My co-author and frequent collaborator, Cameron Hewitt, is well-traveled, smart, and insightful. And, while he and I are in perfect sync in our travel styles and priorities, he gives voice to the next generation of "Rick Steves travelers." Join me in enjoying his reports right here. —Rick

Hi, I’m Cameron. Let’s Get Traveling.

Thanks for joining me on this blog. I hope to make it worth your while. My goal is to share stories and photos that capture the Europe I love exploring.

A bit more about your tour guide: I was born in Denver, grew up in Central Ohio, and took a post-college-graduation backpacking trip through Europe in the summer of 1999. For years, my family had watched Rick (on WOSU channel 34) during dinnertime, and back issues of his European Travel Newsletter were stacked on the coffee table. But now I was actually going to Europe, and his words suddenly resonated with me. I bought a rucksack and a rail pass mail-order from his Travel Center, and packed along some of his guidebooks. And, while some of the other books I took along repeatedly steered me very wrong, Rick’s words became my bible. It was a great trip.

When I got home, I sat down to write a nasty letter to one of those other guidebook companies. But I felt like a jerk, so pretty soon I switched gears. Instead, I wrote Rick Steves to thank him for his great books, and to share what I’d learned. Because I was a recent college grad in need of work, I also threw in my resume…you know, just in case.

Imagine my shock a few weeks later when I picked up the phone and heard, “Hello, Cameron? This is Rick Steves. I liked your letter.” Long story short, before long I had moved cross-country and started work at the Rick Steves headquarters in Edmonds, Washington.

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In one of my favorite places, Slovenia

In the 15 years since, I’ve worn a lot of hats at Rick Steves’ Europe. I’ve sold those same rucksacks and rail passes in the Travel Center, led Rick’s bus tours in Europe, and edited and researched guidebooks to just about any place you can think of. And over that time, I’ve spent well over a thousand days traveling in Europe — spending time in more than 35 European countries. (Until I did the tally, I didn’t even realize Europe had that many countries.)

I started out as “the Eastern Europe expert” at Rick Steves’ Europe. I was, and remain, a tireless (some would say “tiresome”) champion of Europe’s most underrated countries — places like Poland, Hungary, Slovenia, and Croatia. But more recently, I’ve had the opportunity to delve deeply into some other amazing places. I’ve been fortunate enough to research and write books everywhere from Spain to Scandinavia, from Italy to Istanbul, and from Scotland to Spain. (Most of my coworkers are die-hard Italophiles, and I was late to the Italy bandwagon. But after spending several months there over the last few years, updating our various Italian guidebooks, I’m figuring out what all of the fuss is about.)

In this blog, I’d love to pack you along to vicariously enjoy some of those wonderful, serendipitous travel experiences. I’ll also try to offer an inside look at what it’s like to travel and write for living, and what it’s like to work with Rick Steves.

Rick and I see eye to eye on just about everything, but our age difference gives me a slightly different focus. For example, I have a particular interest in scouring Europe’s vibrant hipster neighborhoods, scouting foodie experiences and funky design shops. (If you see words like “hipster” or “foodie” in Rick’s books, there’s a good chance I put them there.)

I’m heading out to Italy in just a few days; soon after, it’ll be France, Scotland, and Eastern Europe. Thanks for joining me. Now let’s get traveling.