Our friends at Avalon Travel (the folks who publish all our books) built this tree out of my guidebooks and I had to share it with each of you with a holiday wish. Looking at the “branches” on this happy tree of travel dreams, I see our mission of connecting people through travel. There are thousands of pages of hotel listings, restaurant tips, and the best sights. There are books on festivals, phrasebooks to make communication more fun, art appreciation books, and even my Travel as a Political Act book. While each of these serves a different purpose, they all build upon each other to eventually reach that shining star on top. And that star symbolizes the greatest souvenir any of us can bring home: a celebration of our shared humanity, an invigorated passion for peace and economic justice, and a mindset where we’re more inclined to build bridges and less inclined to build walls.
The year 2016 was a great one for our work at Rick Steves’ Europe. In 2017, the value of our mission — connecting people and bringing our world closer together — will become even more important. And, as that value surges, so will the value of your travels along with the meaning and gratification that comes from our labor.
Over the last few days in our office, it’s been pretty empty. Our staff is enjoying their families and a well-earned holiday break. And that makes me very happy. When we dive back in after the holidays, we’ll be hosting 100 of our European tour guides and a couple thousand of those who joined our tours last year for our annual guide workshop and tour reunion. We are revving up to put maximum sparkle into your 2017 travels.
At Rick Steves’ Europe, we’re thankful for our work and thankful for your support. Together, we wish all of our travelers a holiday season that is both serene and joyful, and filled with humanity, love, and promise.