Racing the Waters of St. Maarten

Cruises can be expensive, and getting nickled-and-dimed for optional port excursions after paying for the initial cost of the cruise is about as fun as putting antibacterial gel in your eyes. So, a huge advantage of sailing with Regent Seven Seas is that you get unlimited free excursions–a wonderful value…unless the excursion ends up beingContinue reading “Racing the Waters of St. Maarten”

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 voiceContinue reading “12 Hours in San Juan, Puerto Rico Part 1: Welcome to the Jungle”

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 EuropeanContinue reading “The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men”

A Real Amazing Race: Jan Steves and the Iditarod part 3

This morning I was up by 6:30.  Insomnia got the better of me, so I watched Animal House and Ghost Busters. Not my most productive morning, but at least my belly got a workout from all the laughter. Meanwhile in Willow, Alaska, Jan Steves was packing up all of her gear for a 1000 mileContinue reading “A Real Amazing Race: Jan Steves and the Iditarod part 3”

A Real Amazing Race: Jan Steves and the Iditarod part 2

The Ceremonial Start of the Iditarod took place today, and Jan Steves took off with bib #40 at 11:23 a.m. for her third year in a row in this grueling competition.  Her daughter Nicolina was there to represent our whole family and cheer her on.  I’m sure that for Jan, this time is as exciting as the first,Continue reading “A Real Amazing Race: Jan Steves and the Iditarod part 2”

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 herContinue reading “A Real Amazing Race: Jan Steves and the Iditarod part 1”

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 ofContinue reading “Scenes from a Guide Summit”

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 thisContinue reading “Life in a Volcanic Landscape”

Iditarod: The Official Start

As Rick Steves’ sister, Jan Steves (with her team of sixteen canine companions) mushes her way through the snow-blanketed Alaskan wilderness of her second Iditarod Trail Race, I’m wrapping up my three-part series on my behind-the-scenes perspective on what it was like last year at her debut  in the “Last Great Race on Earth.” TheContinue reading “Iditarod: The Official Start”