We’d like you to meet Dawn, a team member of Niteo Tours in Italy. There are a few things that make Dawn the excellent guide she is. First, she has twenty years of experience in the tour guide industry. She’s done everything from work the galley of a twin-masted cruise schooner to develop a walking tour company.
Dawn loves to explore—places and languages, for instance. “Learning a new language is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle,” says Dawn. “You put together a few pieces at a time and slowly a bigger picture emerges.” And of course, she loves discovering different cultures and foods. Croxetti liguri, a type of coin-shaped pasta, and olive taggiasche are two foods she fell in love with while exploring the coast of Liguria.
It’s this passion to explore that drives Dawn to know the in’s and out’s of the region of Italy where she lives.
We recently caught up with Dawn, our guide in Italy, and asked her a few questions.
You’ve said that you can learn a lot about a country by the traditions and cultures surrounding their food. What do you mean by that?
Take for instance a saying the Italians have, A tavola, non s’invecchia mai. That is, “At the table, one does not grow old.” For an Italian, shared time around a meal means recognizing that while life is happening all around, at the table time does not pass. To eat and share time together is to enjoy and enrich one’s life. As such it’s a priority and an invitation to come, sit down, and enjoy a meal together.
What do you most love about Italy and the Italian people?
Italians are approachable and engaging. They’re very relational and you can immediately start connecting with them. They are also incredibly gifted. You only have to look at their art and their history amongst other things to realize the richness of their heritage. As a guide in Italy, I do my best to connect guests with those who are passionate about their Italian heritage and value their traditions.
When people take a Niteo Tour, how does that benefit you?
First of all, I get to do one of the things I love—help people discover Italian culture, history, and cuisine. I love seeing people’s eyes light up when they hear an interesting story or make a connection between cultures.
Also, funds I earn as a guide facilitate my husband and I being able to stay in Italy. We can continue our work both connecting with locals and encouraging others in their ministry by contributing financially to them and serving them in practical ways.
A Career Change
After twenty years in corporate America and then in the tour industry, Dawn felt a change coming. “At the time I was leading high-end travel groups. What I wanted to do, though, was use my skills for God’s kingdom.”
Dawn and her husband, Luke, had traveled over thirty times to Italy and noticed the spiritual need there. “People don’t think of Italy as a place that has spiritual need, in part because that’s where the Church first took root. Yet less than one percent of Italians know the gospel.” They also noticed many of the Christians in Italy were discouraged and overworked. Dawn and Luke wanted to come alongside them, encouraging them in practical ways and in their relationship with God.
So in 2007 Dawn and Luke embraced a new adventure and moved to a small town in Umbria, Italy where they work under Adventive Cross Cultural Initiatives