Rick Steves’ travel philosophy and television show are somewhat of a double edged sword. On one hand, he has some great quotes about travel, such as,
We can travel in a way that exacerbates the problems between us and the rest of the world, or in a way that connects us with the rest of the world. I do not want to encourage and enable Americans to travel in a way that makes the problem worse, and a lot of people do travel in a way that makes the problem worse. My travelers, I think — I’d like to think — travel in a way that connects them with the rest of the world and when they come home they are changed Americans. They are more likely to understand what the family of nations is all about.”
However, on the other, he seems to lie in some grey area when it comes to the difference of being a tourist or being a traveller.
His show is informative, interesting, well shot and paced. His guides are the same, and he’s been writing them for decades.
Steves actually started out, I like to assume, as probably an ex-yippy of sorts. He opened a piano/travel shop where he sold his self-published travel guide, Europe Through Backdoor, and taught piano lessons. His travel guide sold so well that he began giving guided tours of Europe and, eventually, producing his television show for PBS. The first episode of which he gave to them for free, cool.
This man loves to travel, and he clearly hates tourism as much as I do. However, and this is personal opinion, his shows’ content sometimes crosses the very line that he drew between travel and tourism. I am in no way insinuating that he and his television program are advocating being a tourist, but they do have an air of catering more to adventure-fearing yuppies.
Its still a great show, though. All episodes are currently on Hulu for your viewing pleasure.
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MOJO HD is like the Arrested Development of TV Channels, it might not have had a huge audience, but it made up for it with having kick ass content and, in the end, it was cancelled way too soon. An entire channel devoted to drinking, eating, cooking and travelling that wasn’t successful? Had to be an advertising problem…
Here are some of the shows they offered:
Three Sheets. This show was the first one I discovered from Mojo on Hulu. I watched all three seasons (at the time, all four are now on Hulu) in the matter of a couple weeks. Its the perfect job. Why? Because, unlike a lot of travelling chefs and other tv personalities, host Zane Lamprey auditioned for the role and won it, simply put. Zane is hilarious and genuinely likes what he’s doing and actually consumes alcohol, a lot. Its right up my alley.
After Hours With Daniel. A TV show about small parties after midnight. In some of the best restaurants New York has to offer. Hosted by awesome chef/restauranteur Daniel Boulud and guest starring new chefs every episode. How can this show not be good?
Pressure Cook. This show is a bit gimmicky, following chef and Italian-American stereotype Ralph Pagano as he travels to different parts of the world and “works” his way back home in different food jobs. It gets better after the first few episodes.
Beer Nutz. As a long time homebrewer, I’m a bit hesitant to call this show “good”. Its in no way unwatchable, its just clear that this particular show was produced and hosted by people who know almost nothing about beer and it brings the show down, way down, for people who know anything more than a little bit about beer.
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