Have you seen the book just published by Rick Steves, Travel as a Political Act? (Nation Books, a member of the Perseus Books Group) It's really quite good, and I think it's an important read, not only for North Americans who like to travel but for anyone. While there may be some points of view that Rick Steves and I don't agree upon, we are very much alike in several important regards: we both care deeply about humanity, we feel that travel is enriching, we believe in more than scratching the surface of a place, and we encourage people to plan a trip (hopefully more than one) and make memories to last the rest of your life.
I applaud this new book for many reasons, most of all for the chapter entitled, 'Turkey and Morocco: Sampling Secular Islam,' in which he writes that Turkey is a "good classroom in which to better understand our world because it gives us a peek at an emerging economy...The predictable question travelers get from loved ones is, "Why are you going to Turkey?" With each visit to Istanbul, one of my favorite cities in the world, my response is: Why would anyone not travel here?"
My sentiments exactly. If you haven't yet been to Istanbul, I hope you will plan a trip to this extraordinary city and see why so many of us are nuts for it, and if you already know Istanbul, help me spread the word!