As Ibn Battuta once said, "Travel. First it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller." From my earliest days travelling, I've felt the urge to experience the world from other people's points of view and delve into the stories a place has to tell. That is why I became a Russian language philologist and became fluent in English and most recently German. I developed my passion for Eastern Europe in the same way, by following its stories and uncovering its secrets and then introducing our travelers to those very stories, all the while encouraging them to seek out their own discoveries and showing them how to see places in new ways, transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary. From sites in Moscow's Red Square to a small village in rural Ukraine, everyplace has a story. When I travel, I feel a thrill as I discover these stories, and that is what I want our travelers to experience.
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 was 22 when I went on my first trip to Egypt, whose rich history took my breath away long before I went there. I read every book I could find about the country, its people and ways of life. I wanted to embrace the culture and feel like a local. I was happy to have a friend in Cairo who welcomed me into his family and showed me around. I never missed home there, and I knew that it was only the beginning of many more adventures to come."
Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.
"Petra in Jordan was the most unique place I've ever visited. Absolutely stunning beauty!"