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
Start in Moscow to see the iconic Kremlin and St. Basil's Cathedral, then head to the countryside to see 16th-century wooden churches in Vladimir and Suzdal. Take an overnight train to visit 9th-century Velikiy Novgorod, then continue to European-influenced St. Petersburg for world-class art in the Hermitage and the sprawling Peterhof estate. See wooden churches in Russia's northern Karelia region before returning to Kazan to see ornate mosques and Tatar culture.
Visit Russia's iconic capital and discover European art and architecture in St. Petersburg. Start in Moscow and explore history in the Kremlin, see the Red Square, and ride the 90-year-old-metro. Take a train to Tula to visit Leo Tolstoy's summer estate, then continue to St. Petersburg to see the world-famous Hermitage art museum, ornate Rococo palaces, and the world's largest Orthodox Cathedral.
See Russia's capital cities in a 6-day highlights tour. Start in Moscow and explore the iconic Red Square, Kremlin fortress, and 90-year-old metro system. Take an express train to St. Petersburg to see Orthodox Cathedrals, the world-famous Hermitage art museum, and European-inspired gardens. Visit the sprawling Peterhof estate to see ornate fountains and an extravagant summer palace that matches Versaille's opulence.
Spend three magical winter days in Russia's "Window to the West". With more canals than Venice and an architectural style that is distinctly European, St. Petersburg is a confluence of art, history, and music. Explore the world-renowned Hermitage Museum, lavish Catherine's Palace, and imposing Peter and Paul Fortress. See the world's largest Orthodox Cathedral and enjoy holiday shopping on the snowy Nevsky Prospekt before catching an evening ballet performance at the Mariinski Theater.
Russia has sometimes been described as a nation of two souls. Moscow represents traditional tsarist Muscovy, with its Orthodox faith and nearly 900-year history—not to mention the legacy of the authoritarian Soviet Union. St. Petersburg speaks to another side of Russia: a nation of intelligentsia, inspired by the Enlightenment. This tour provides an in-depth overview of Russia's contrasting capitals, along with the historic towns of the Golden Ring.
Moscow and St. Petersburg may be Russia's twin capitals, but each has a distinct spirit of its own. This tour helps you discover both cities by exploring beyond the highlights to hidden local gems. Whether this is your first time in Russia or a repeat visit, you’ll be sure to find something new and exciting on this tour.
Recent trip reviews for Sean
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!