Hi from Rick: Connecting with old travel partners...and new destinations
|Eastern Europe guide Etelka Parine Berecz (with shoulder bag) flew in from Budapest to reunite with her tour buddies.|
Attending the inauguration of our new president in Washington this past week was a thrill I'll never forget (for my impressions, see my blog). But as I boarded the flight to D.C., I was already riding on a natural high from our big Tour Reunion event the day before.
On January 17th, from morning till night, we celebrated the flat-out joy of travel at four back-to-back reunion potluck parties at the big hall across from our Travel Center in Edmonds, packing in more than 300 happy travelers each time. Tour alums flew in from places like Texas, Florida and Minnesota. Long-lost travel partners hugged, scrapbooks got passed around, and cameras clicked everywhere. I had the pleasure of awarding bottles of Champagne to the people at each party who'd taken the most tours with us (ranging from 8 to 13)...and several of our tour guides delighted the crowd by grabbing the mic and singing (call it European Idol)!
At the same time, my guides and I were running back and forth all day, giving fifteen "Test Drive a Tour Guide" presentations up and down the street, for hundreds of tour alums and newcomers alike. And our travel-savvy staff cheerfully answered thousands of questions.
Last but not least, we chose this event to announce three exciting new tours for this summer: The Best of Istanbul in 7 Days; The Heart of Belgium and Holland in 11 Days; and Villages & Vineyards of Eastern France in 13 Days — for details, see this month's Tour News.
It was a thrilling, jam-packed day. If you attended, thanks! Your mass-enthusiasm for travel this year was a well-timed shot in the arm for me, and I hope it did the same for you. If you couldn't make it, don't feel left out: a video crew chased us around all day, filming streaming videos of our presentations.
Thanks to this remarkable week, we are starting the year with renewed optimism and energy. It's contagious. We hope you can join us.