5 Things We’re Doing While Waiting to Travel to Europe

Travel is a state of mind. It has nothing to do with existence or the exotic. It is almost always an inner experience.

— Paul Theroux

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COVID-19 has made this a challenging month for everyone, and it’s going to be some time before things are significantly better. I am writing to you today from my daughter’s home in Madison, Wisconsin, rather than from Europe, where we thought we would be throughout the month of April. We are staying home for now, and I hope you are doing the same. If you are a front line worker or work in an essential business, thank you for all you are doing. Please stay safe. 

This is an adjustment for all of us. It is certainly difficult for those of us who are deeply passionate about experiencing other cultures and countries through travel. This is an unprecedented time. One day, we will find ourselves on the other side of this crisis. When we do, we will travel again. Until that time, we can dream of traveling, plan where we want to go and think about some of the things we want to do when we get there. 

That’s why I chose the quote, above. We can use this time to have that inner experience that travel provides, until we can go out there and explore again! Immersive travel is the best, but dreaming about where we want to go is pretty great too!

I’d like to share with you some of the things we are doing to dream about travel, and help others aspire to travel again, while we have this pause in our otherwise, generally hectic lives. 

1)    Taking Care of our Clients’ Travel Plans and their Amazing Response

We spent the first 2 months of 2020 planning European trips and cruises for our clients. By the first week in March, that came to an abrupt halt. We changed our course and did our best to guide our clients and guests through this extraordinary travel labyrinth.

Our amazing clients have universally all wanted to postpone travel, rather than cancel outright. They still want to go – we all just want to make sure it is safe for them, and others, when they do. We also want to make sure the places they want to go and things they want to do will be available to them when they get there.

We love taking care of our clients and friends

We love taking care of our clients and friends

So we contacted all their accommodations, transportation, restaurant and activity providers and let them know that we would be cancelling for now, and rebooking at a later date. We are currently working on cancelling/postponing itineraries in April and May. We are looking at cancellation windows for summer trips and will discuss plans with each client as we know more.

Our clients are super excited to be able to travel again. They want to revitalize the local European economies and finally get to enjoy the amazing holidays we have been planning for them.

A few catch phrases come to mind: “Good things come to those who wait” and “Patience is a Virtue”. We will be rewarded for our wait, as we continue to dream about these future trips. 

2)    Staying in contact with our European small businesspeople in the midst of a pandemic 

After our truffle hunt we enjoy the fruits of our labor at Tra Atre e Querce near Barolo

After our truffle hunt we enjoy the fruits of our labor at Tra Atre e Querce near Barolo

ALL of our European vendors have been absolutely incredible. They understand. They are experiencing unprecedented cancellations and their businesses have been hit hard. Sadly, I expect that some of them will not recover. Many are getting some assistance from their local governments, but there is no question that there will be difficult years ahead. And still, they show incredible spirit and resilience in spite of these impending challenges.

 We look forward to sending them business again as soon as it is safe and we are able.

3)    Dreaming of Travel by Reading, WATCHING AND LISTENING about Europe and its Amazing Destinations

We are spending lots of time reading, watching movies and researching incredible European destinations. There are guidebooks, historical novels, podcasts, documentaries and blockbuster movies all focused on European travel. We usually don’t have the occasion to dig into these in earnest, but as we are in lockdown, we suddenly have the time! We invite you to dream about European travel too. Here are some suggestions: 

Some of our favorite movies set in Europe:

Bruges, Belgium is an amazing city to explore by foot

Bruges, Belgium is an amazing city to explore by foot

Under the Tuscan Sun

Eat, Pray, Love (especially the part set in Italy….the pizza scene is awesome)

The Da Vinci Code

Chocolat

A Good Year

Saving Private Ryan

Schindler’s List

In Bruges

Billy Elliott

Elizabeth 

Helene In Between has a great post here with even more European movies, with links and descriptions of each one. This will keep you dreaming about Europe for a while for sure!

Another great site you can watch is Viking TV! Viking Cruises has quickly put together an amazing site so that you can travel to Europe from the comfort of your own home. I invite you to check it out at Viking.tv.

Some of our favorite books with European destinations as a backdrop:

A Tale of Two Cities

The Book Thief

A Room With A View

A Year in Provence

A Moveable Feast

Barolo 

Budget Traveler has a great post here with even more European books, with links and descriptions of each one.

Some of our favorite European guidebooks:

Rick Steves Europe Through the Back Door

Rick Steves The Best of Europe

Lonely Planet Guidebooks

Fodor’s Travel Guidebooks

 World on a Whim has a terrific post here with even more European guidebooks, with links and descriptions. 

The ETC Teal at Chateau d’Usse

The ETC Teal at Chateau d’Usse

Some of our favorite Podcasts:

Travel With Rick Steves – (you can also check out his blog, which includes reports from his many guides throughout Europe, telling about their experience in isolation)

The Rough Guide to Everywhere

Amateur Traveler (you can even hear an interview with us about Piedmont if you want!) 

Wanderlust has a terrific post here with even more Travel Podcasts, many of them focusing on European destinations, with links and descriptions so you can listen whenever you want.

4)    CONTINUING TO Work on our Website so More People Can Find Us

Skogafoss in Iceland

Skogafoss in Iceland

The Euro Travel Coach Team doesn’t always get to live and work together, so this is a unique time for us! While others are in Zoom meetings, we are meeting over the breakfast table together.  We are deciding on company goals, developing blog ideas, creating content for our website and practicing recipes so we can share them with you. Sometimes we even taste wine, all in the interest of serving you better! We want more people to be able to find us online so that we can help more people travel to Europe.

5)    Making great recipes – many of them are from Europe!

Chelsea’s Chicken Pot Pie is the perfect comfort food! (Did you know it has its origins in Greece, Rome, and Elizabethan England?)

Chelsea’s Chicken Pot Pie is the perfect comfort food! (Did you know it has its origins in Greece, Rome, and Elizabethan England?)

I have to say, we have enjoyed some amazing recipes while we have been in quarantine and isolation. Chelsea prepared for us well!  You can see the kinds of things we’ve been eating in our blog post, What We’re Eating While in Quarantine. You can also check out some special recipes we have been “testing” lately. One is for Britain’s more than delicious Sticky Toffee Pudding and another is for a fantastic cocktail that we like to call The Isolation.  If you like these, you might enjoy other recipes on our blog that you can find here. Be sure to scroll down so you see them all, but I’m warning you, these will make you hungry! 

These are just some of the things that we are doing to keep dreaming of European travel while we are staying at home. I hope you find them to be inspiring. I think this world’s beauty, its people, and its multi-faceted cultures are meant to be explored and enjoyed, so making travel a priority will continue to be important, when it is safe again.

Our economy will be forever changed by this event. In the future, travelers will be able to help the global economy to recover. It will take time, but when we come into the new normal, I anticipate we will do so with even more gratitude, openness and care for the planet than before. In the meantime, we can use our imaginations to continue to explore Europe and the rest of the world. 

The Euro Travel Coach Team is always here to support you and we thank you for following and supporting us! We appreciate you and your love for Europe. When this catastrophe is over and the travel industry begins to recover, we will still be here for you. We look forward to helping you plan your European vacation and exploring all this amazing continent has to offer.

Stay safe, stay hopeful, and keep your dreams alive!

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Remember that we are always available to you and your friends and family to help you dream about travel to Europe, and create amazing trip plans when it’s safe to travel. We are here for your custom trip planning to Italy, France, Ireland, the UK and all of Europe. We are experts in creating custom travel itineraries and leading small group trips to European destinations. We also book European cruises! Feel free to reach out via email — We’re always available to talk about travel! 

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Betsy Ball – Betsy is co-founder and partner of Euro Travel Coach (ETC), which crafts custom European vacations for independent travelers and leads small group trips to Europe. She is a passionate and culturally curious traveler who thoroughly enjoys sharing her love for exploring Europe with ETC clients. Prior to founding ETC, Betsy taught International Business at Tarleton State University in Texas (part of the A & M System) where she led study abroad trips to multiple European countries and other worldwide destinations. She retired from teaching two and a half years ago and now travels 9 months of the year in Europe. She has a degree in hotel, restaurant management from Michigan State University and an MBA from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. She also holds a Level 3 certification from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust.

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