Meet Alex
Travel designer, photographer and private guide
I design tours and expeditions to the legendary destinations in 30+ countries, driven by a mission to protect natural and indigenous heritage
Meet Alex
Travel designer, photographer and private guide
I design tours and expeditions to the legendary destinations in 30+ countries, driven by a mission to protect natural and indigenous heritage
I create nature and culture tours for almost 20 years
Short summary: I was born and raised in the Altai mountains in Siberia, visited around 100 countries and 500+ cities, organized tours to 30+ countries, won the Best Guide of Russia competition, and moved to international operations after Russia started a war in Ukraine. Except tourism, I also work with startups, IT, and P2P education.
Petra, Jordan
Petra, Jordan
Moon Valley, Chile
Moon Valley, Chile
Kuranda National Park, QLD, Australia
Kuranda National Park, QLD, Australia
Tasmania, Australia
Tasmania, Australia
Senja, Norway
Senja, Norway
Iguazu Falls, Argentina
Iguazu Falls, Argentina
Mongolian Altai
Mongolian Altai
Uluru, Australia
Uluru, Australia
New Zealand
New Zealand
Altai, Siberia, Russia
Altai, Siberia, Russia
Altai, Siberia, Russia
Altai, Siberia, Russia
Zambezi, Zimbabwe
Zambezi, Zimbabwe
New Zealand
New Zealand
Sossusvlei, Namibia
Sossusvlei, Namibia
I have 30+ countries in my travel designer portfolio.
Most often I create tours and expeditions to Africa (South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe), South America (Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador), Asia (Mongolia, China, Indonesia, Turkey, UAE, Jordan, Israel, Uzbekistan, Georgia), Australia and New Zealand, and Europe (Scandinavia, the Alps, Estonia and the Baltic states). Here's the map of my favorite places that I work with as a travel organizer.
The Amazon
Victoria Falls, Chobe River and the Okavango Delta
The Namib Desert and Etosha
Salar de Uyuni and Atacama
Patagonia
Mongolian Altai and the Gobi desert
Lofoten Islands and the Northern Norway
Mont Blanc and the Alps
Cape Town and the Garden Route
Uluru and Kata Tjuta National park
Fiordland and the Southern Alps
Tongariro National Park
Western Papua
Tana Toraja
The Himalayas
Arabian Desert
Cappadocia
Rapa Nui
Galapagos Islands
Southern Peru
Iguazu Falls and Jesuit missions
Petra and Wadi Rum
The Great Silk Way
Major dates: a brief resume of my experience
1986
I was born and raised in Siberia: my father is from Lake Baikal, and I spent my childhood in the Altai mountains. I spent a lot of time in the Altai Ribbon Forests near Barnaul and in the foothills of the Salair Ridge. My grandfather was a passionate amateur photographer and we spent a lot of time in the darkroom. I've got my first camera from him – it was Smena 8M, thanks to which I took my first steps in photography.
1986
1995. First hike in the mountains
I was 8 years old when I went on my first hike in the Altai mountains. It was an impressive route Aktru — Maashei — Shavla lakes. In two weeks we walked about 200 kilometers through stunningly beautiful places. This trip impressed me for the rest of my life. The following year I visited Lake Baikal for the first time, and this trip only consolidated my love of wandering. Since then, I have traveled to Altai every year, exploring its nature and culture.
1995
2003. First job in tourism
When I graduated from high school, I was sure that my future will be connected with tourism. I started creating the first trip itineraries, made my first website about tourism in Altai, and then entered the Altai Academy of Culture and Arts at Tourism Management.
2003
2004. Tourism website "The Altai Mountains"
In 2004, I created my first serious project – the website "The Altai Mountains" with information about traveling in Altai, which worked from 2004 to 2010. During this time, I got my first serious experience with tour guiding and participated in dozens of different tours. First, I was a guide assistant, and then became a guide and group leader on hiking, mountain climbing, 4x4 tours, and rafting on mountain rivers.
2004
1995, Altai, Kurai
My first hike in the Altai mountains of Siberia, just 100 km away from Mongolia. I'll remember these views forever.
1995, Altai, Lake Shavlo
This is one of the first pictures I've ever taken, spectacular Lake Shavlo. It takes at least two days to hike here.
1996, Lake Baikal
Another bright memory from my Siberian childhood is riding the Trans-Siberian to Baikal, my father's birthland
2005, Altai, Little Aktru glacier
One of the first field trips in the university and the very first digital picture (back then I was only using film camera)
2005, Altai, climbing expedition
Expedition of the Barnaul climbing club to lake Shavlo
2006, Altai, Sibiryak summit
One of the first summits that I was guiding – Sibiryak (Siberian) mountain in the Altai mountains
2006, Mongolia
First trip to Mongolia, visiting the Golden Eagle Festival, and my first digital camera – Nikon D50
2006-2007. First expeditions in Central Asia: Mongolia, China, and Kazakhstan
The Altai mountains are located in 4 countries: Russia, Mongolia, China and Kazakhstan, so after exploring Russian side of Altai I moved to Mongolia and China. In 2006, I visited the famous Golden Eagle Festival in Western Mongolia for the first time, and in 2007 I helped to organize a large expedition from Moscow to Shanghai via Kazakhstan and the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China. During these years I also participated in few mountain climbing expeditions.
2006-2007
2008-2009. Foundation of the Russian Expeditions and the first big expedition: "West-East"
In 2008, I incorporated the Russian Expeditions company with the aim to conduct more ambitious and interesting expedition projects. Our first project was the expedition "West-East" with a length of 60,000 kilometers, which passed through Altai, Baikal, the Gobi Desert, and Tibet in two years. The Russian Expeditions partners were National Geographic Russia, the Russian Ethnographic Museum, the World Wildlife Fund, the Russian Geographic Society, and BASK. In addition, we ran tours in Altai, Baikal, and Mongolia, and built our adventure camp in the Altai mountains.
2008-2009
2008, Baikal
A photo with Mir submersible (they filmed Titanic with James Cameron) visiting their expedition at Lake Baikal
2008, Moscow
Press conference for the West-East expedition together with National Geographic Russia, BASK and Auto@Mail.ru
2008, Mongolia
Gandagtenchinlen monastery in Ulaanbaatar
2009, Mongolia
Group photo next to the Yolyn Am canyon
2009. Mongolia, the Gobi desert
Khongoryn Els – Singing sands in the Gobi desert
2009, Mongolia
Group photo in the Singing Sands of Gobi
2011-2013. New expeditions: Africa, Asia, Oceania, South America
Since 2011, I have significantly expanded my geography, creating tours and expeditions across the oceans. We had a fantastic drive from Victoria Falls to the Cape of Good Hope in Africa, went hiking in the wild mountains of New Guinea, visited majestic and shocking Tana Toraja on the island of Sulawesi, crossed breath-taking New Zealand from north to south, walked the kora around the sacred Mount Kailash in Tibet, drove through Argentina and Brazil from Patagonia to Rio de Janeiro. At the same time, I organized private tours and expeditions: for example, we traveled through Central Asia and the South Caucasus with a large family expedition of 40 people.
2011-2013
2013-2014. First journey around the world
From the autumn'13 to the summer'14, I went on a big round-the-world trip, during which we visited South America, Australia, New Zealand, the Middle East, and Scandinavia. We conducted several tours in Argentina, Peru, New Zealand, and Australia, and studied several new regions. For example, we made a one-of-a-kind road journey through Norway from the North Cape to the Southern Fjords and designed a spectacular mountain drive around Mont Blanc in Switzerland, France, and Italy. I also added more private trips to my portfolio: for example, I conducted an unforgettable tour of Cappadocia, Jerusalem, and Petra on a private plane: it took a month to organize it, and the tour itself lasted only 4 days.
2013-2014
2011, Saint Petersburg, Russia
Visiting National Geographic Explorer on their voyage back from Franz Joseph Land
2013, Iguazu Falls, Argentina
My first visit to the Iguazu Falls, which instantly became one of my favorite places
2014, Namibia
Walking around Deadvlei with my fellow outdoor fashionista Dawid:)
2014, Jordan, Petra
Petra is hard to describe. I spent countless days here, walking around the ancient city, and never get enough of it
2011, South Africa, Cape of Good Hope
Finishing the 5000 km long drive from Victoria Falls to the Cape of Good Hope by our epic overland Kwagga
2013, Armenia, Mount Ararat view
Guiding a family expedition around Southern Caucasus to Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Armenia
2014, Peru, Ica
People have fun riding a buggy in the sand dunes of the Ica desert in Southern Peru, and I have fun taking pictures
2015-2016. Moving to Estonia, MBA in TalTech
After the Russian annexation of Crimea, I moved to Estonia, took a break from organizing trips, and enrolled in an MBA at TalTech - Tallinn Technical University, home of Skype. At TalTech, I dedicated my time to studying business processes and startups, and participated in several hackathons and IT conferences, learning about managing teams and new business models.
2015-2016
2017-2019. Photography expedition to the Altai mountains of Siberia, IT conferences for the travel sector, and the first Best Guide of Russia award
After studying at TalTech, I spent four summers on a photo expedition in the Altai Mountains, exploring remote corners of the highlands, and taking landscape photos and timelapses. I started working in the events sector, co-organized conferences for IT professionals in the travel sector - Travel Tech Conference Russia and MITT Digital, and took part in conferences Phocuswright in Amsterdam and Arival in Berlin. In addition, I have conducted several tours in South America and Oceania, and in 2019 I became a first runner-up in the "The Best guide of Russia" competition, organized by the Russian Geographical Society.
2017-2019
2020-2021. New website Alex.travel and the second Best Guide of Russia award
In 2020, when the whole world locked its borders, our travel tech conferences were canceled, and I got stuck in Siberia. Being unable to cross borders and go home to Estonia, I have been running tours to mountains, and then began work on my new website - Alex.travel, where I collected the travel programs that I've designed through the previous decade of studying the most beautiful places in the world. At the same time, together with my wife, we have been building a vanlife camper for new expeditions. After working in the Altai mountains, I won The Best guide of Russia competition in ecotourism, organized by the Russian Geographical Society.
2020-2021
2022. First international tour after the pandemic and the war in Ukraine
In January, I conducted my first international tour after the pandemic – it was a trip for a startup team to Dubai. It went great and we got our hopes high about the recovery of the market, but in February Russia started a war with Ukraine. As a sign of protest, I closed all Russian-speaking tours and move operations to international markets. So now it's an exciting journey of starting everything from the scratch.
2022
2017, Estonia
Talking about travels and photography tours on the Estonian TV
2019, Altai
One of my favorite places in the highlands – an ancient stone warrior of the Bronze Age
2020, online
While the borders are locked, I've got stuck in Siberia; but at least I could participate in first online hackathons
2018, Brazil, Rio de Janeiro
We caught up with my friend Jury, who's also from Siberia, in Rio de Janeiro, and took pictures with the Buenos Aires cafe sign. Don't ask why:)
2018, Argentina, ruins of San Ingacio Miní
Studying the Jesuit missions in Northern Argentina – UNESCO World Heritage Site.
2020, Moscow
A lecture about photography travels and large format photography masterclass. A couple of days after everything went on the lockdown.
Awards
I constantly look for innovations in tourism and other sectors, that's why I enjoy participating in hackathons and study programs. If you know an interesting event to participate in, or would like to invite me as a mentor, feel free to message me in the Contacts section
Best Guide of Russia (a competition by the Russian Geographic Society) — winner of the Ecotourism award in 2021, first runner-up in 2019.
TravelScrum (global tourism hackathon) — Best Design/Business Model award, 2020
The Global Hack (global hackathon) — first runner-up in Media and Entertainment, 2020
48 for the Future (global hackathon) — special prize from Visit Estonia, 2021
Golden Compass Travel Film Festival (Moscow) — winner in Portrait and Landscape photography nominations, Audience award in photography, first runner-up in Travel short films nomination, 2010
Baltic Startup Passion (Finland/Estonia/Latvia) — winner, 2018
Loomehakk (creative industries hackathon, Estonia) — first runner-up, 2018
Garage48 Grodno (IT hackathon, Estonia/Belarus) — first runner-up, 2016

Alumni or participant of Russian Business Leaders 2021, Garage48 Tourism Pärnu, EU:Africa Journey, University of Tartu Startup Lab, and other programs

Pitching photography tours in the University of Tartu
UT Startup Lab
Just fun facts
I bought my hat in Australia in 2013 and since then I've been always taking it on tours and tourism events. One day I forgot it in a taxi in Peru — fortunately, a month later I was flying to Australia and I bought the same one.

I had a crazy drive from the Andes to the Amazon in Peru, when I was stopped by locals with a Kalashnikov. I found nothing better to say than to ask if there was any accommodation around, and they showed me the way to the nearest hotel (which took a couple of hours to reach).

I intentionally studied all the possible ways of taxi fraud in Latin America so I could help tourists to prepare better for their visit.

My mother tongue is Russian, in the family we speak English, and I also speak Spanish and some Estonian. I also often understand Turkic languages because I come from the Altai mountains. One of my favorite activities is to study common traces in different languages.

Iguazu Falls
2018, Argentina
Photography portfolio
Together with designing travel experiences, I am also a passionate travel and landscape photographer.
Here are some of my favorite pictures from recent years. Click on the picture to open a full-screen gallery!
Llama Princessa in Machu Picchu, Peru
Llama Princessa in Machu Picchu, Peru
Fun fact: this picture was bought by The Telegraph to illustrate an article about marijuana
Lake Wakatipu, South Island of New Zealand
Lake Wakatipu, South Island of New Zealand
And TSS Earnslaw on her way back to Queenstown
Petra, Jordan
Petra, Jordan
Petra by night – a spectacular event not to miss in Petra
Sunrise over Machu Picchu Peru
Sunrise over Machu Picchu Peru
This is my first sunrise over the famous Machu Picchu in 2013
Lake Jangyskol, Altai, Siberia
Lake Jangyskol, Altai, Siberia
This is one of my most special locations that I keep visiting again and again since childhood
Stone warrior in Siberia
Stone warrior in Siberia
1000+ years old rock monument dedicated to a local chief
Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
One of the most fantastic sights you can find on Earth
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and Zambia
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and Zambia
Majestic waterfall on Zambezi river
Lion cubs in Zimbabwe
Lion cubs in Zimbabwe
Travelling in Africa is like watching David Attenborough documentraies, but in reality
Iguazu Falls, Brazil and Argentina
Iguazu Falls, Brazil and Argentina
Iguazu Falls is truly one of the nature's wonders that will impress anyone
Jangyskol, the Altai mountains, Siberia
Jangyskol, the Altai mountains, Siberia
This is one of my most special locations that I keep visiting again and again since childhood
Golden Eagle hunter, Mongolia
Golden Eagle hunter, Mongolia
The Golden Eagle Festival in Western Mongolia, one of the most remote places on Earth
Fish market in Valparaiso, Chile
Fish market in Valparaiso, Chile
Valparaiso is a city with a unique character, and the fish market is definitely a place to go
Fox Glacier, South Island of New Zealand
Fox Glacier, South Island of New Zealand
One of the largest glaciers in New Zealand, that retreats due to the global heating
Ak Sumer, or Belukha, the highest mountain in Siberia
Ak Sumer, or Belukha, the highest mountain in Siberia
The sacred mountain for local people
Self-portrait with the stone warrior in the Altai mountains
Self-portrait with the stone warrior in the Altai mountains
I'm in love with this rock monument that is 3000+ years old