Travel as a Political Act Book Summary - Travel as a Political Act Book explained in key points
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Travel as a Political Act summary

Rick Steves

Change the world one trip at a time

4.1 (46 ratings)
17 mins

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Travel as a Political Act by Rick Steves is a thought-provoking travelogue that encourages travelers to expand their horizons by seeking out new perspectives and cultures. It challenges us to challenge our own assumptions and to use travel as a means of positive political action.

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    Travel as a Political Act
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    Playing the role of a modern jester can transform your travel experiences.

    Sometimes there’s nothing quite like an all-inclusive vacation package. If it’s some serious rest and relaxation you’re after, poolside drinks and pre-arranged entertainment will probably be just the ticket. But that’s not the only way to travel. In fact, if you really want to learn something about the country you’re visiting, you’ll need to leave your hotel behind and start exploring.

    That means it’s time to rethink your role as a traveler. How? Well, you can take a cue from medieval jesters. Today, we often think of jesters as little more than fools or pranksters, but in the Middle Ages, they fulfilled an important political role. Because jesters had one foot in the royal court and one in society at large, they were uniquely placed to tell the king what ordinary people were thinking, who they were mocking and what they were angry about. Whether common folk were joking about his stutter or grumbling because he’d raised taxes on mead, the king usually got the lowdown on what his subjects were up to from his jester.

    And you can think of yourself as a kind of jester when you travel. Your role is to go out into the world and collect valuable insights which will help inform your own perspectives as well as those of people back home. Maybe you visit Iran and realize that some people accept the rulings of religious authorities because they’re scared their children will become Westernized materialists. Or maybe you travel through El Salvador and discover that not everyone dreams of owning a Porsche and a fancy villa.

    To gather those kinds of insights, you have to make a conscious choice to travel with an open mind. Remember, the point of this kind of travel is to broaden your horizons. That means your own ingrained ideas and preconceptions will be challenged. Go with the flow, and you’ll soon realize just how deeply enriching traveling can be. Whether it’s trying an unfamiliar dish, chatting with locals or doing something you usually wouldn’t, it’s all about learning to see the world as others do.

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    What is Travel as a Political Act about?

    Travel as a Political Act (2009, updated in 2018) is a passionate plea for an enlightened approach to travel; an approach that does away with preconceptions and lets us engage with other countries and cultures. Packed full of actionable advice and top tips to help you travel intelligently, these blinks are also studded with fascinating examples of the kinds of things you might learn along the way.

    Travel as a Political Act Review

    Travel as a Political Act explores the connections between travel and politics, making it a book worth reading.

    • It provides a thought-provoking examination of how travel can broaden our perspectives, challenge assumptions, and promote understanding among cultures.
    • With fascinating anecdotes and firsthand experiences, the book highlights the transformative power of travel in shaping our worldviews and fostering empathy and compassion.
    • Through its exploration of controversial topics and global issues, Travel as a Political Act inspires readers to reflect on their own beliefs and become more engaged citizens of the world.

    Best quote from Travel as a Political Act

    Traveling with no understanding of the local history is like going to a 3-D movie and deciding not to bother with the glasses.

    —Rick Steves
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    Who should read Travel as a Political Act?

    • Globetrotters and aspiring explorers
    • Sociologists
    • Students of political science

    About the Author

    Rick Steves is an American historian and travel writer. He has spent much of his life traveling overseas and writing books about his experiences. Steves is also a teacher on the topic of travel, advising people on both the logistics of travel and how to get the most out of their trips.

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    Travel as a Political Act FAQs 

    What is the main message of Travel as a Political Act?

    The main message of Travel as a Political Act is that travel can be a powerful force for personal growth and understanding different cultures.

    How long does it take to read Travel as a Political Act?

    The reading time for Travel as a Political Act varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Travel as a Political Act a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Travel as a Political Act is worth reading due to its thought-provoking exploration of the impact of travel on our lives and the world. It offers valuable insights and encourages a broader perspective.

    Who is the author of Travel as a Political Act?

    The author of Travel as a Political Act is Rick Steves.