I’ve just arrived back in Europe this weekend and am on the summer beat. The past 10 or so summers have been spent working with Rick Steves Family Europe tours, and this summer is no exception. Starting in London, we hit Paris, French countryside, Switzerland, Cinque Terre, and finish in Florence. Is it hot? Heck yes. Is it fun? You bet!
One of the great delights of guiding family tours is working with kids. It’s not for everyone, but I find it incredibly rewarding. Teens and Tweens are my favorite demographic. They listen. They get it. And the things we do may change the trajectory of their lives. It’s important and fulfilling work, that goes beyond drinking good wine and talking about art. Some kids who traveled with me a decade ago still stay in contact, and some have become amazing world citizens based on their experience on this tour. So I do love this time of year.
We’ve already hit London, where I celebrated my birthday with high tea at my favorite spot, The Wolesely. Now we are in Paris, where local temperatures were set to hit 104 F, but thankfully stayed to a balmy 90 degrees. While I do like heat, guiding in heat is a bit trying since I have to be preoccupied with keeping my people comfortable and cool. We will soon be heading to the countryside, my favorite part of the tour.
This particular summer overall will be quite different. I’ll be here in Europe almost the entire summer. I’ll be leading two Family tours, with a few days of Me-Time in between, but the fun will really begin July 21. For the first time, BOTH of my sons will be joining me in Europe.
The three of us will be on an epic journey, driving from Venice to Palermo, then traveling through France back to London. The itinerary isn’t really set at this point. The only request from the kids is to meet and stay with my friends. So far, we have some great invitations.
My older son, Lucca, is studying French in high school and would ultimately like to study at university in France. That’s what has inspired this particular adventure, I want him to spend a couple of weeks being forced to speak only French. I can get by in French, but I’ve never formally learned it, so my skills as a tutor have been stretched even by his first year class.
I’m still in the planning stages, but I hope to use this time to double task, vacation plus writing plus tour planning. I would like to write about southern Italy beyond the typical things like the Amalfi coast. That region could really use tourism, and I’m interested to see how I can help. I’ll also be gearing up to possibly expand the Sicily book. But nothing is for sure.
What I can guarantee is that I’ll be writing to you more. It may not be in formal article fashion, but more like a stream of short updates, like a letter to friends. It will be a deviation from my normal style, and much more frequent than the past year. I hope you’ll enjoy riding along with me on this adventure.
So what I’d like from you is a bit of direction. What would you like to hear about? History? Art? Family travel? Packing? Travel anecdotes? Or maybe just little snapshots of my day? And if you have any thoughts on where we should go, I’d love to hear them. My plans with the kids are still wide open.
As always, thanks for being my virtual companions. I hope to be a better friend to you this summer, we really should talk more often, no?
Bisous from Paris.