Reference Point

August 09, 2009|By June Sawyers | June Sawyers,Tribune Newspapers

'Travel as a Political Act'

Nation Books, $16.95:

Rick Steves is one of the most famous travel writers working today. He also is among the most thoughtful. In "Travel as a Political Act," he challenges readers to think of travel as more than just, as he calls it, "a form of recreational escapism. ... It can be much more."

Steves believes that travel "should bring us together." The best kind of travel challenges us and makes us think about things we haven't considered before. Thus, he encourages people to travel with an open mind; in other words, to travel "thoughtfully."

Here he discusses traveling in the former Yugoslavia, in El Salvador, Morocco and Iran, commenting throughout on how we, as collective travelers, can learn from other cultures, and how to use those experiences when the journey ends. To Steves, "travel becomes a political act only if you actually do something with your broadened perspective once you return home."

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