By Edward Grinnan

Inspiring Travel: Mr. Guilmet's City

What was my favorite part of Guideposts' recent Reflections of Italy tour? I’ll tell you in a minute. First a little more about the trip since I last checked in.

The superb weather we enjoyed in Siena continued in Florence. I’d never been to the Tuscan capital but wandering its ancient streets after visiting the magnificent Duomo, it felt incredibly familiar. And I knew why: Mr. Guilmet.

Mr. Guilmet was my Modern European History teacher in high school and his great passion was Florence and the Renaissance. Every summer he made a trip to Italy and would come back with a new batch of pictures for his elaborate classroom slideshows. His commentaries were as colorful as his photos. There was nothing he liked more than talking about his trips.

Some students gave him a hard time. He featured a trim little mustache, favored berets and drove an English sports car. He dated the French teacher. So occasionally he was a figure of fun among the less academically inclined seniors.

Yes, Mr. Guilmet was a character, but he was also a fantastic teacher. His enthusiasm was infectious. He couldn’t wait to tell you what he knew. He wanted you to know it too and feel the same sense of wonder.

That’s why, as I walked through Mr. Guilmet’s city for the first time, it felt like I’d been there before. And I had, back at Birmingham Groves High School. All these years later Mr. Guilmet’s teaching was as fresh and exciting as when I sat through his slideshows. He brought history to life. His teaching was something that stayed with me my whole life, and there are not a lot of lessons I can say that about. I don’t know what happened to Mr. Guilmet (except I heard he married the French teacher), but I will be forever grateful to him. I bet most of you have had a teacher like that at some point in your education.

From Florence we traveled to Venice and soon it was time to go home. The eight days had passed so quickly, probably because they had been so full.

Don’t fret if you missed the Guideposts Italy trip. There will be more inspiring travel in the fall, when we team up again with our partners at Collette Vacations for a 10-day romp through Ireland, land of my ancestors. Halloween at a castle in Killarney? This should be fun. Stay tuned for details about how you can join us.

Oh, that’s right, I was going to tell you my favorite thing about the Italy trip. Well, it wasn’t really Italy, as beautiful as it was. It was being with so many Guideposts readers, getting to know you better, understanding what you love about Guideposts and learning why you feel so good about traveling with other Guideposts readers. That was the best part.  

See you in Ireland?

Edward Grinnan is Editor-in-Chief and Vice President of Guideposts Publications. Edward lives in New York City with two blondes—his wife, Julee, and Golden Retriever, Millie, who has been featured in his blog and popular videos. Edward loves cycling, hiking with Millie at his house in the Berkshire Hills and Wolverines that hail from Michigan.

If you need a little boost of inspiration, pick up a copy of Edward's book The Promise of Hope: How True Stories of Hope and Inspiration Saved My Life and How They Can Transform Yours.