Rick Steves’ Europe Through the Back Door employee manages the Germany-Austria-Switzerland, Berlin-Prague-Vienna, Ireland, Scotland and Adriatic itineraries — one of the best jobs in the world, she says.

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What do you do? I work as a tour operations specialist for Rick Steves’ Europe Through the Back Door, managing the Germany-Austria-Switzerland, Berlin-Prague-Vienna, Ireland, Scotland and Adriatic itineraries. My job is to assist in planning and coordinating these itineraries; organize logistics for hotels, museums, local guides, sights and activity reservations; and work with our tour guides and vendors to ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible for our groups.

How did you get started? During my senior year at the University of Washington, I studied abroad in Rome. I came back a transformed, eager, soon-to-graduate young adult determined to work for Rick. In 2004, I started working in his Edmonds office as a travel adviser and spent six years in Web/IT work before settling into the Tour Operations department. Along the way, I assisted/escorted/participated in 15 tours, researched for the Great Britain and England guidebooks and earned my Master’s in Education from Seattle Pacific University.

What is a typical day like? I’m not sure there is such a thing as a “typical day” at the office, but it’s fair to say that on any given day, I spend my time communicating with guides, contacting hotels, paying bills, reviewing tour member evaluations, making reservations, planning ahead for the next calendar year, collaborating with my department co-workers and performing all manner of triage. We really work as a team to keep things flowing and to keep each other sane.

What’s the best part of the job? It’s hard not to answer that question with “traveling to Europe,” but for me I really think the best part of the job is knowing that I’m helping provide people with an awesome, unique, meaningful opportunity to travel, explore a different part of the world and learn from and about other cultures. I love meeting people, experiencing new things and being challenged every day; my job is perfect for that.

What surprises people about your job? The first thing that surprises people about my job is that not only have I met Rick Steves, but for several years my desk was right outside his office. I’ve been to his house on numerous occasions, and he really is a regular, down-to-earth guy. After that, I think people are just amazed in general that I landed a dream job where I get paid to travel. When you put it that way, it’s hard to argue with them — I really do have one of the best jobs in the world!