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Rick Steves tells us what to expect when Europe reopens to tourists this summer

Summer Perspectives on Travel.

As the Executive Director of (nonprofit) est. 2000 and our work to connect students from marginalized communities through adventure travel meeting students around the world and growing gardens to leave a beautiful gift behind in each culture, has of course been negatively impacted.

Not being able to travel has been devastating but not without some blessings too as we launch our online challenges starting December 2021 for the United Nations World Soil Day.

I have alot of respect for Rick Steves as an expert in the area of travel and as we look towards the future, here are some great thoughts from the travel master!

Europe is sorta-kinda opening back up to U.S. travelers, but Rick Steves — the American king of European travel — suggests we bide our time.

For those with the money and the inclination, that could be tough. Just hearing the words “Europe” and “travel” might trigger a little late-pandemic reverie: day hikes to ancient, sunbaked monasteries where choirs have been singing hymns since the bubonic plague; rediscovering your buoyancy in the salty Mediterranean; marveling at French museums (by day) and French rappers (by night); cooling down in a quiet Czech alehouse whose stone walls have seen and heard 400 years of human stories.

All that is waiting for us, Steves said in a recent interview — but we should also wait for it.

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

The Seattle Times: Last time we talked, back in January, you said you were prepared to wait until 2022 to go back to Europe. Is that still the case?

Rick Steves: Patience is not an American forte, and certainly not a Rick Steves forte — but I’m telling people: “Relax. This is what we expected.” It would be nice if we could be traveling again in late 2021, but I think early 2022 is realistic.


Every day, we have a review of all the news — “Oh, this is happening in Madrid, and this is happening in Copenhagen [in Denmark] and Slovenia is opening up” — and it’s all baloney. It doesn’t matter! Europe isn’t open until Europe is open.

I always joke that I go to Paris to have my cheeks kissed; I go to Rome to pack into the piazza and have my gelato and go up the Passeggiata, with all those generations going up pedestrian boulevards; and I go to the pubs in Ireland to sit at the bar and clink glasses with people who really believe strangers are just friends who’ve yet to meet. It’s people — it’s people — that distinguish a good trip, and experiences that distinguish a good trip. So I don’t want to go back until we can have that.

Of course, there’s a difference between independent travelers and organized travelers — it’s a big responsibility when you talk 24 people into sharing a bus. You want it to go like clockwork and you don’t want to be screwing around.

Please read the complete article here and GET INSPIRED for our future through patience.


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