Adam, both you and your father are very gifted and talented people.
As for following your dream, maybe one day, you'll make a break with convention and do that - I really undrestand where you're coming from. All the facade of glamour, good looks and perfection is so easily stripped away from some of those people who use the facades to compensate for their insecurities. You're not like that - you're real, have real ambitions and don't place too high a value on looks, but on talent.
As for a trip to Murano - it's worth it. My friend brought me a couple of millefiori ashtrays when he popped in this morning from Italy on his way to the Dominican Republic (I think being older makes it easier to tell people what you'd like rather than what they would like for you).
As for Italy, enjoy the food, wine, art and glass, not necessarily in that order - and remember that business is business, nothing more than a means to an end.
What you could do is collect the glass and get inspired by the paperweights for your designs. I'm in the middle of trying to make a website wallpaper of different millefiori and canes. It's hard work but will be worth it in the end.
I'm sure you do the same in your own way, but imagine if you designed special fitting for glass displays...