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Up To Date

Travel As A Political Act

It's easy to vilify an entire country because of its political leadership. But don't you think it'd be interesting to explore the Middle Eastern treasures of Iran or visit the southeast Asian jewel of Vietnam?

Travel connects people with people, says travel writer Rick Steves.  "And it inspires creative new solutions to persistent problems facing our nation. We can't understand our world without experiencing it."

In the second half of Wednesday's Up to Date, Steve Kraske talks with Rick Steves about his book Travel As a Political Act, and how Americans who travel can have the time of their lives and come home smarter.

Have you traveled to a place that made your friends and family say "you're going where?!" Share your experiences with us. Comment below, post on KCUR's Facebook page, call 816 235 2888 during the program, or email us: uptodate@kcur.org.

The UMKC Cockefair Chair presents travel journalist Rick Steves on Sunday March 11 at 7 p.m. at Unity Temple on the Plaza, 707 W. 47th Street, Kansas City, Mo.  There is no cost for the program, but guests are encouraged to make reservations through the Central Ticket Office.

Rick Steves, born in 1955 and raised in Edmonds, Washington (just north of Seattle), still looks out his window each morning at Puget Sound. He is the father of two children, Andy and Jackie. Rick ventured to Europe for the first time as a teenager in 1969, visiting relatives in Norway and touring German piano factories with his piano-importer father. Rick was hooked… and ever since, he’s spent four months each year overseas. After a few trips of learning from his mistakes, Rick was inspired to teach his fellow travelers how to enjoy smoother and more culturally broadening travels. What began as a series of lectures evolved into guidebooks, guided tours, a public television series (Rick Steves’ Europe), a public radio show (Travel with Rick Steves), a website (ricksteves.com), and a syndicated newspaper column. Rick wrote his first book, Europe Through the Back Door, in 1980. Since then, he has researched and written over 50 different European travel guidebooks (all published by Avalon Travel Publishing). His Edmonds-based travel company, Rick Steves’ Europe Through the Back Door, employs a hardworking and well-traveled staff of over 70. An active Lutheran, Rick has hosted several educational videos for the Lutheran Church (ELCA) and received the Wittenberg Award in 2007 for his social activism. In 2009, the National Council for International Visitors (funded by the US State Department) presented Rick with their Citizen Diplomat of the year Award. Rick still spends four months a year in Europe updating his guidebooks, researching new ones, and producing TV shows, as he has for three decades.

Stephen Steigman is director of Classical KC. You can email him at <a href="mailto:Stephen.Steigman@classicalkc.org">Stephen.Steigman@classicalkc.org</a>.
When I host Up To Date each morning at 9, my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. Reach me at steve@kcur.org or on Twitter @stevekraske.