12 Hours in San Juan, Puerto Rico Part 1: Welcome to the Jungle

Sunscreen: check. Bathing suit: check. Eager-beaver attitude: check. Our first port was calling our name, and I, for one, was ready to hit the beach and take in a year’s supply of Vitamin D in the form of Caribbean afternoon sunshine. As we packed our day bags with our necessary gear, a husky Italian voice…

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The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men

“Please don’t rain yet. Please don’t rain yet. Please don’t rain yet.” My mind looped this mantra, and I plastered an everything’s-alright smile, hoping my face wouldn’t betray my anxiety. Twenty-eight people were following me through the cobblestone streets of Paris, and I didn’t want their only two days with me in my favorite European…

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A Real Amazing Race: Jan Steves and the Iditarod part 1

My partner Rick got his entrepreneurial genes from his dad.  Prior to becoming an expert on European travel, he was a pre-pubescent magazine seller, a teenage rare coin trader, and a college student piano teacher.  His sister Jan Steves is entrepreneurial, too, but she’s got something more.  She has the adventure gene, courtesy of her…

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Scenes from a Guide Summit

Name 20 countries from the European Union. Imagine the “typical” citizens of those countries–their features, their demeanors, their gestures, their accents. Now picture a collection of 120 people from those countries who are passionate aficionados on the history, art, culture, politics, and people of those motherlands all descending on a small town just north of…

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Life in a Volcanic Landscape

No trip to Iceland is complete without a visit to the highlands.  With the help of an expert guide–equipped with a “Super Jeep”, Rick and I made the four-hour trek from Reykjavik to the rugged and almost other worldly landscapes near Eyjafjallajökul (pronounced EY-ya-fyad-luh-YO-kuld, a.k.a. E15–starts with “E” has 15 letters).  You’ll recall that this…

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