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Rick Steves On Keeping The Traveler's Mindset Even While You're Home

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Tim Frakes
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Travel host Rick Steves is spending his summer at home in Seattle, Wash., for the first time in 30 years, but he says he's "not struggling" with it and is confident that travel will continue once it's safe.

The coronavirus pandemic has restricted travel in the U.S. and around the world. The cancellation or postponement of trips has had a massive impact on the travel industry and leaves the future of travel itself uncertain.

So, what do you do if you make your living cruising around the world? Rick Steves is a PBS travel host, guidebook author and owner of a tour company that employs a hundred people and typically sends thousands of people across Europe each year. 

"The current state of travel if you're international travel is zip, zero, nothing. And I'm not struggling with that," says Steves. "I think patience is not an American forte, but we've got to develop a little patience."

Steves says the current state of travel is "one that I feared a long time ago." After an extremely difficult period, Europe is now opening domestic travel and its cities to other Europeans while Americans aren't welcome as the coronavirus rates continue to rise in the states. 

"I applaud [Europeans] for that discipline, and I'm encouraging my fellow countrymen to be patient, embrace science, and recognize that this is going to be a while, but it's not going to go forever. And we'll come out of it and that'll be OK," says Steves. 

"I'm encouraging my fellow countrymen to be patient, embrace science, and recognize that this is going to be a while, but it's not going to go forever."

While destination guidebooks aren't selling and road trip guidebooks are becoming more popular, Steves' new book For The Love Of Europe allows readers to travel from home. A collection of 100 essays share Steves' experiences and the "people that make travel great," as well as celebrate the approach to travel that is the opposite of socially distanced. 

Until Steves can safely travel and share Europe with others, he says he's been focusing his traveler's spirit on staying at home.

"This is my first summer in Seattle in 30 years and I've heard it's nice — and it is quite nice! I'd love to be in Europe right now — I've spent 100 days in Europe every year since I was a kid, but it's not in the cards, and we've got to play the cards we're dealt," he notes.

He's been walkings his dogs, dusting off old passions, getting to know his community at home and learning how to cook.

"Believe it or not, I had never made pasta, I had never felt a knife cutting through a crispy onion until this last couple of months, and it’s a joyful thing," says Steves. 

Throughout this pandemic, Steves says that it's clear we need each other. 

"Happy travels, even if you're just staying home for a while."

"We're going to come out of this a humbler nation ... The big challenges of the future are gonna be challenges that are blind to borders," he says.

"It kind of boils down to: do you have a mindset of bridges or a mindset of walls? And I'm a big fan of bridges. The world is filled with loving, joyful loving people and families just like us," he adds. 

For now, Steves has adjusted his signature catchphrase to: "Happy travels, even if you're just staying home for a while." 

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Audrey is a producer, host and reporter for Lake Effect. She is involved with every aspect of the show — from conducting interviews, editing audio, posting web stories and mixing the show together.