Hi from Rick: A Personal Passion for Teaching
|It's still hard for me to resist an impromptu jammin' in Germany.|
I've always taught what I've loved.
I spent my high school years as a piano teacher. I was well known among parents in my community for taking kids with tear-stained cheeks to my piano bench, starting them out with boogies and pop songs...and eventually getting them turned on to Bach and Beethoven.
Eventually, I had my own piano studio with a recital hall. In 1980, while I was teaching a piano lesson, a truck dropped off 2,500 copies of my first guidebook — Europe Through the Back Door. During that year's Christmas recital, parents sat on boxes of travel guidebooks while their kids banged out carols, boogies, and Bach.
By the following Christmas, I'd let my piano students go. People were still sitting on boxes of books, but now that recital hall was a travel lecture hall filled with eager students preparing for their European adventures.
From that point on, I would be teaching European culture off the keyboard...to otherwise smart people who assumed Toscanini was a pasta and Botticelli was an intestinal problem.
For twenty-five years I lead our tours while apprenticing hand-picked tour guides. Before long, they would apprentice another "generation." We carry on that personal-passion-for-teaching tradition to this day. And that's one big reason why, in January, I'm bringing 80 of my tour guides (flying 50 from Europe) to our headquarters here in Edmonds, WA. On the same street where I once taught piano, and still teach travel.
I am so proud of the guides we have — and so confident of our shared passion for teaching — that I want to give you a chance to size them up in-person before you travel with them. (And even if you don't take a tour with us, it's fun to pick up a few tips from these pros.)
To learn more, check out our free Test Drive a Tour Guide event — a day packed with travel classes on Saturday, January 16th. Today's travel tip: reserve seats now, so you're not left sitting on a box of guidebooks.
We are also devoting this month's Tour News to the importance of great guiding, with three fresh guide interviews, plus a chat I had with NPR's Scott Simon last weekend.
We hope to see you soon. And all of us here wish you a New Year filled with glissandos of hope, and trills of travel thrills.