While planning for 2022 I came across this inspiring quote from Walt Disney: “Whatever you do, do it well. Do it so well that when people see you do it, they will want to come back and see you do it again, and they will want to bring others and show them how well you do what you do.” Markus and I have been fortunate to have repeat clients who have returned multiple times. These include: Valerie Young, Colin McAllister, John Snow, Bruce Blanchart, Heiner Saur, Andrew Pouncey and others. But, for those of you who do not know us, but who are considering using our tour services, this blog post series is mean to highlight things that we do well. In part five we’ll examine our philosophy of bridging cultures, which can make all the difference in an international vacation.
Let me start by talking about tour guide Markus Klauer’s qualifications in this area. First of all, he speaks German, French and English fluently, and he has had significant professional and tour interaction with American and French military leaders during his Bundeswehr career. Markus has also been active in WW1 research and preservation projects on an international level, helping to create a historic walkway and signage on Morte Homme of the Verdun Battlefield and ultimately receiving the Bronze Medal from the Mayor of Verdun for his efforts over the years. (Please see: The Knee Deep Into History Approach and its Tour Guides – Knee Deep Into History.) Like me, his contact base for WW1 in Western Europe is very strong, and his contact base for WW2 in Western Europe continues to grow as he conducts more and more research and tours.
Likewise, I have spent more than two years of my life living in Western Europe. I speak English and German fluently and am proficient in French. On my other WW1 website, https://meuse-argonne.com, I write a blog with an eye toward helping Americans feel more comfortable traveling in France and Europe. One subject name, “La Vie en France,” explores the cultural differences. Here are just a few “La Vie en France” topics:
Working with Mike Cunha, creator of the Battles of the First World War Podcast, and Carol Kieffer, a professional cross-cultural coach, we produced an hour-long podcast that also highlights cultural differences. That podcast can be listened to here:
Finally, as a tour guide one needs to know when it is time to modify plans. I invite you to read the article below regarding Laurie Button’s commemoration trip to France.
As we approached Laurie’s trip it became clear that the town of Louppy-sur-Loison had big plans for her commemoration day. Thus, I suggested we modify her use of my services as outlined in part 3 of that story. In essence, we did a shortened tour of 5th Division sites the day before the town held its commemoration ceremony, because there was not time left for it on 10 November 2018.
For the American who visits Europe infrequently, having a guide who can walk with one foot in both cultures is absolutely essential to creating a wonderful vacation / pilgrimage experience. This is why Markus and I emphasize the importance of bridging cultures when getting knee deep into history!