Rick Steves Eurpoean Travel Expert.

Newsmaker Interviews
Thursday, February 8th

Rick Steves is a  Eurpoean Travel Expert who talks with WILK's Sue Henry about travel and why he supports legalizing marijuana


Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

I like it. Next to get away right. I let get away it's so great to have you on the Saturday and W al-Qaeda talk about to your new book travel and they political act and leave your baggage behind. And the things you do to empower people to see our big blue marble so thanks so much for doing in the shop. Yet to be rid. When did you realize at first direct that it was possible for you to travel where you are a young person in what excited only about seeing other things. I had no interest in traveling as a kid until my dad decided to import campus from Germany and he came home one day since then we're going to Germany to the cattle factories but that's a stupid idea. But they got over there and I realize it's a fascinating world and you know what a couple of times when parents as a kid and I about to go back every year after that in my own and have done that and press spent four months here in Europe since sept. Well first since the seventies and now I'm I'm really enjoying reading diet books and making TV shows and encouraging Americans step basically get beyond Orlando. Your television show now is so. Visually stunning. Oh my goodness Rick it is I it's better in person but it looks great on. Head. Well I've got a great crew and it served a beautiful sort of I think I mean Europe is Mike might be too. And as premier pissed that wading pool for world exploration. And that really like tickle with and make some mistakes stick purple boats when I get ripped up and celebrate get a that the district government come home and teach my fellow Americans. That scams to that when they go prepared to Europe taken troubles smarter and enjoy maximum trouble throughout every mile a minute and dollar and their vacation. And I did do a net you know for a long long time now I've got time. You know staff of well but a 150 people here in Seattle helping me produce an amplified my key chain. And have that technology got my web streams attempt. Which are the lessons I've heard from my travels. And I've realized lately that term it's really I think very valuable for Americans to go to comfort zone. And travel in places where they've they're able to gain an empathy for the other 96% of humanity. And come home with what I think is the most beautiful souvenir and that's the broader perspective. You less safe fears for people who don't get out much and I agree that some people are so intimidated. By. I'll kinds of things regarding travel but you just mentioned Rick. Now in this day age that we live and there's more technology available if if something goes wrong my goodness you can certainly get on your your phone and try to figure out or grab it. How that how does that mean people less timid about get out there. Oh I think you know I've been teaching this for. Spurred decades and the language barrier is much easier now and anybody who is educated or young or in tourism is very likely to speak English. I speak only English it's not a direct about it but it still at which that works. Of course you got instant communication almost free anywhere in Al and that was so huge challenge when it started traveling was just communicating with your loved ones back home. A transportation is so much easier and safer now. I mean in the old days it took a train ride the bull ride sniffed by dogs and other train ride to get from London to Paris. And now there is two and a half hours by train seventeen minutes and English Channel. I mean it's it's just the delight so. And you know a lot of people are. Are wondering about safety and saute it in in any major safer today than it was twenty or thirty years go to travel. You know whatever country. But tell one thing we have different now is put of course seven. Commercial news media that tend to make this straightened. So as you mentioned here is for people that don't get up very much and I'm afraid that most straight people in our society are the ones buried deep in the middle of it with no passports. I know that that the flip side appears understanding that we gain an understanding to travel. And considering that complicated and important challenges facing our nation today it's more important than ever that we get out and get to know the rest of the world. And you made your book that the statistics about to terrorism. And in on this this kind of probability because you know we see something happening overseas wreck. In in a place like Paris. We we think to ourselves. That that. Scratched off but flu like that I mean we never set foot in net asset again on it and all the admin I don't really think too much about it's I guess we just have to. I think more broadly about the strength. Well we need to think a little more cerebral in less emotionally about it I mean Ream we all remember news is is these days news is entertainment masquerading as news. New test to make money and held his news didn't need to make money lists in the networks would contribute to news sour toward democracy without having to make a profit. But the days are gone now and everything's corporate and everything's got a legal obligation to profit maximize sports star quarters in the short term. He can get the news our country anymore and he got ramped up insects adapt and bloody adapt and crises it happened say get more liable if you can charge more for your ads and you know entertainment kind of fire and batted shouldn't make as a frightened nation and I just just I just love that that side of getting out there and getting out done Leno beat you know what opting you're dose intensity I just something that was Smart people who do things differently than me. In what may come home and neither do that there wave but at least send noted that reasonable people can differ on this kind of stepped in. And for me I've been you know I Britain fifty guide books all over Europe we take 20000 people out of the thousand tourists have to buy company in Europe and went over there. You realize it's safe there is I mean it's it's just a shame that that people make a small terrorist bomb a big terrorist bomb by over reacting to it you really can't have. Keep it in perspective. You know bad things happen a thousand people are killed in Nashville every year I understand but we devoted national. And it's sending a terrible happened in Europe it's a priest society that is 400 million people are. You know he would he would he would take the risky to have a big time and you realize. You know it would because we have a safe trip I'm more credit that we have a say stay at home because that's where I'm going is statistically and then those statistics are optional these days before and Gordon. It's safer than we are staying and I've had enough dear every year performance and I'd I'd just love it over there. Let's talk about the impression that people and in some foreign lands have both. Of Americans these days so what's what's true what's false I mean how are people perceiving us. We if these European devoted. For our president we always have a democratic president having Europe's Europeans are just more liberal and more concurred with the concerned with how the government can. Can contribute to the fabric of their democracies and so on and a lot of Americans to believe believe in and best summed. Small government and and and that sort of ideal and you know SS simple and original right or wrong but. The Europeans sound kind of roll their eyes set to get to our president right now. But I'll play if there's no doubt in fact traveling now because of what's going on in our country politically the ideals of America you know pluralism. Democracy. Hard work casino capitalism these these Africa. Kind of like ideals of what America's all about. Bears they're shining examples of that on there on the hill first for any any western looking democratic society certainly in Europe. And it's just been pressing over there and I think the great thing about catalyst but talk about that in my book couple as a political act. When we travel we humanize the world we gave an empathy for people help of our border far away. It makes it tougher prep them for their government to demonize us with their propaganda what they know who we are. It's also when we go home and makes it tougher for our government to demonize or dehumanize them with our propaganda. And that it's just you know what but really distinguishes a good trip is how many people you meet. If I'm working at a TV script or leading a tour Redding guidebook. Then the marker of how what kind of a job by doing I think is how can I connect my travelers with real people in another country. Because that's really what what distinguishes him and Richard it's carbonate the whole experience. Very good now about if what if we do planet travel in the upcoming months. Where our money goes really really party scene because a lot of the people who live here are Recker a little bit on the tight side so could you talk and her baby some places we can get a really great bang for your buck. Right about now. Well you know I don't I don't spend a lot of time thinking where's my dollar gonna go the farthest I spend a lot of time thinking about where my travel dreams taking me and helped and I travel smartly in that place. If you've always wanted to visit relatives in Norway intimidate so tell you that Portugal it's a lot cheaper. Well of course approach goes deeper but you wanna go to her way to see your relatives. I would say. If you're thinking about how can you stretch your dollar you pay ten dollars to go into that museum one where neither can know a little bit about what you're gonna seal and try it twice as much. You know I've spent my lifetime teaching people how to stretch their dollars overseas in. You can find alternatives are hotels and restaurants and eat and sleep perfectly well. In the most expensive countries anywhere and you can travel cheaper in those countries that included a quote cheap country. Having said that you know there's. To the south and to the east things are cheaper if you go to Greece or you go to Portugal are you go to Spain it's gonna be cheaper then. Britain or Scandinavia. But you know it's so many things now that enable us to travel really efficiently there is discount airlines sat in the old days nobody would like point 2.2 near. And now you know a play it's cheaper than ever and a bus or train ride if you know how to get a good plate. Caribbean B makes sense sleeping in bed and breakfast sept really competitive compared to hotels. And I just in this efficiencies that we don't need to change money when we cross borders these days because nearly everybody has the same Ural queens dangling in the pocket. So the cost efficiencies. I like to travel I like to play opened job as I think it's been ten years since secular and out of the same city. You know play into incident adamant attitude of any threat to spend time in the ready to return your starting point. There's you know you have to decide are you gonna take a trainer he gonna drive. The important issues if there's a group Libya it's much cheaper by car enter one or two it's probably cheaper by train. If you're going from big city the big ticket big city of cars are worth less headache and he'll want a car you wanna take the train your tooling around the countryside. That's where you want a car because public transportation would be more frustrating. If you are one of these people that depend caveat moment preaching packing light. Detected a packed like well you should rent a car. Munich ignorant to trader. But because impact. Right to Ben dead the train makes a lot of sense so there's all these variables. And those things that I've got to talk about it in my guidebooks and then those are the lessons you learn from your experience and and what I have to do is spend to extend 120 days here in Europe I've done that for thirty years and then just taking notes they can mistakes. Hitting admit I think defending all these bringing them home so people can have a better batting average in their travel. And you go to some places wrecked that some people may say I think I should go there but to have a or some countries that you have been to the people think are inherently very very dangerous and you found them to be at quite the pleasure. Well this is a personal what does that would never an advocate going to a dangerous place. I've wanted to go with my hips started a TV show for Egypt have wanted to go their purse several years now but. I think it's comfortable for American travelers need to threaten our assessment is that like to be so I'm gonna wait on that. But I've been in Iran and I've been in Palestine that I've been in Turkey and Morocco and Russia. And these are correct in Cuba and these are exciting destinations. And they're totally open for travel. And a lot of textbooks to the generate these guidebooks to these countries but I Islamic about it. And those got books sell quite well an American think he can't go around they can't go to Cuba. Well Americans have that problem that everybody else goes there and and loves to Cuba as the number one Caribbean destination for Germans Canadians. What you get there. And you realize oh my goodness here's alternative viewpoint and I just love to get both narratives. How we did a TV show and the holy land and I'm adamant about anybody who goes to the hole and that should spend time in Israel and then in Palestine in the West Bank. And you get to hear you know perspective from both sides of that law. Is it dangerous well is it pour and hardscrabble and let's have broken things and a little bit KS mistreat and Palestine yes it's like going from. San Diego to Tijuana it's you know people make ten times as much money. On one side of the wall between American Mexico and they make ten times as much money at once credible between Israel and Palestine. He's gonna find nicer road and in people that spend more money. I'm. You know soap. On one side of the law but you've got beautiful hardworking people on the other federal that you can be to also. You also take on something that I guess most to it travel aficionados a donor and that's drug policy which I think it's very interesting. And I waited taco a little bit of about that as well. Oh yeah I am I'm an advocate of stopped taking the crime out of the drug policy equation I was one of the sponsors quote men spokespeople and and a you know. On the team in Washington State and six years ago we legalized and taxed and regulated marijuana. Washington State Colorado where the first states to do that every two years ago in the rodents spend a lot of money in spent a lot of my time in different states trying to help those states understand. The tragedy of our war on marijuana and and the wisdom of legalizing taxing and regulating it. Certainly that pro marijuana I'm just. Postmarked drug policy and and pro civil liberties and given the pragmatic harm reduction rather than moralizing and incarceration. I let my perspective is shaped by my time in Europe where it joins about a success significant beer. And my friends in Europe have explain to me there's not there's just. No correlation between outstripped the laws are and how much consumption you have I mean is that. A red support decent people that would look to ruin their lights smoke in part upon it was legal. You know as my attention they need in Washington State's six years ago we regulate we have we legalize marijuana. And at what we did at the Merrill them industry and our state it was a huge it was traveling capitals and that's a big deal at Washington State. And our country was when we legalized we would not see an increasing use of marijuana we would just turn it into highly regulated and Heidi text industry. Taking all that money that was empowering games and organized crime away from that black market. And turning it into a good market and that's exactly what we've stacked four years later that that track record is thin. Washington has legalized marijuana that we have taken. The black market down. We have seemed statistically they use is not come up among adults use is not come up among teams. Do you guys have not gone up crime is not gone up what has got to this tax revenue we've taken that black market industry and turned into a legal one and this year my governor arrested and Lester my government rested. 101000 fewer people. And we got 300 million dollars in tax revenue in Washington State alone. But because more people are smoking pot but because that money is no longer going into the black markets so. This is seven this is just as Smart. Policy thing that we're doing and and I'll be going that it several states and East Coast in the next week. Advocating an in state houses to take the crime out of the equation. And it's Smart about marijuana policy but that's something you learned in your travels because I go to Europe. And the countries that the biggest hope you had problem in the last decades have been Portugal and the Netherlands. And Dave's heckled their OP right. Problem in part by essentially legalizing marijuana and giving credibility for their law enforcement and focusing on hard drug abuse. In those languages the word pork addicted is insane. People who are addicted to hard drugs are not criminals they're sick people. They don't need and cuts in cops and to a decent lawyers they need compassion. They need counseling may need nurses and that set a Smart European approach to this persistent problem but I think we can learn from. And I am proud to be a spokesperson in that regard. To Pennsylvania and I'm I'm going to America and then New Jersey and Washington DC and for in depth. Vermont. This trip I don't I went in Massachusetts and Maine it the last election. We've run out of but basically all the initiative states have legalized marijuana now. It's sad you know debt and high issues like that where politicians don't wanna risk their reputation you don't want to be quote stop on drugs. I eat it that's with the initiative process is for so California Washington Massachusetts Maine and so under all initiative states. Now we're in the states where you have to go through the legislative branch so and now it's let's say today the issue because people are realizing that. That's a racist. Not productive. Dishonest lot this prohibition against marijuana and one by one states are recognizing that and and my commitment and in this regard just as a caring citizen. Is to every two years go on the road and help two organizations that are. Working to end the prohibition against marijuana and I don't here and at Pennsylvania I don't think Pennsylvania is considered one of the states that are ready to go yet. Let's get close that we got because it looked at the clock we had to keep you and your schedule and that's important that record in my pocket here and how we conduct guests at the Inkster Stacy appreciate it.