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Their adventure includes Anna and Bill are the most amenable of travel companions, and by the final chapter you feel that you know them as friends through shared experiences on the long road. Their adventure includes:- being chased by wild elephants in India meeting the King of the Vedda tribe in Sri Lanka seeing the pink river dolphins of the Amazon surviving the ordeal of a trek through the monsoon rainforests of Laosin search of the Akha tribe with very poor bathroom facilities.

Ver todas las apps de lectura gratuitas de Kindle. Wild Animals and Wedding Outfits by Anna Bromley I have always loved travel books in which the author participates personally. Paul Theroux comes to mind as an author who brings himself into his travel narrative. His travel narratives become kind of an adventure shared with the reader. Each chapter is like a long letter to a reader from a good friend sharing the WHOLE experience: the beauty, the ugly, the embarrassments; the friendships made; the side tours they took I think they took them all!!

The book ends with an invitation to their wedding and the kind of description of the wedding that a happy bride would write to a friend!! We started mapping itineraries, squirreling away money, asking relatives for donations. In probably the worst phone call of my life, my rancher grandfather expressed shock and dismay that I would ask him to support this meaningless overseas lark. Eventually, over many months, we scraped together just enough to buy plane tickets and order minimalist Steves-approved supplies, including a travel towel so thin and nonabsorbent that it seemed to just push the moisture around your skin until you forgot you were wet.

We packed exactly as Steves taught us: T-shirts rolled into space-saving noodles, just enough clothes to get us from one hotel laundry session to the next. Then, for the first time in our lives, we left North America. When I opened it recently, the reality of that long-ago trip hissed out with fresh urgency.

My year-old self recorded everything. On our first day in Europe, we bought imported Austrian apples with fat, heavy English coins and saw a woman stumble on a staircase, breaking an entire bag of newly bought china. We arrived at our first hostel, the Y. As we tried to make out the names of the dead, songbirds sang strenuously in the trees all around us. This juxtaposition — old death, new life — blew my jet-lagged American mind. Reality fills its gaps. That, more or less, was the theme of the trip. For six weeks, we followed the Steves game plan. We shared squalid bunks with other young travelers from Denmark, Australia, Canada and Japan.

In the stately public parks of Paris, we ate rotisserie chickens with our bare hands. One stifling afternoon at the Colosseum in Rome, we watched a worker slam his ladder against the edge of an arch and break off some ancient bricks. He looked over at us, looked down at the bricks, kicked dirt over them and kept working.

Once, I left my underwear on a Mediterranean beach overnight and, since I could not afford to lose a pair, had to go back and pick it up the next day, in full view of all the sunbathers. Wherever we went, Rick Steves was with us. We seemed to have entered the world of his slides: the fruit markets and overnight trains, the sunny French river under the ancient Roman aqueduct. Sometimes our European hosts, with the quiet pride of someone who once met Elvis, told us stories about Steves. He was a gentleman, they said, a truly good man, and he always came in person to check out their hotels, and he never failed to ask them how their children were doing.

By the end of our trip, we were completely broke. We flew home looking ragged, shaggy, weather-beaten and exhausted. But of course Steves was right: Our lives were never the same. We were still young Americans, but we felt liberated and empowered, like true citizens of the world. The most important things we learned all had to do with home. As the English writer G. I began to realize how silly and narrow our notion of exceptionalism is — this impulse to consider ourselves somehow immune to the forces that shape the rest of the world.

The environment I grew up in, with its malls and freeways, its fantasies of heroic individualism, began to seem unnatural. I started to sense how much reality exists elsewhere in the world — not just in a theoretical sense, in books and movies, but with the full urgent weight of the real. And not just in Europe but on every other continent, all the time, forever.

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I began to realize how much I still had to learn before I could pretend to understand anything. Some people get there themselves, or their communities help them. But I needed him, and I am eternally glad I was dragged that day to see him talk. Steves answered his front door slightly distracted. I had come in the middle of his breakfast preparations. He was stirring a block of frozen orange juice into a pitcher of water. This was April , exactly 20 years after my first trip to Europe.

I had come to see Steves in the most exotic place possible: his home. He lives just north of Seattle, in a town so rainy it has a free umbrella-share program. There is nothing particularly exotic about the house itself. It has beige carpeting, professionally trimmed shrubs and a back deck with a hot tub. What was exotic was simply that Steves was there. He had just returned from his frenetic speaking tour of the United States and would be leaving almost immediately on his annual trip to Europe. For now, he was making breakfast: frozen blueberries, Kashi cereal, O.

But of course, he could not. Steves is gone too much, yo-yoing between the misty forests of the Pacific Northwest and the sun-baked cathedrals of Europe. Every year, no matter what else is going on, Steves spends at least four months practicing the kind of travel he has preached for odd years: hauling his backpack up narrow staircases in cheap hotels, washing his clothes in sinks, improvising picnics.

He is now 63, and he could afford to retire many times over. Among his colleagues, Steves is a notorious workaholic. On long car rides, he sits in the back seat and types op-eds on his laptop. His relentless hands-on control of every aspect of his business is what has distinguished the Rick Steves brand.

It is also, obviously, exhausting — if not for Steves, then at least for the people around him. He has two children, now grown, and for much of their childhoods, Steves was gone. He was building his company, changing the world. For very long stretches, his wife was forced to be a single mother. She and Steves divorced in after 25 years of marriage. Every summer, when the family joined Steves in Europe, his pace hardly slackened: They would cover major cities in 48 hours, blitzing through huge museums back to back.

The kids complained so much, on one trip, that Steves finally snapped — if they were so miserable, he said, they could just go sit in the hotel room all day and play video games. They remember this day as heaven.

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One year, while Steves was away, the children converted to Catholicism. His son, Andy Steves, eventually went into the family business: He now works as a tour guide and even published a European guidebook. Steves is fully aware that his obsessive work ethic is unusual. He admits that he has regrets. But he cannot make himself stop. He has the fervor of the true evangelist: The more people he meets, the more cities he visits, the more lives he might change.

At one point, as we talked, he pulled out the itinerary for his coming trip — from Sicily to Iceland, with no down time whatsoever. Just looking at it made him giddy. What would I do if I stayed home? Not much. Nothing I would remember. In his house, Steves offered up a little show and tell. He pointed out an antique silver cigarette lighter shaped like the Space Needle. He sat down at his baby grand piano and lost himself, for a few happy minutes, playing Scarlatti. He took me to a room filled with books and reached up to a very high shelf.

When Steves was 13, he decided, for no apparent reason, to conduct a deep statistical analysis of the Billboard pop charts. The lines were multicolored and interwoven — it looked like the subway map of some fantastical foreign city. You could see, at a glance, the rising and falling fortunes of the Beatles red and Creedence Clearwater Revival black and Elvis Presley dots and dashes. Steves kept this up for three years, taping together many pieces of graph paper, and in the end he summarized the data in an authoritative-looking table that he typed on the family typewriter.

This is what was in that binder: a systematic breakdown of the most successful bands from to , as determined by the objective statistics of an analytical adolescent weirdo. Steves laughed. It was ridiculous. But it was also a perfect window into his mind. Even at 13, a powerful energy was coiled inside him — an unusual combination of obsession and precision, just waiting for some worthwhile project to burst out in.

And that, coincidentally, was exactly when he found it: the project of his life. In the summer of , when Steves was 14, his parents took him to Europe. They owned a business tuning and importing pianos, and they wanted to see factories firsthand. Steves approached this first trip abroad with the same meticulous energy he brought to his Billboard graphs. As he traveled around the continent, he recorded the essential data of his journey on the backs of postcards: locations, activities, weather, expenses.

One day, Steves spent 40 cents on fishing gear. Another, he met a year-old man who had witnessed the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. To keep everything in order, Steves numbered the postcards sequentially. He still has them all packed lovingly into an old wooden box. On that same formative trip, the Steves family visited relatives in Norway. They happened to be there in July , when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon.

Europe was a crash course in cultural relativity. In a park in Oslo, he had an epiphany: The foreign humans around him, he realized, were leading existences every bit as rich and full as his own. That first trip set the course for everything that followed. When Steves was 18, he went back to Europe without his parents. Soon, life in America became a series of interludes between travel.

He taught piano to earn money, then stretched that money as far as he possibly could, sleeping on church pews and park benches, in empty barns and construction zones, from Western Europe to Afghanistan.

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He turned his cheapness into a science. Instead of paying for a hotel room in a city, Steves would use his Railpass and sleep on a train for the night — four hours out, four hours back.


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He would stuff himself on free breakfast bread, then try to eat as little as possible for the rest of the day. Naturally, he recorded all this, and today he has an impressive archive of old travel journals. Their pages preserve, in tiny handwriting, shadowy young dissidents in Moscow, diarrhea in Bulgaria, revolution in Nicaragua. In his 20s, Steves brought his wide-roaming wisdom back to the United States. He started to supplement his piano teaching with travel seminars. His signature class, European Travel Cheap, ran for six hours. Steves could have talked longer than that, but it struck him as impractical for his students.

In Europe, he rented a nine-seat minibus and started to lead small tours. Eventually, his seminars and tour notes morphed into his books. It had no ISBN and looked so amateurish that bookstores assumed it was an early review copy. This was the birth of the Rick Steves empire.

Rick Steves both is and is not his TV persona. Offscreen, he allows himself to be much more explicitly political. He has the passion of the autodidact. Growing up, Steves led a relatively sheltered existence: He was a white, comfortable, middle-class baby boomer in a white, comfortable, middle-class pocket of America. Travel did for him what he promises it will do for everyone else: It put him in contact with other realities. He saw desperate poverty in Iran and became obsessed with economic injustice.

He studied the war industry and colonial exploitation. In the early days, Steves injected political lessons into his European tours. Sometimes he would arrive in a city with no hotel reservations, just to make his privileged customers feel the anxiety of homelessness. In Munich, he would set up camp in an infamous hippie circus tent, among all the countercultural wanderers of Europe. Today, Steves is more strategic. His most powerful tool, he realizes, is his broad appeal. He has an uncanny knack for making serious criticism feel gentle and friendly. But other nations have some pretty good ideas too.

Steves learned this strategy, he said, from his early days running tours, living with the same people for weeks at a time. Survival required being pleasant. Instead, he pointed out different perspectives with a smile. He became fluent in the needs of American tourists. I want to preach to organizations that need to hear this, so I need to compromise a little bit so the gatekeepers let it through to their world.

This balancing act has become increasingly difficult over the past two decades, in a world of terrorism, war, nationalism and metastasizing partisanship. After the Sept. They canceled tours and cut back budgets. Steves, however, remained defiantly optimistic.

He promised his staff that there would be no cuts, no layoffs and no shift in message. He insisted that a world in crisis needed travel more, not less. Soon the shock of Sept. In his hometown, Steves caused a controversy when he walked around removing rows of American flags that had been set up in support of the war.

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It was, he argued, an act of patriotism: The flag is meant to represent all Americans, not just war supporters. Lately, Steves concedes, his political message has begun to take over his teaching. Some moments in the book verge on un-American. Occasionally, despite his best efforts, Steves still ruffles feathers. After one recent speech in the Deep South, event organizers refused to pay Steves — their conservative sponsors, he learned, considered his message a form of liberal propaganda.

In recent years, Steves has become a happy warrior for an unlikely cause: the legalization of marijuana. He first tried the drug in Afghanistan, in the s, in the name of cultural immersion, and he was fascinated by its effect on his mind. In his headquarters you will find a poster of the Mona Lisa holding a gargantuan spliff.

On a shelf in his living room, right there among all the European knickknacks, Steves displays a sizable bong. Sometimes, fans urge Steves to run for office. To stay in a family-owned hotel in Bulgaria is to strengthen global democracy; to pack light is to break the iron logic of consumerism; to ride a train across Europe is to challenge the fossil-fuel industry. Travel, to Steves, is not some frivolous luxury — it is an engine for improving humankind, for connecting people and removing their prejudices, for knocking distant cultures together to make unlikely sparks of joy and insight.

When people tell Steves to stay out of politics, to stick to travel, he can only laugh. When I want to do something, I can do it. Steves is deeply indifferent to creature comforts. When I visited him, the back seat of his car was covered with a greenish slime, practically disintegrating, because of a mysterious leak. He just cracked the windows to try to dry it out. Steves prefers to spend his money on his favorite causes. His activism can be quirky and impulsive. This, pointedly, was how much money he would get back from President George W. Last year, during a chat with one of the national leaders of the Lutheran Church, Steves wondered how much it would cost to send every single Lutheran congregation in the United States a DVD of his recent TV special about Martin Luther.

In the s, working in partnership with the Y. The plan was to take that money out of the banking system and let it do a few decades of social good, at which point Steves could sell the buildings to fund his retirement. Eventually he worked his way up to buying a whole unit apartment complex — and then he donated it outright to the Y.

The mothers, he said, needed it more than he would. Steves is obsessed with the problem of poverty and amazed at our perpetual misunderstanding of it. This needs to be talked about. I can do it, and I can get away with it. I could retire now. Once the travel market finally recovered, some years after Sept.

By taking a principled stand, Steves flourished. Today, his chipper voice is reaching more Americans than ever. One night, in his living room, Steves pulled out a plain black notebook. This, however, was something else entirely — a record of a very different kind of journey.

For the next 20 minutes, Steves would read me koans about the glories of being stoned. He would get baked, open up to somewhere in the middle and jot down whatever he happened to be thinking — deep or shallow, silly or angry. There is no chronology; on every page, axioms from many different decades commingle. The entries covered an impressively wide territory.

I found myself wondering, for the thousandth time: Who does this? What kind of mind not only thinks of such a project but actually follows through with it, decade after decade after decade? As Steves read, he interrupted himself again and again with great shouting honks of laughter, and I cackled right along with him. Then, suddenly, with almost no transition, we would find ourselves deep in earnest conversation about the nature of true happiness or the dangers of ambition.

And then we would suddenly be cackling again. And of course there were many, many more descriptions of getting high itself. At some point, he looked up from the journal. Because this is me. He shook his head. An earlier version of this article misstated the size of a bus Steves used in his early tours through Europe. It was a nine-seat minibus, not a nine-foot minibus. When my wife and I were married, my mother-in-law told us she had a special gift for us.

In Sweden, on an island, in the forest. As with all magical places, getting to the island in Sweden requires some effort particularly as my wife, son and I live in Los Angeles. After the plane, the train and a car ride to the countryside, a boat ferries us across the lake from the mainland. There are only a handful of cottages — with no electricity or running water — on the island.

Distances walking in the forest are hard to determine. You spend so much time walking over, under and around branches, brush and fallen trees that a simple hike can quickly become a disorienting journey. There are no straight lines in a forest. In Sweden, mushrooms are like gold. Specifically chanterelle mushrooms. Aside from their high cost and their subtle earthy flavor cooked in butter and served on toast , their value is enhanced by how late in the season they grow.

So Swedes are extremely protective of their chanterelle patches. The day my mother-in-law took us for our first walk, everything seemed slow and quiet besides the buzz of the mosquitoes. I listened to her tell stories of playing here as a child; exploring it made me feel young, and nostalgic for a past I had never lived. I marched behind my wife and was careful when stepping over fallen trees or catching branches she bent back to allow me to pass. Some mushrooms you can eat, and some can make you very sick. Animals know this, and people who spend lots of time in the forest know this.

My mother-in-law knows. She took us to a clearing among some trees, looked around a bit, then stopped and bent down.


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  7. She said she had given each of her children a patch in the forest where she found that mushrooms consistently grew each year. The whale sighting happened right away, minutes into Day 1. Jon, Dave and I had just been dropped off on a remote Alaskan shoreline, an hour and a half by boat from the closest speck of a town. Jon was working as a sea-kayaking guide that summer in Glacier Bay National Park, and he had invited us up for a seven-day excursion during his week off. As the boat that delivered us vanished, the drone of its engine dampening into a murmur and then finally trailing off, it became unthinkably quiet on the beach, and the largeness and strangeness of our surroundings were suddenly apparent.

    It was a familiar phenomenon for Jon from the start of all his trips: a moment that people instinctually paused to soak in. We were on earth — finally, really on earth. We were only starting to move around again, packing our gear into the kayaks, when we heard the first huff of a blowhole, not far offshore.

    Jon was ecstatic. It seemed to him as if the animal were putting on a show, swimming playfully in the kelp, diving, resurfacing, then plowing its open mouth across the surface to feed. He took it as a good omen. Though I had no idea at the time, he was anxious that Dave and I might feel intimidated about making the trip; such a big payoff, so quickly, would get us excited and defuse any apprehensions. For Dave, the whale-sighting had exactly the opposite effect. Once, when he was a kid, his dad took him scuba diving with dolphins. They were friendly, awe-inspiring creatures, purportedly, but they terrified Dave instead.

    He could still conjure the feeling of hanging defenselessly in that water while the animals deftly swirled around him, less like solid objects than flashes of reflected light, while he could move only in comparative slow-motion. Ever since, he had harbored a fear of large sea creatures — a niche phobia, particularly for a young man who lived in the Bronx, but a genuine one still. And so, even as Dave understood that a chance to see whales up close like this was a major draw of a kayaking trip in Alaska, and though he feigned being thrilled, some second thoughts were kicking in: We were going out there, he realized.

    The whale left me exhilarated and gleeful, like Jon; but deeper down, I also remember feeling shaken, like Dave. Nothing about the animal registered to me as playful or welcoming. It just appeared in the distance, then transited quickly past us, from left to right. Watching it made me feel profoundly out of place and register how large that wilderness was, relative to me. At the time, I was working at a literary magazine in New York City called The Hudson Review, picking poems out of the slush pile and mailing them to an outside panel of editorial advisers.

    I was trying hard in my letters to impress one of them: Hayden Carruth, a gruff and irreverent year-old poet who lived far upstate. Never then or now have I been able to look at a cloudless sky at night and see beauty there. A kind of grandeur, yes — but not beauty. The profusion and variety of celestial lights have always frightened me. Why are they there? Why these instead of others? Why these instead of nothing? That was how I felt, watching the whale from the beach: afraid that everything was accidents.

    It was mid-August , and we were 23, 24 and We had graduated from college together two years earlier. Dave, whom I also grew up with, shot out of undergrad knowing he wanted to be a doctor and had just finished his first year of medical school. Any similar momentum I had after graduation was instantly sapped. Three weeks after that, he died.

    My grief was disorienting and total; at a moment in life when everything is supposed to feel possible, making any single decision became impossible. I gave into that sadness for the better part of a year, resettling at home in New Jersey with my widowed mother and sliding back to the summer job I worked during school, glumly breaking down beef at a butcher shop two towns over.

    I read a lot of books about Ronald Reagan, for example, even the collection of his love letters to Nancy. He would also need lots of time. He would need time to think about the connections between his growing knowledge base and the evolving theories of natural history of his time. Transfer thinking involves experience, reflection, and synthesis After some post-graduation adventures, Darwin was invited to travel as a guest naturalist aboard the HMS Beagle.

    On December 27, , Darwin began a journey sailing across the global south. The ship would follow the South American coastline, crossing the Pacific and Indian oceans, with expeditions on land all along the way. It was on this voyage that Darwin would really begin to polish his ability to transfer his learning from across the domains of natural history to generate novel ideas. Synthesis is merely one form of transfer thinking.

    Historians of science might say that Darwin was influenced during this time by the then newly published book, Principles of Geology by Charles Lyell. The book made assertions that the earth was formed much longer than 6, years ago, and emphasized that geology developed by the accretion of very slow changes over very long periods of time. Darwin now had a new capacity to transfer his learning from geological theory into insights about the new ecosystems he was exploring. This would be a competence that served him on that voyage and for the rest of his career.

    As Darwin travelled the southern hemisphere, he gained diverse experience and extensive time for reflection. The connections Darwin drew between the natural sciences were not so obvious at the time, yet he worked tirelessly to put the puzzle pieces together in a coherent fashion. Transfer thinking requires a drive to innovate. In the same manner that Darwin, as an undergraduate, would classify plant samples for the museum by extending and integrating the new specimen into his existing taxonomic framework, so Darwin the naturalist began to extend and integrate his knowledge base of geology, biology, and ecology.

    It is only from the connections between these disciplines that Darwin would see the general principles of evolution. When Charles Darwin returned from the HMS Beagle voyage in October of he was a rising celebrity among the scientific community, once again giving him a safe and secure environment to develop his ideas and relationships among family and colleagues. That was the first major transfer of learning Darwin needed before articulating a theory of evolution.

    The next step was to form an analogy between how farmers select livestock and how nature selects wildlife. As Darwin transferred his knowledge of farming to his knowledge of nature and back again, a deeper understanding of life began to become clear. This new analogy, artificial selection as like natural selection, provided Darwin with a powerful new tool for thinking.

    Again, similar to how he used to integrate new species into a taxonomic framework, Darwin could now refine his accumulating conception of evolution by integrating the works of Lyell and Malthus with his analogy of natural selection. It was an idea seeded by the cultural knowledge of the past, shaped by his drives, experiences, and hopes. All children are born with the innate capacity to transfer their learning into new situations, yet many of us reach a plateau. We stop cultivating this strength after we reach basic competence. It was the complex constellation of history, personality, and cultural opportunities that allowed Darwin to continue honing this skill to mastery.

    But are most students actually thinking like Darwin did? Is Darwin-style transfer of learning teachable? Can schools cultivate students that are skilled in observation, transdisciplinarity, creative synthesis, or even empathy and emotional intelligence?

    References 1. Darwin, C. The Autobiography of Charles Darwin. Haskell, E. Transfer of learning: Cognition, instruction, and reasoning. New York: Academic Press. Dustin works his wife, Susan Hanisch, to develop an international teacher training cooperation between the universities of Madagascar and multiple international partners through their non-profit Big Red Earth.