Someone recently asked me how I’d describe the value of a tour. One of the first things that came to mind was the delight of having a guide, an on the ground expert. Their knowledge and years of experience are invaluable. Not to brag (okay, maybe a little), but we think our guides, are the absolute best, and Dawn, who offers local expertise in Italy, is a case in point.

 

 

An Explorer

 

Dawn’s expertise is rooted in her attitude toward life–she’s an explorer at heart. She’s always in discovery mode, soaking up everything she can about culture, language and interesting tucked-away places.

 

In their first year of marriage, Dawn and her husband, Luke, set out to explore the world on their bikes. Their first order of business was notching the fins of their snorkel equipment so they could weave them into the stays on the bike rack. Then they started off on a leisurely bike ride from Seattle to San Francisco. In San Francisco they hopped a plane to French Polynesia. After that they biked the east coast of Australia and headed to Tasmania and New Zealand. Then, a quick stop in Fiji, and it was back to the USA. It’s that adventurous spirit and eagerness to learn and engage that make her good at what she does. And all she’s learned, of course, is infused into every tour.

 

 

An Impromptu Picnic

 

Being quick on her feet also makes Dawn an excellent on the ground resource. “When you put together a tour,” Dawn says, “you plan down to the smallest detail but the unexpected always comes up.” Dawn’s gift is in embracing the unexpected, not as a problem, but as an opportunity for a new adventure.

 

When she led her first group to Tuscany, over twenty years ago, she brought the group to a restaurant and discovered it had just closed. Since she was familiar with the ins and outs of the region, she was able to quickly improvise. Within minutes the group found themselves enjoying a picnic lunch and had no idea they were missing a thing.

 

 

An Italian Heartbeat

 

Perhaps what I most appreciate about Dawn though is her heart for the people of Italy. It’s one thing to learn historical, cultural facts about a country but quite another to listen and understand their story and then share that story with you. How do you put a value on something like that?

 

 

If you’ve signed up for the 2017 Il Grande Viaggio Tour, you’re in for a treat.

Dawn will be leading the tour along with host Tony Hedrick.