Friends You Should Know…Introducing the GC

Guides Collective - Emblem ColourWe all know that the world has been hard hit by COVID-19, and the tourist industry, has been devastated. Defining “tourism” is difficult because it incorporates so many industries, including transport, lodging, attractions, travel companies, airlines, restaurants and many more. Roughly 10% of the worlds jobs are in tourism. According to Statistica.com, globally, travel and tourism directly contributed approximately 2.9 trillion U.S. dollars to GDP in 2019. In the same year, the United States’ travel and tourism industry directly contributed the highest amount to global GDP, with a total of 580.7 billion U.S. dollars. American travelers are big spenders.

For the last 22 years of my life, I have had the pleasure of being a tour guide for a small and wonderful company, Rick Steve’s Europe. I started working for Rick in 1999, and as soon as I began, I knew that sharing my love for my adopted country of Italy and teaching people about the cultural differences, and the art and history that is so abundant here was my life’s calling.

So what’s a guide to do when the industry comes to a crashing halt in the face of a pandemic? I was just finishing a Venice, Florence, Rome tour when the first major wave of cases hit Italy at the end of February. My first concern was getting my group home safely.   Once at home a sense of disbelief sunk in together with the thought of, “OK, I now have time to work on all those home projects that have been put off for years, hopefully this won’t last long.” Next came the realization that life was not going to get back to normal anytime soon.

For those of us who work primarily with Americans in Europe, and also guides who work in the United States with Europeans, the best case scenario will be starting again in spring of 2021. With that realization, grief and anxiety hit, and it struck in the middle of lock down, when here in Italy, we could not stray more than 600 feet from home unless going to work or out for essentials. Throughout this process I kept in touch with good friends and colleagues and we started talking, working through our angst, fear for our futures and the lack of income which is not unique to our industry. We also started dreaming, thinking about the many ideas we have had over the years for projects we could do in our field, writing, creating or rethinking our own small tours.   Guides are curious by nature and we need stimulation so many of us started meeting weekly via Zoom and an idea came to life. We are calling this newly planted seed, The Guide Collective, or GC for short. The idea behind this collective is to give us an outlet for our creativity, and to cross pollinate the many small businesses we already run in addition to being guides. To do this we have created a new online travel magazine.  With no further ado, allow me to introduce you to the GC plus a few other friends you should know.  Take a look at our new online magazine and if you like what you see, please share the love!  https://www.guide-collective.com/Guide Collective-Colour

Throughout my years as a guide, I have had the honor of meeting many wonderful people. These friends can help you travel, dream, learn and even decorate your home…

SarahMurdoch-SRMSarah Murdock 

A professional tour guide, travel writer, artist and occasional architect. Beginning her adventures as a kid in 1985, Sarah has been exploring regularly since the travel bug bit her while studying in Italy in 1995. With a BA in architecture from the University of Washington, she worked as an architect before abandoning the drafting board for the allure of the open road. Check out all the fun stuff she offers on her website: https://adventureswithsarah.net/

Trish Feaster Cook   A dear friend and fantastic writer, Trish guides tours around the world and is my favorite Disney princess. Her travels often center on her love for food, which she documents on her Instagram “The Movable Feaster” Find her at  thetravelphile.comTrish Feaster Cook

Trish Feaster is a veteran tour guide and guidebook researcher for Rick Steves’ Europe and also leads tours in Southeast Asia, South America, and the Middle East for Imprint Tours. With her love of languages, desire to learn from other cultures, and hunger for global cuisines, Trish shares the lessons, discoveries, and insights she’s learned from her extensive travels at thetravelphile.com. You can also follow her @thetravelphile on Facebook, Twitter, and
Instagram (also @themoveablefeaster).

Charlie Rawson   Charlie has visited, worked or studied in 33 countries. With Celtic blood and a love of culture and languages, she continues this love through hiking, guiding and writing. Charlie is available for UK and European tours, personalized travel poetry, Global travel planning sessions as well as classes in wellbeing for healthy, happy travels.  www.travelwithcharlierawson.com

Charlie Rawson

A true nomad, Charlie has visited, worked or studied in 33 countries. With Celtic blood and a love of culture and languages, she continues this love through hiking, guiding and writing. Charlie is available for UK and European tours, personalized travel poetry, Global travel planning sessions as well as classes in well-being for healthy, happy travels. www.travelwithcharlierawson.com

Stacy Gibboni   Multi-talented Stacy is both a professional artist and a tour guide. She’s been living in Venice for more than 20 years, and has brought a piece of her watery city into her painting. You can check out her artworks or book a visit to her studio at  stacygibboni.com
Stacy Gibboni

Multi-talented Stacy is both a professional artist and a tour guide. She’s been living in Venice for more than 20 years, and has brought a piece of her watery city into her painting. You can check out her artworks or book a visit to her studio at stacygibboni.com
colleenmurphy2Colleen Murphy
A professional tour guide, working for Rick Steves’ Europe since 1992, and leading small-group tours worldwide, Colleen is an American with an adventurous spirit. She has guided, studied or traveled in more than 35
countries in Europe, Central and South America, North Africa and Asia—and will soon be leading tours in Morocco and Vietnam. Find her on Facebook and Instagram @sweetlifetourswithcolleen

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Julian Brown

Born in England, Julian Brown made his home in Paris over thirty years ago. He began
leading tours around Europe in the early 1980s whilst studying French and Spanish at
university and now spends much of each year conducting museum visits and historical
walking tours in the French capital. He also leads tours through the French provinces, and in
Italy, Spain and Southeast Asia. He holds a PhD on ancient Vietnamese art history.
Books and classical music compete with travel, art and history as his main
passions.

Anna Piperato   A licensed local guide in Siena, Anna is an American transplant in her beloved adopted home. She has a PhD and has taught art history, with her passion being iconography and Saint Catherine. You can book a tour or go on a virtual adventure with her at  www.sienaitalytours.com
Anna Piperato

A licensed local guide in Siena, Anna is an American transplant in her beloved adopted home. She has a PhD and has taught art history, with her passion being iconography and Saint Catherine. You can book a tour or go on a virtual adventure with her at www.sienaitalytours.com
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Nina Seffusetti  

Born and raised in Denmark, she has lived in Avignon, France since 1993. She is a local guide in the South of France, tour guide in France and Denmark, and a Rick Steves’ tourguide in Scandinavia., find her at www.facebook.com/NinaSeffusatti/
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Andrew Villone

An American who has relocated to Slovenia, Andrew runs food and wine-focused tours, mainly in Eastern Europe. He knows his food and wine, and has been known to tell a joke or two. His tour line-up can be found at savortheexperiencetours.com

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Rainer Metzger

 A professional tour guide and architect, Rainer is wild about Italy and Morocco and explores cultures through landscapes; urban and natural. Passionate about food and drink, he delves into living histories. When he isn’t leading tours around the world, he works with Seattle ARCH.
Daniela Wedel

A native of Munich, Daniela is an artist, photographer, tour guide, and world nomad based in Avignon, France. Her unique style and spirit fuel her adventures and work. You can follow her artistic pursuits at nomadsview.com
Veronique Savoye   French native Véronique (Véro) relocated to Paris in 2019 after more than two decades in Seattle. Véro is a long-time travel blogger and adult educator (she currently teaches online group French classes,) and a Paris-based tour guide (leading private tours in Paris and the Ile de France, and virtual tours available on her YouTube channel.) She documents her travels and French life daily in social media.  http://frenchgirlinseattle.com/
Veronique Savoye

French native Véronique (Véro) relocated to Paris in 2019 after more than two decades in Seattle. Véro is a long-time travel blogger and adult educator (she currently teaches online group French classes,) and a Paris-based tour guide (leading private tours in Paris and the Ile de France, and virtual tours available on her YouTube channel.) She documents her travels and French life daily in social media. http://frenchgirlinseattle.com/
Liz Lister   A proud Scot, Liz came to guiding after a career in education. She has to pinch herself on a regular basis to believe that she’s landed her dream role - introducing visitors to Scotland through bespoke tours and a travel planning service.  jaggy-thistle.com
Liz Lister

A proud Scot, Liz came to guiding after a career in education. She pinches herself on a regular basis to believe that she’s landed her dream role – introducing visitors to Scotland through bespoke tours and a travel planning service. jaggy-thistle.com
Virginie More   Virginie offers small group tours in France, with set itineraries in Burgundy, Brittany, Provence and customized trips. She also runs a guesthouse, L'Esprit des Vignes, well located in Southern Burgundy between Paris and Provence.  virginiemoretravel.com
Virginie More

Offering small group tours in France, with set itineraries in Burgundy, Brittany, Provence and customized trips,  Virginie also runs a guesthouse, L’Esprit des Vignes, well located in Southern Burgundy between Paris and Provence. virginiemoretravel.com
Mark Seymour   If you’re looking to meet Mark, go look amongst the rolling hills and English Gothic cathedrals, you may find him talking to the stones. He lives in France, and specializes in small group tours of Britain  seymourtravels.blogspot.com
Mark Seymour

If you’re looking to meet Mark, search among the rolling hills and Gothic cathedrals of the English countryside, you may find him talking to the stones. He lives in France, and specializes in small group tours of Britain seymourtravels.com
Roberto Bechi   A friend of more than 20 years, Roberto is a tour guide in Tuscany, specializing in off the beaten path villages and dad jokes. He and his American wife Patti also run a lovely farmhouse B&B outside of Siena and an olive oil and wine farm.  toursbyroberto.com
Roberto Bechi

A friend for more than 20 years,  Roberto is a tour guide in Tuscany, specializing in off the beaten path villages and dad jokes. He and his American wife Patti also run a lovely farmhouse B&B outside of Siena and an olive oil and wine farm. toursbyroberto.com
Colin Mairs   A Scotsman living in New Zealand, Colin has combined his love of guiding with his new home downunder. He guides both tours of New Zealand and Australia, as well as the occasional tour of his homeland. Join him on one of his tours at  mondumo.com
Colin Mairs

Colin Mairs is a Scotsman living in Auckland New Zealand, who speaks Spanish, French and Portuguese and is married to a Mexican. Talk about being a global citizen! Colin started his tour guiding career in 2009 and has
worked as a freelance tour guide since 2012. His company Mondumo Small Group Tours offers guided excursion in New Zealand, Australia and beyond. He also guides “summers” in Scotland. Join him on one of his tours at mondumo.com
Francisco
Francisco Glaria
Fran was born and raised in Pamplona, part of the Basque country in northern Spain. His passion for history, art and food, led him to a career in  guiding and 20 years ago, he started a small local guiding company in his hometown. This company evolved into designing tours in the Basque region, and also into organizing tours for the running of the bulls festival in Pamplona. In 2012 Fran joined the Rick Steves’ team and discovered
a dynamic way to teaching about his culture. Find him at: https://travelingsteps.es/

 

Adam Scott Goulding   Adam is a talented guide, musician, and ace story teller. Whether it’s a ghost walk, music tour, or pub crawl, he leads groups around London with panache. You can take a virtual walk with him, find his schedule at  thedailyconstitutional.co.uk
Adam Scott Goulding

A talented guide, musician, and ace story teller. Whether it’s a ghost walk, music tour, or pub crawl, he leads groups around London with panache. You can take a virtual walk with him, find his schedule at thedailyconstitutional.co.uk
Stephen McPhilemy   Stephen is a fellow northern Irishman and the most enterprising colleague I have. He guides small, upscale group tours of Ireland and runs two hotels, Milltown House in Dingle and Hotel Oberland in Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland  essentialirelandtours.com
Stephen McPhilemy

 A northern Irishman and one of the most enterprising colleague I have. He guides small, upscale group tours of Ireland and runs two hotels, Milltown House in Dingle and Hotel Oberland in Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland essentialirelandtours.com
Rolinka Bloeming   When Dutchwoman, Rolinka is not guiding for Rick Steves’ Europe, she is at her home in the South of France - the Eco Guesthouse Ferrairolles. Here she has a wide variety of offerings: hosting private boutique retreats (yoga is very popular), guiding private tours, tiny house rentals and teaching guests about autonomous living. Eco Guesthouse Website:  www.rolinkablooming.com
Rolinka Bloeming

When this lovely Dutch woman is not guiding for Rick Steves’ Europe, she is at her home in the South of France – the Eco Guesthouse Ferrairolles. Here she has a wide variety of offerings: hosting private boutique retreats (yoga is very popular), guiding private tours, tiny house rentals and teaching guests about autonomous living.
Eco Guesthouse Website: www.rolinkablooming.com

Patrick Vidal

Born and raised in France, Patrick has been a tour guide for 25 years. Now working mainly with Rick Steves’ and leading his own hiking tours in France, he lives in Brittany where he renovates houses during the low season. His love of walking and discovering have driven him to offer private tours to small groups; hiking in Brittany, the Loire Valley, Provence or the Pyrenees.

BenjaminCurtis3

Benjamin Curtis

Growing up, Benjamin Curtis always wanted to be James Bond. Turns out that it’s not so easy to get a license to kill, so he settled for being an international man of mystery. He knows 15 languages, has lived in six different countries, worked throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin
America, and served as an advisor to the British government. Most fun of all, though, were the many years he spent as a professor in Seattle. These days he lives in Prague, teaching, guiding tours, and writing books on global politics and history. He blogs at www.benjamincurtis.me

ReidCoen3aReid Coen

A veteran tour guide, Reid lives in Estes Park CO and operates Imprint Tours – specializing in non-European destinations: Southeast Asia, Asia, Morocco, Egypt, Israel, East and Southern Africa, Guatemala, Peru, and Patagonia. Check out his blog and tours: https://imprinttours.com/

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Anna Savino

Originally from Napa, California, Anna Savino has lived in the Piedmont region in Italy for the last 15 years. Her love for the region and especially the wines of Barolo and Barbaresco has led to a career in guiding food and wine tours. Wine is in her blood! She specializes in organizing small group tours and always seeks out the most personal and unique gastronomic experiences for visitors in the Langhe. Find her at: www.italianna.com & www.barolowineclub.com

jorgeroman1.1Jorge Romàn 

Born and raised in Málaga, Andalucía, land of Picasso and Antonio Banderas. Jorge has worked as a tour guide for the last 24 years. He organizes small private tours for families and groups of friends in Spain and Portugal. check out his website: travelingwithjorge.wordpress.com

HolgerZimmer3inMostar

Holger Zimmer

Inspired by his yearning to look beyond the iron curtain, Holger Zimmer has traveled extensively in Central and Eastern Europe since the late 1980s. He is always happy to go the extra mile to find the hidden gems. Besides working as a tour guide throughout Europe since 2006, Holger is also an established broadcast-journalist, who enjoys telling meaningful stories about culture and society on the radio. His background in theatre is an asset for his various undertakings. He is deeply in love with European history and culture and works regularly for Rick Steves and other distinct tour companies.

4 thoughts on “Friends You Should Know…Introducing the GC

  1. WOW! What a concept! What a powerhouse of experienced and multi talented entrepreneurs! While I know a few of you already, I can’t wait to see what this amazing Collective has to offer us travelers. Thank all of you for all the effort and hard work you have put into making this happen. It makes me feel like traveling IS actually going to happen for us again! Thank you for posting, Lisa

  2. Thank you Lisa for sharing this. I am a Licensed Local Guide too and my job is at a complete halt since February 2020. I do also work only with Americans and Canadians, thus I hope the situation will improve soon in North America thus they can re start travelling and we can re start showing them our unparalleled heritage.

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