I'm one of those who believes that travel can change lives for the better. This is something I learned at the age of 12 when my parents took me to Canada on a road trip. I barely had any sense at that age that the world held so many fascinating cultures and that I could actually see them for myself. Since then, nearly 35 years of travel later, I'm still learning and still exploring and this thrill of discovery is what I want to show my clients.
Having lived, worked and studied in Russia and Ukraine for 11 years, I bring my hard-won insights and my passion for the region to our tours.
What places and activities do you specialize in?
"In Eastern Europe Explorer we specialize in cultural and historical discovery tours. We show you the big sites but our specialty lies in pairing the big sites with the lesser known sites to create a STORY. We give you insight and interpretation. For example, we'll take you to Moscow's Kremlin in the morning, then take you to a hidden illegal Bolshevik printing press where, in 1905, two men printed revolutionary pamphlets in 20 min shifts. It's incredible to think that the power of the Kremlin was ultimately laid low by the efforts of men like these, operating illegal printing presses in sub-basements. That is the interpretation, the story, that will stay with you.
We also focus on cultural immersion. You can learn some Russian, visit a Russian family to learn more about everyday life, and learn how to use the classic Russian banya. All this is rounded off by cooking lessons and walks through the city and the local area where you're staying. "
How did you get involved in travel?
"I started in travel early, thanks to a road trip to Canada. Two years later, aged 14, we went transatlantic to Ireland and the UK and the sense of wonder and the love of exploring cultures has stayed with me."
Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.
"Travel involves not only looking but also participating. As a historian, I look for travel experiences that have a connection to the past, to deepen my understanding of the past as well as of the culture I'm immersed in. Last winter, I had the chance to ride in a WW2 era Soviet T-34 tank, in Russia in the winter, on the old battlefields of 1941. Its one thing to read about that conflict, another to feel the hot engine at your back, be jarred around inside the turret as the tank drove over ditches and holes and feel how tight and confined the space was. I imagined shouting orders under fire, aiming the gun and trying to understand, through the limited field of vision offered by the tanks viewports, how I could have controlled the battlefield in front of me. Driving the tank is a heavy physical job and doing it in these conditions of peace was hard enough. Driving in and fighting from a T-34 in wartime must have been extraordinarily difficult. This travel experience taught me more about conditions faced by soldiers in WW2 than nearly any book I had ever read. This is the power of travel. To see, to experience, to learn from other cultures and other times. "
Featured trips & expertise
This five-day tour of Russia’s two capitals will give you a taste of two most important cities in Russia. Tour the cultural and historic riches of St. Petersburg, which was the Russian capital for two centuries, including the legendary Hermitage Museum in the old Winter Palace of the Tsars. Then continue on to Moscow, the present capital and a less 'European', more 'Russian' place, home to some of Russia's most famous attractions, including Red Square, the Kremlin, and St. Basil's Cathedral.
This tour of St. Petersburg gives you a taste of this magnificent city and its compelling stories. The city was founded in 1703 by Peter the Great, and over the centuries it has gained a reputation as one of the most elegant of Europe's cities. Experience St. Petersburg's rich culture and history at its many museums, galleries, and palaces, including the Peter and Paul Fortress, the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, and the "Russian Versailles", Peterhof.
History enthusiasts will love the chance to experience Russia's two greatest cities through places associated with the ill-fated Romanov dynasty. Beginning with Peter the Great's eponymous city, you'll uncover more than two centuries of history while getting to know the modern side of this classical city. Continue to Moscow, where you'll visit the big-ticket attractions as well as lesser-known spots around the Kitai Gorod neighborhood.
Three great nations—Russia, Mongolia, and China—all in one trip, on this Trans-Siberian rail tour. Begin in golden-domed Moscow, visiting the highlights of the Red Square, the Kremlin, and Novodeivchiy Convent. After, stop at the major Russian city of Yekaterinburg and Lake Baikal, the world’s largest lake. Mongolia will greet you with its endless steppes and the Gobi Desert, finally ending in China with the legendary Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the Ming tombs.
Spend a fabulous week deep-diving into Russian culture. Experience a Russian bathhouse and learn to cook some classic Russian dishes. Learn some of the language so you can communicate with the locals. Learn about Russian religion through its magnificent religious architecture, meet a local family for a traditional glass of tea, and enjoy other authentic experiences that will take you beyond the typical tourist trail.
This tour takes you back to World War II, or what Russians call the Great Patriotic War of 1941 -1945. You will visit the battlefields of Borodino, which saw action in 1812 and 1941; Stalingrad, the high-water mark of Hitler's invasion and the site of his first major defeat in early 1943; and Leningrad, present-day St. Petersburg, which experienced one of history's worst sieges. History enthusiasts will love seeing where the action happened.
Recent trip reviews for Sean
Russia's Capital Cities & Golden Ring Tour - 7 Days · Russia - Sep 23 - Oct 1, 2019
Our trip to Russia was amazing! What a beautiful and interesting country.
Our guide in Moscow, Sergei, was full of local knowledge and so friendly as were Darya(Vladimir Guide), Alexander (Suzdal Guide) and Irina (St Petersburg guide). The city of Moscow was very interesting and we were surprised by the beauty and splendour of the Kremlin. Vladimir was full of medieval history with beautiful churches. Suzdal was beautiful, had a very laid back vibe and some beautiful buildings/churches. ... read more
history and art · Russia - Jul 28 - Aug 4, 2019
This was our first visit to Russia, and fist time we have traveled with Kimkim.
St. Petersburg was very impressive and turned up to better than expected. Thanks to our knowledgeable guide and his excellent language skills we were able to absorb lot's of historic information in quite short time. Thanks to Sean from KimKim team we could design our custom tour and it was possible to tune up wile being there as we have a local guide just for us. All recommendations were very useful and we have... read more
Ukraine · Ukraine - Aug 11 - Aug 20, 2019
Our 10 day trip to Ukraine, including Kyiv, Chernobyl and Lviv, was fantastic. Sean and Ulyana set up the trip exactly how we asked them to, and provided prompt and helpful advice. We were met by courteous drivers wherever we arrived, and the guides on all our tours were very knowledgeable and helpful. Lina, the local tour manager, kept in touch throughout the tour, and ensured we were promptly collected even when our trip back from Chernobyl ran late. The 2 day trip to Chernobyl was a... read more
Russia 2019 · Russia - Jun 11 - Jul 1, 2019
We both enjoyed the trip immensely. Good support was given by both Sean and Ulyana. Problems were quickly resolved.
Our main interactions ere with the various tour guides. Most were either very good or excellent. I wish to make special commendations for the tour guides in Suzdal/Vladimir, Nizhny Novgorod, Minsk, Kaliningrad and St Petersburg. All tuned in to what we wanted and all spoke very good or excellent English.
Sean was also great in Moscow but the first local guide didn't... read more
Russia 2019 · Russia - May 10 - May 18, 2019
The planning and execution of this trip was outstanding, as Sean (U.S. tour agent) and Ulyana (Russian tour agent) customized and coordinated a tour to meet my interests and exceed my expectations for the trip of a lifetime to Russia!
My itinerary included Moscow, Vladimir, Suzdal, and St. Petersburg. I was met/dropped off by an English-speaking assistant or tour guide and a driver at every airport and train station. I never had to worry about finding my hotel or catching the correct... read more
St. Petersburg · Russia - Apr 13 - Apr 20, 2019
We first used Kimkim for our trip to Morocco and because it was such a great experience, we decided to use Kimkim again for our trip to St. Petersburg, Russia. Once again, it was exactly the experience we were hoping for. Our local specialist, Sean, was very attentive to our needs and questions and was very responsive. The trip was exactly what we wanted and he made it happen. Once in St. Petersburg, just like Morocco, everything ran very smoothly. When we arrived, we were picked up at the... read more
Trip to Ukraine · Ukraine - Aug 28 - Sep 5, 2018
Sean couldn’t have done anything more to make Our trip to the Ukraine more memorable, from the moment we stepped off the plane in Odessa to the moment we said good-bye to our driver at the airport in Lviv. The organization of the drivers, flights within the Ukraine, first class hotels, the tour guides in each city, the private tour to find my Grandparents birth village, meeting with relatives I had never met, Yuri our driver helping with translation of the language. Our private tour... read more
Moscow, St Peterburg · Russia - Jul 29 - Aug 16, 2018
We had a fantastic time thanks to Sean and his team. We always expected that it would be difficult travelling with Toddlers and not knowing the language but the guides we had made the holiday a lot easier and we had a great time.
A special thank you to our Moscow Guide, Helena. She's a very thorough historian, great with kids and incredibly proud of her country. Thank you so much Helena!
Starting in Liev · Ukraine - Jul 10 - Aug 8, 2018
The portion of my trip to western Ukraine was the best. The driver Yuri was extremely friendly and his company was able to plan our itinerary so we got to see everything we wanted.
Trip to Russia · Russia - Jun 1 - Jun 2, 2018
Sean & his wife Ulyana Eastern Europe Explorer were absolutely brilliant! I gave Sean what I thought was an impossible dream at last moment & he turned it into a great adventure! We had all information upfront & detailed - all we had to do was physically execute & then RELAX & enjoy! All contacts were knowledgeable & professional-HIGHLY RECOMMEND!