I have to straight out say I want to hate Rick Steves. I'm not sure why, but he brings out the bully in me. I want to beat him up. He has none of the flair of other travel show hosts. Steves is certainly no Michael Palin or Anthony Bourdain. I can't picture him living in a tree hut in Borneo. Despite trying, I just can't hate him no matter how bland his delivery, functional his clothes, or unchanging his appearance. His father was a piano seller so Steves was one too. He even played the sousaphone in high school. How nerdy is that? The man is, however, rather surprising. He's turned a store front travel agency that didn't book travel into a thriving publishing empire. His famous TV shows were given to PBS for free and so they aired it thus rocketing his business into the black. He's actually not gay either. He's got a wife and two kids. The Steves are big givers to charity and have invested their retirement fund into a homeless shelter. Rick himself is a pothead. He's on the board of NORML, using his website to promote the legalization of marijuana. He even released, astonishingly, a rap song. How can I hate someone like that? I just can't. Worse, his travel shows are really useful and informative so even if they are dull, they're worth watching. Steves doesn't want people on tour buses or being ugly Americans. He wants people out seeing all the sights, famous and obscure. Most interesting to me is that his beigeness is unflappable. He doesn't lose his temper, never seems to mind plans that don't go right, and he steps from the touristy to the unexplored with the same sang froid. I admire that.