Lisbon Travel Packs the Unexpected

What do green wigs, sardine hats, music, beer, and Saint Anthony have in common?

Not much!

That’s what I thought anyway — at least until recently, when Lisbon reminded me that travel is full of surprises.

I arrived June 12th, on a slightly delayed flight from London, super excited to be back in Portugal after a five-year hiatus. It turned out to be anything but your usual Monday night.

The first hint something special might be underfoot was a message my Airbnb host had sent the day before my arrival, which I only noticed as my plane was taxiing to the gate at Lisbon Portela Airport: Continue reading “Lisbon Travel Packs the Unexpected”

Is it Safe to Travel to Europe?

As humans, we are well aware of our mortality. Naturally, we are concerned about our safety. We crave the peace of mind, and that desire to feel safe plays a role in determining our behavior. And that includes deciding whether or not to travel.

In considering our mortality, well, the fact is — spoiler alert! — we’re all going to die! None of us are getting out of this alive!

So the real question should be: how are we going to spend our precious time? For me, the answer is clear: by doing things I love to do. Such as travel.

Terrorism, Safety, and Travel

With that in mind, let’s consider terrorism, safety, and travel for a moment.


These days, the safety issue pops up a lot. As Travel Advisors in the Rick Steves’ Europe Travel Center, we get questions on this topic regularly. 

“Is it safe to travel to Europe?” they want to know.

Continue reading “Is it Safe to Travel to Europe?”

Spiders & Driving: A Public Service Announcement

People are well aware of the dangers of texting and driving or of drinking and driving, but there’s another menace lurking in dark crevices and under closed car visors that we rarely ever discuss.

What is this creeping menace, you ask? (Okay, I know you already saw the title and featured image. Just humor me!)

[Insert dramatic pause here.]

It’s spiders and driving!

Gasp!

As a potentially hazardous threat to public safety, we could all benefit from greater public awareness on this issue. For example, what should YOU do when faced with an eight-legged stowaway aboard YOUR vehicle?

If you wait till this scenario happens before thinking it through — before coming up with a concrete game plan — it may be too late!

Keep Calm and Refrain from Freaking Out!

Not long ago I was about an hour into a three-hour drive from Seattle, Washington, to Portland, Oregon. That’s when it happened.

Dun. Dun. Duuuun.

The dreaded tickle. Continue reading “Spiders & Driving: A Public Service Announcement”

Shit We Say in the Travel Center

I mentioned in my last blog post that sometimes words escape my gob and I’m not entirely sure where they came from or how they *es-cah-payed* my mouth. Because they certainly weren’t intended!

This isn’t a new phenomenon for me. Unfortunately, I have a track record. There’s one embarrassing episode I recall quite clearly.

It was back in the day.

Way back.

Back when I worked for Peter Piper Pizza in Prescott Valley, Arizona.

The Peter-Piper-Pizza Days!
Feel free to skip this embarrassing story to scroll straight to "Shit we say in the Travel Center" below!

I must have been 19 or 20 years old. I used to make pizzas for a living. I’d grab a previously prepared disc of dough, spread on the sauce, sprinkle it with cheese, and then add the toppings: mushrooms, beef, jalapeños — or whatever was indicated on the particular order.

Then: Continue reading “Shit We Say in the Travel Center”

Turning 41: My Top-10 Highlights of the Past Year

Sometimes, shit comes out of my mouth, and I don’t know where it comes from. I’ll be thinking one thing, but something completely different will escape my gob. Usually it’s something embarrassing.

Does that ever happen to you?

A random Intro!

Maybe that’s why I like writing as a form of communication. It gives me time to think about and to craft exactly what I want to say. I’m not a fast enough thinker to be able to come off as elegantly in verbal communication!

Therefore, I really admire those who are gifted orators. For example: the genius that is Russell Brand. I appreciate his quick wit and the vast trove of vocabulary he has at the tips of his clever-little neurons.

See exhibit A: an interview improvisation where Brand brilliantly impersonates Willam Shakespeare. True genius. (He really starts to get warmed up a few minutes into it — worth watching the whole thing if you’re fascinated by verbal gymnastics and equally captivated by the bizarre.)

Perhaps I have a somewhat decent-sized vocabulary (nothing compared to Brand’s), but at times it takes me ten-plus minutes to think of the word I want to use! Which isn’t very conducive to verbal dexterity! The darn words often get stuck at the tip of my tongue, and — “ain’t nobody got time for that!”

Yesterday was a prime example of my thinking one thing and saying another. I turned to my coworker and good friend, Rosie, and excitedly said, Continue reading “Turning 41: My Top-10 Highlights of the Past Year”