Forms of identification: Rick Steves
Rick Steves shooting in Zagreb, Croatia.
Irreverent responses from our favourite travel ninjas.
Name: Rick Steves
Title/bio: Guidebook author, tour operator, television and radio personality who was recently named the 2011 Travel Journalist of the Year by the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation.
Twitter/website: Ricksteves.com and @RickSteves
Born in: Edmonds, Washington
Currently living in: Seattle, Washington
1. Where would you rather be right now?
Right where I am. I’ve been on the road for five of the last seven months, and I’m happy to be home.
2. Famous person (dead or alive, real or fictional) you’d most like to go on a trip with:
With Napoleon to Russia… perhaps to Moscow for Christmas.
3. Everyone asks what’s #1 on your list of places you want to go before you die. But what’s your #3?
The cruise from Seattle to Alaska
4. You’d be mortified if people knew you did what when you travelled?
Steal lunch from the breakfast buffet
5. Your most stranded, “oh-my-[deity]” travel moment:
On the overnight ferry ride from Norway to Denmark, I slept through Denmark and woke up halfway back to Norway. I was very tired. It was embarrassing to go downstairs to the ferry car deck and see my car being the only one out of a hundred facing the other way. It cost me a day of my itinerary… but gave me a fun memory.
6. Best (or worst) person/people you’ve had to sit next to while travelling:
I was surrounded by a bunch of very frightening Russian no-necks on a flight from Tallinn in Estonia. One got a phone call and his ringtone was the sound of a rifle being cocked. They made me want to crawl into the place under my seat where the life jacket is stowed.
7. Strangest meal abroad:
Sitting at a cafeteria in Kabul, I was joined by an Afghan professor who took it upon himself to spend the entire meal explaining to me that “one third of the people on this planet eat with spoons and forks like you, one third eat with chopsticks, and one third eat with their fingers like me and we’re all civilized just the same.”
8. If someone was visiting your town, what’s the one thing you’d show them?
I’d take them to the baseball stadium and show them a good time with really American food.
9. Travel-related invention you wish existed:
A powder that would wash your clothes simply by the rubbing action that comes with wearing it.
10. Your most embarrassing travel faux pas:
Having the exciting opportunity to have lunch with a big city travel editor when I was just getting started, reviewing the menu and upon seeing quiche, asking “What’s kwee-shee ?”
11. Material thing you miss the most when away from home:
12. Most unique souvenir:
The horns of a bull I saw killed in the ring in Seville and then slaughtered out back.
13. Best celebrity encounter while travelling:
Being in a crypt surrounded by urns filled with the vital organs of centuries of Hapsburg kings and queens.
14. Most unusual item you have travelled with:
Mukluks (Eskimo wool slippers with leather bottoms)
15. Coolest mode of transport you’ve taken:
A Trenino on the Italian Riviera (the tiny mono-rail train that takes vintners up the hills when working their vineyards).
16. Travel-related film or book that inspires you to pack your bags:
Movies: Yol for Turkey, Singing Revolution for Estonia, The Way for Galicia in northwest Spain, and three movies by Deepa Mehta for India: Water, Fire and Earth.
17. The travel story you’ll never stop bragging about:
How I got to give the Christkind (the Bavarian princess of Christmas… and quite a celebrity over there) a kiss on the cheek.
18. Lay on us a few priceless bits of travel advice or wisdom:
If you equip yourself with good information and expect yourself to travel smart, you can. There are two types of European travellers: those who wait in lines and those who don’t wait in lines. Fear is for people who don’t get out much.