It was years of watching Rick Steves’ Europe on PBS that gave me the courage to go to some of my most exciting travel destinations. Turkey. Hungary. Croatia. Slovenia. I doubt I’d have ever gone to those countries were it not for his suggestions. I also rely heavily on his guidebooks whenever I travel.
Suffice it to say that I’ve been a fan of Rick Steves for a long time. But in recent years, I’ve also come to know his politics, and that has made me admire him even more. So imagine my joy in finding out that now that I’ve moved to the Seattle area, he lives just down the road from me.
I have this fantasy of running into him and being able to actually tell him what an impact he’s made on my life. I’m sure he gets that a lot, but it’s true. I live to travel. I wrote about that just the other day. It has formed my worldview. It has made me more compassionate. It has educated me in so many ways. It has made me who I am. And Rick Steves has been a big part of that.
As if he weren’t already a personal hero of mine, I read today that he donated a 4 million dollar apartment complex to the YWCA so that they can house homeless women and children. It’s in Lynnwood, Washington. I’m sure I’ve passed it quite a few times, not realizing what a wonderful place it is. As someone who is struggling to find affordable housing myself, it thrills me to think that he’s paying it forward for so many people. (Read more about this, in his own words, here.)
That is the very definition of a life well lived. He’s inspired millions and directly improved the lives of hundreds. How many of us can say that? Thanks, Rick Steves! It’s a pleasure to be your neighbor!
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