I was born in Central Asia, studied in Australian University, lived and worked in US, Finland and Norway. Starting from assisting at a family-owned tour agency, working from back-end to front-end in several chain hotels, then shifting to guiding work, now I turn to help the travelers, who are looking for a personal approach to create meaningful experiences. Throughout my educational and professional experience I have been exposed to different cultures and that is what I value in travel the most: genuiness, integrity, interest to culture, experience beyond simple visual appeals.
What places and activities do you specialize in?
"I specialize in Central and Eastern Norway with an accent on luxury format of traveling. "
How did you get involved in travel?
"My mother has been in travel business almost since I was born, so I was raised surrounded with all what comes with it: travel plans, tickets, travel documents and, most importantly travelers. I think this influenced my career direction to a large extent."
Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.
"I was on a several day self-drive with my spouse and daughter. We were crossing the border between Norway and Sweden through some vast lands realizing we would need to stop somewhere to have lunch. We stopped at a small privately owned cafeteria, which seemed to be just lost near this narrow dusty road, occasionally busy with some cars passing by.
The venue looked a bit like a hunter's home - a clean wooden cabin with deer's horns and a bear's skin. Only one man, in his 50's welcomed us. He was dressed like a cook, and as we watched him, he was taking orders, delivering the orders, taking plates and payments, almost at a same time. A light smile never left his face. He had a smooth yet confident posture, gentle yet precise gestures, simply charming.
The menu did not promise anything except cold sandwiches or hamburgers. Not the best choice when driving for a few days with a little child. The man, however, agreed to make some soup specially for us. Not only he cooked a hot meat soup, but he served with great care, offered some extra cake and just took our last paper Norwegian krones, which was way lower than all that cost. He reasoned it with "I am the owner, I decide how much money I take".
I believe tourism is about people. No matter how beautiful nature can be, it is people who create the meaning. That man in his little wooden cabin in the middle of nowhere makes his best in what he does. For me he is a reminder to be honest, to be genuine, to put effort and great care for a traveler. This encounter is perhaps the most meaningful travel experience for me."
Featured trips & expertise
Discover Finland's Golden Triangle—formed by the cities of Helsinki, Tampere, and Turku. Learn about the role these cities played in Finland's history and how, today, they are the economic and population center of the country. You'll start in the capital, Helsinki, with a city tour and an excursion to the historic Suomenlinna Sea Fortress, and partake in the city's lively and innovative dining scene. At Tampere, the city surrounded by lakes, you'll learn the city's history and take a lake cruise to enjoy the region's unique beauty.
Sample some of Norway’s infinite charms on this short 6-day jaunt through the country’s biggest cities and most dramatic landscapes. Sail through fjords, ride one of the world’s most scenic railways, and discover the modern architecture and innovative Nordic cuisine of Europe’s fastest-growing city. Starting in the historic port of Bergen, you’ll travel east through deep fjords and towering mountains to visit the picturesque towns of Balestrand, Fjærland, and Flåm, before ending your journey in the effortlessly cool capital of Oslo.
This 10-day itinerary combines some of Norway's best fjords, mountains, villages, and cities. You'll kick off in Oslo with a few days to explore the up-and-coming capital before taking one of the most scenic trains in the world to Flåm. Then, ferry across the Sognefjord and begin a road trip with several days of UNESCO-listed sites, hiking trails, and boat rides to get to Bergen—a seafaring city surrounded by seven hills.
Road trippers will cover a great deal of scenic ground between southern Norway and the tip of the Arctic Circle with this 10-day itinerary. Start the adventure in Bergen's colorful wharf city before you make your way to Fjærland on Norway's biggest fjord. From here, continue towards the mighty Geirangerfjord and city of Trondheim, and finally, the Helgeland Coast—named one of the world’s top undiscovered island gems. This Norwegian Scenic Route (the longest in the country) runs from Holm to Godøystraumen with detours in Svartisen glacier and the Seven Sisters mountain range, to name a few. In other words, outdoor opportunities aplenty!
Norway's first month of spring brings warming temperatures, melting snow, and budding blossoms. This is a great time to get outdoors and hit the open road as the entire country comes of out hibernation for Easter tourism—yet it's still more affordable and less crowded than summer. Find out what to do and where to go with this April guide.
This exciting and less-traveled itinerary takes you into Norway's boreal territory for spectacular snowcapped scenery in the Arctic region. Base yourself in the quietly sophisticated city of Tromsø (Northern Norway's largest), where you can sled with huskies and reindeer during the day and chase the Northern Lights after dark. At the end of the adventure, you'll take a guided overnight excursion in the Arctic wilderness before returning to 'Paris of the North' for one more night on the town.
Recent trip reviews for Ivan
Jul 31 - Aug 5, 2019
After clarifying our travel dates, which were for this year and a late booking, Ivan made it all work! We were especially delighted with our stay at the Kviknes Hotel in Balstrand! The demi-suite had a superb view of the fjord; comfortable room and lovely balcony.
The 4 course dinner was served to perfection; the lamb was prepared just right; the entire dinner was beyond what we had expected from a large hotel. Our compliments to the entire establishment of the Kviknes. Personnel are... read more