readable, entertaining, and never dragging. There are plenty of short tales about ah-hah moments, glimpses into people's lives, funny stories, and poignant moments that both held my interest, renewed my hope despite these contentious times, and made me eager to hit the road again myself.
Rick's strength is his open mind & heart that allow him to mingle and to understand foreign perspectives-- to suspend judgement and appreciate "cultural relativity." He doesn't make foreigners "right" nor us "wrong," but rather suggests the lessons we can all learn to promote global peace and prosperity.
The European chapters explore EU attitudes toward such issues as nudity, sex, drugs, & prostitution from which we might learn alternative perspectives. For instance, he favors drug regulation over prohibition and rehabilitation over incarceration, citing the results achieved in Europe.Read more ›
And that is what he advocates in Travel as a Political Act - travel the Rick Steves way. Early in the book, he reveals that as a young tour guide, he tried to shake up his tour members by not making hotel arrangements until the last minute. Sometimes he waited too long to make reservations and there were no rooms left, so the group had to camp out. He wanted to teach them what it felt like to be homeless. While acknowledging that this was not a good practice for a tour guide, he still has a spark of that teaching-people-a-lesson attitude. In his own words, he is "evangelical about travel."
How do you make travel a political act? This is where it gets a bit vague. Get out of the bus (or cruise ship or car or RV) and talk with people. Observe how people live. Get out of your comfort zone and explore the parts of town that are less touristy. Learn how what our government does affects people around the world. Or how it doesn't affect them. When you come back home, vote thoughtfully. Talk politics with people who disagree with you. Bring up touchy subjects like poverty and drug policies. Teach people a lesson.
Travel as a Political Act is a short book (around 200 pages) with lots of photographs.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
When the country of Peru is mentioned, one imagines a peaceful scene of an Andean alpaca grazing along an Incan stone wall. Read morePublished 21 days ago by Brian Ward
Rick Steves is one of my favorite travellers. He is fully willing to admit that not everything he does is always the best thing. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Michael
We do not have American troops stationed in 140 nations unless you count the embassy military advisers.Published 10 months ago by A J
Truly...Travel is a political act. The more we know of others, the less we fear them, the more
friends we make, and the more we learn about ourselves.
Loved this book as well. Very insightful book on different cultures and customs.Published 17 months ago by Jane Doe
The thesis of this book is that every country has some of the same basic problems, but not every country approaches them the same way. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Dr. Conspiracy