I went on my first trip to Europe in 1977 when I was in college. This tour, with a group of my friends, took me to Greece, Italy, and Israel. I was a “travel rookie,” having never ventured outside the Southeastern USA! Imagine my excitement as I boarded the airliner for my first flight, not to mention the wonder of touching down in Greece, a distant land of which I’d only read about in my Sunday School lessons!
Forget about jet lag, I was going to make the most of this adventure. Each morning, I was up early exploring the sights, neighborhoods, and “out of the way” lanes, searching for life beyond the typical tourist scene. Three weeks later, when I returned home, I was hooked on European travel and determined to return someday.
For the next decade, I dreamed of returning to Europe, but the opportunity never seemed to come my way. It wasn’t until I’d married, had children, and begun my career as a band teacher that opportunity came knocking. I convinced fifteen of my band students to travel with me to Europe on an educational tour. We had a great time on that tour and it resulted in many fond memories and friendships. Even with this experience, I still was not happy with the tour “package” and the concept of putting a lot of people on a bus and showing them one sight after the other. I was looking for a more rewarding travel experience, more local character, more local food, more cultural diversity, and more value for my travel dollar.
During the next few years, I studied about Europe’s history, culture, and languages. I poured over maps of cities, towns, and countries trying to get a visual image of all there was to see and do. Soon, I began visiting Europe several times a year, applying that which I’d learned to my travels. My “on-the-ground” research took me to every major city in Europe and hundreds of little “out of the way” locations. It was here, in these semi-undiscovered locales that my travel philosophy and travel style finally seemed to make sense.
It wasn’t long before I began organizing informal tours to Europe’s biggies like Rome, Paris, London, and Madrid. While touring the major sights were important, I’d always throw in a few of my favorite little villages, restaurants, pubs, and hotels to add some contrast and flavor. Soon, my tour alumni were raving about “the little towns,” “that special dining experience,” or the “picnic with a fantastic view.” Finally I’d found my niche, European travel designed to immerse my travel partners in the history, culture, and ambiance of the locale.
In 2001, I established David McGuffin’s Exploring Europe, Inc. in order to formally offer European travel experiences. We’ve been growing ever since! I still hold to my original tour values of immersing my travel partners in the ambiance of Europe! Nowadays, when I travel, I still look for new destinations, great food, intimate hotels, and unique experiences to pass along to my travel partners. I’m passionate about my travels in Europe and want to share my passion with you!
If you like traveling, you’ll enjoy an Exploring Europe Tour. These tours attract a fun-loving group of people who want an active travel experience offered in an approachable and stress-free manner. I hope you’ll take some time to study our destinations and then join us on a tour. We’d love to show you around!