During his decades of traveling around Europe, Rick Steves was robbed once and pickedpocketed twice.
but he wasn’t Angry at robbers.
“I am grateful for what all those experiences have taught me,” he said in a recent interview.
For Steves, travel is all about new experiences. He is known for his best-selling guidebooks, PBS shows and tours, and this year alone he has attracted 25,000 attendees, about half of whom are repeat visitors. (His travel columns also appear every Sunday in The Virginian’s Pilot and The Daily His Press.)
On September 7th, Steves will share his experience at Chrysler Hall. Norfolk Forum line-up celebrating its 90th anniversary.
Forum President Jason Davis said he chose Steves because he wanted to start the season with a descriptive name.
“He should be the world leader in European travel,” he said.
He hopes Steves’ stories will be interesting, not too serious, and timely.
“Coming out of COVID, travel is on a lot of people’s minds,” Davis said.
Steves said his guidebook stopped selling and his tour was over during a pandemic However, demand for travel is returning, and those who received refunds in 2020 have signed up for this year. Although there is still a risk of contracting COVID-19, Europe has begun to treat the virus as endemic, and he has seen the energy he loves about Europe returning.
Yet he has noticed some changes in the continent he considers his “playground”.
Historic sites are beginning to use advance reservations to control crowds. The pandemic has made people accustomed to eating out.Climate change is making summers in Europe hotter, and it’s noticeable In places like the British Isles and Germany where there is no universal air conditioner. Some sites also require proof of vaccination, making them difficult for unvaccinated travelers to explore.
Exploration is key to Steves.
When he started the business in the 1970s, he called it “Europe through the back door.”
He said people travel better when they try new things instead of just ticking off items on their bucket list.
“Because you’re a tourist, how many people do you interact with who aren’t stationed there to make money from you?” he asked. How many people are there and will you be at the party?”
However, Steves sees travel as more than a good time. This is a way of deepening understanding in a divided political landscape.
“I think the people who fear the most are people who have never traveled in general,” he said. “Because if you don’t travel, other people will shape your view of the world. I think it would be a much safer place.Had I had to travel before I voted, our political climate would be very different.The flip side of fear is understanding and travels to deepen understanding.”
Steves sees Europe as North America’s sister continent and “a puddle of world exploration”. His guidebooks and tours are the focus because it’s where he feels comfortable and it’s the biggest travel market.
But his favorite country is actually India. Because the world is so different from what he knows. The toilet may have a hole in the ground. People do not see time as a commodity and there is no Christian tradition in this country.
“When I go to India, I feel like someone rearranged all my cultural furniture. I really like that,” he said in a gleeful voice.
Check out the latest entertainment and arts news, then plan your weekend ahead of what’s happening around Hampton Roads.
“And for me, culture shock is a good thing. It’s constructive. It’s the growing pains of broadening your horizons.”
when: September 7, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Chrysler Hall, 215 St. Paul’s Blvd., Norfolk
tickets: Only full-season subscriptions are sold to first-time forum speakers. $160. Limited single tickets will be offered later if available.