I was inspired to travel by my family. I remember riding in the car along the winding mountainside in Southern California with Papa (my granddad) simultaneously driving and pointing down a deep ravine scaring the bejesus out of us. I can feel the long-healed bumps and bruises earned from a terrible experience of us ice skating in Central Park, and I fondly recall countless trips to Disney World. We are, and always have been, a traveling family, and they inspired me to travel more, to explore the world, and not be afraid.
I was inspired to love history by amazing teachers. Mr. Lawrence was a storyteller; he brought ancient peoples and cultures to life with his words. Through his stories, we learned about the fall of Troy and the rise of Ghengis Khan. Mr. Morris, though a math teacher, was an EF Group Leader, and he took me on my first trip to Europe. Year after year, Mr. Morris carried students to Europe on EF Tours widening their worldviews and exposing them to historical sites, sounds, and flavors. Mr. Lynch told me that I would make a great historian one day. I remember being in class and raising my hand to ask a question. I have no idea what I asked, but he looked at me dead in the eye and said, “One day, you will make a great historian.” Since then, I have gone on to receive a Bachelor’s and a Master’s in history. At the university level, I was inspired by countless professors. Dr. Ann McCleary, Dr. Olwen Purdue, Dr. Colleen Vasconcellos, Dr. Kathryn Braund, and Dr. Ralph Kingston are just a handful of the men and women who challenged me to be a better historian – to think more critically about the past.
I was inspired to be a tour director by tour directors and guides. I can recall the pattern on the tartan of the Scottish tour director’s kilt. I can hear the French accent of the man who led my sister and me through Monaco. I can see the smile on the Egyptian’s face as he talked about temples and the Nile. I can hear the emotion as the Protestant or Catholic guides spoke about the Troubles in Belfast. These people were and still are passionate about sharing their homes and histories with total strangers. They inspired me to be one of them.
As a tour director, I teach and talk about history while traveling. I get to tell stories about American history and share the narratives of peoples and cultures with total strangers in New York City or Washington DC or Savannah. That is magical.
Thank you to every person who inspired me to be a tour director. Without you, I would not be one today.