by Robert Bell
Rick Steves — author and host of the public television show "Rick Steves' Europe" and the public radio show "Travel with Rick Steves" — has such a calming, soft-spoken style that it will really make you want to take an innocent, wholesome trip to Europe, one with way more museum visits and castle tours and charming, out-of-the way bistros and way not as much strip clubs and excessive consumption of intoxicants and stumbling headlong into fountains as horrified families look on in disgust.
Steves implores us to travel, but to be respectful and generally avoid the sort of boorish behavior often associated with Americans abroad. As anyone who has traveled internationally can testify, it's an admonition that really can't be overstated. Plus, Steves supports a number of righteous causes, including NARAL Pro-Choice and legalization of marijuana, and he established a shelter for homeless women and their children a few years back.
He's on a tour of flyover country right now called "Road Trip USA," which brings him to Conway for a couple of days. He'll be discussing his new book, "Travel as a Political Act," and on Friday, he'll be the featured speaker at the annual Bravo! fundraiser for UCA's College of Fine Arts and Communication, which is $75 and starts at 6:30 p.m.