Seattle native Andrew isn't afraid to let fate take the reins. After graduating from college with degrees in Spanish and sociology (with plenty of European travel added in for good measure), Andrew worked as a mailman with the US Postal Service while studying for the police officer's exam. But when he got an offer to work with Rick Steves' Europe, he felt the pull of adventure and enthusiastically came aboard. He now shares that intrepid ethos with travelers on our My Way® European vacations, helping them make their own exciting discoveries in Spain and the Alps.
Tell us a bit about your background.
Born and raised in Seattle, I grew up in the Queen Anne neighborhood surrounded by love. I learned hard work and humility from my dad, Rex. I learned creativity and integrity from my mom, Anita. My brother, Max, taught me compassion over competition. And certainly not to be left out, our chocolate Labrador retrievers taught us all how to live in the moment and that, no matter where we are or what we're doing, there's always time to enjoy a good meal.
In college, I specialized in Spanish and sociology, with a focus on criminal justice. I traveled extensively in Europe both during and after college and found myself going back every chance I got.
What sparked your interest in travel and led to you eventually joining Rick Steves' Europe as a My Way manager?
It's the adventure. It's exciting to travel to places we've never been, doing things we've never done… yet. That anticipation of what's around the corner is exhilarating.
When Rick Steves' Europe contacted me, I was working as a mailman for the US Postal Service. In between my shifts sorting and delivering mail, I studied for the police officer's exam. But I never took that test because life had other plans.
A couple months before the police exam, Rick Steves' Europe called me into the Travel Center for an interview. When I was offered an opportunity to work "in the field," I did the only thing I could think of. I threw my hands up in the air and said "Yes."
You've been here pretty much since the beginning of the My Way program. How has it evolved since you first started, and what about it appeals to you?
The evolution of the My Way program is successful because there are so many talented people working hard to make it better every year. Yes, your My Way Manager might be the only staff member you see on tour, but we are able to deliver because we are part of a bigger team made up of wonderful people who breathe life into our programs. The work behind the scenes that often goes unseen is inspiring.
The My Way program offers something different from our fully guided tours (that many tour members want): a quality experience with the security of Rick Steves' Europe group travel, but with greater independence and freedom. We handle the transportation and accommodation logistics, so you can focus on other important things (like having fun).
"Wow" moments mean something different for every traveler, but when I think of a "wow" moment, it's when we experience something extraordinary that rocks our world and makes us feel something that perhaps we've never felt before. It's a heightened experience that brings joy, connection, or an elevated state of consciousness…
Like the moment you step inside Sagrada Família for the first time and see the world through Gaudí's eyes; or descending into the heart of the Lauterbrunnen Valley to discover a mystical world of endless waterfalls cascading over Middle Earth's limestone cliffs; or ascending to new levels of gastronomical heaven when you fall hopelessly in love with foie gras and Vin de Savoie atop Chamonix's Mont Blanc.
What do you love about Rick Steves' Europe?
Rick Steves' Europe is mission-driven. In a world full of travel companies tempted by growth over quality or numbers over impact, Rick remains committed to never sacrificing his guiding principles for profit.
What do you do when you're not managing My Way vacations?
When I'm not leading tours, I'm planning my next adventure.
Can you share with us something that no one would ever guess about you?
The life of a My Way manager is a life perpetually in motion, but the best decision I ever made happened when my life slowed to a literal standstill. It wasn't a particularly profound decision, but it remains my proudest moment because of what followed and what is yet to come.
Sometimes it feels like life slows us down only for us to realize later on that we were right where we were meant to be all along. This was never clearer than when I met Noel. Of course, at the time I didn't even know her name. I just knew we were both waiting for the bus at a bus stop. What was the best decision I ever made, you ask? I complimented her shoes. And the rest is history. We've been together ever since.
Here's what Andrew won't tell you…but his My Way travelers will:
"Andrew was a delightful fellow to have been with the entire time. He was very professional but still easy to talk with and get to know. Andrew gave great advice on what to see based on our interests and what the physical challenges might be. He also helped a lot with choosing the right transportation to get you where you wanted to go, and his effort with little personal touches (like treats on the bus) meant so much!"
— Randall in Gonzales, LA