Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

What can a spleen sandwich reveal about Italian culture? Confessions of a professional traveler

Courtesy Cameron Hewitt
Cameron Hewitt's book cover--The Temporary European

How do Swiss taxpayers feel about subsidizing cheesemaking? Why do the Scottish Highland games include an odd sport called hill racing? And what can a spleen sandwich reveal about Italian culture?

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be paid for discovering the answers to questions like these?

Cameron Hewitt has been Rick Steves’ right-hand person for more than two decades, and has spent five years, over the course of his life, traveling in Europe.

Courtesy Cameron Hewitt
Author Cameron Hewitt in the Italian Dolomites.

Hewitt took advantage the Covid-induced slow-down in tourism to write a book, The Temporary European: Lessons and Confessions of a Professional Traveler, which Steves calls “vivid, funny, perceptive, intimate, and charged with a love of travel and a deep sense of humanity.”

Join travel writer Laurie McAndish King as Cameron explains what was it like to return to Europe while we’re learning to live with Covid.

He tells us how the local tour guides are faring and which parts of his job he enjoys most. Cameron reads from his story about professional snooping that begins, “I’ve been in your hotel room,” and reveals that Germans fold their pajamas.

Then he offers suggestions for learning from clichés and stereotypes, as well as the ways food can provide insight into culture.

Cameron also tells us about the dramatic afternoon when he learned what the phrase “Making hay while the sun shines” means, and five different correct pronunciations for the word “grüezi.”

You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas Award-winning podcast travel show, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, featured on the NPR Podcast DirectoryiHeartRadioApple Podcast

Laurie McAndish King is an award-winning travel writer and photographer who has been interviewing fascinating people since 2007. Her work focuses on nature, culture, and cuisine. King's true stories cover 20-foot-long Australian earthworms, a journey to taste the world’s best coffee in Bali, and an Ivy League astrophysicist’s explanation of how flying saucers are powered. Her three collections of travel stories—poignant, insightful and often quite funny—have inspired and entertained readers since 2014.
Related Content