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Pre-Tour Preparation


Stopping for a few hours in Chicago, the sun sets over my Red-Eye 777 to London.

First of all, I heard about Rick Steves by bumping into a PBS special on entrepreneurs a little over 2 years ago.  His "back door" philosophy struck me as exactly the right attitude for visiting Europe, which I had never been to before.  I purchased his book, Europe through the Back Door, and convinced myself that this kind of travel was for me.

Rick Steves' travel philosophy is stated on his Web site here.

Now, the question was, did I want to take the trouble of planning a trip through Europe, or was there a pre-packaged tour that could essentially give me the same results?  The answer, I found on Rick Steves' Web site (because they are not advertised), was a Best of Europe tour fully-guided by Europe Through the Back Door guides.  I did that in June of 1999, and it was the best vacation I had ever taken.  Now it's 2001, and I've saved up enough vacation time to do it again.

What I Decided to Bring:

  • Compact Luggage, carry-on sized with a daypack built-in.

  • The Tour Members Handbook, read from cover-to-cover before setting foot in Europe.

  • A Digital Camera (Canon G1) and picture storage (Minds at Work Digital Wallet).  This camera can not only take pictures, but also video and sounds.  [For a multimedia experience, watch out for the following icon:]

 

If you're thinking of buying a digital camera, there's a very thorough review of my camera here and my storage device here.

  • A watch, alarm clock, compass, altimeter, and weather-predictor all in one.  For more info about my amazing watch go to Nike's Web site here.

  • A journal to document everything, because my memory is just not good enough (Actually, I purchased my journal in London, but I knew I had to have one).

  • Plastic clothes that dry fast when you wash them in a hotel sink.  These so-called technical fabrics are good enough now that they're basically all I brought.

What I Decided not to Bring:

  • Anything from work.
  • A closed mind.

Finally, a bit of my own personal philosophy, as stated by a famous person who lived his life in my home town:

"To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Click the pictures for enlargements.

For high resolution photos, go to my Online Photo Album hosted by Fototime.com.



Travel Luggage
Eagle Creek Continental Journey LC, with ETBD patches sewn-on


Tour Handbook
300 pages of do's and don'ts in Europe


Canon G1 Digital
A very nice camera - I will never go back to film


Nike Everything Watch
The ACG Ascent Compass - probably overkill but I like toys


My Journal
Broken in on the road of life

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Unless otherwise noted all text and images are copyright Robert Williams.

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Last updated 11/12/2005 .  Email me at bob@besttravelbarcelona.com.

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