I'm an adventure entrepreneur, passionate about purposeful business and regenerative tourism
I've been an adventure entrepreneur for 20 years
Short summary: I was born and raised in the Altai mountains in Siberia, visited around 100 countries and 500+ cities, and organized expeditions & adventure tours in 40+ countries.
I was named the Best guide of Russia in ecotourism, but shut down all operations in Russia after they started the war in Ukraine, and moved to Mexico.
Besides adventure travel, I also work with IT startups in traveltech, edtech, IT HR, and other sectors.
I have 40+ 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.
Victoria Falls, Chobe River and the Okavango Delta
The Namib Desert and Etosha
Salar de Uyuni and Atacama
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
Iguazu Falls and Jesuit missions
Petra and Wadi Rum
The Great Silk Way
Major dates: a brief resume of my experience
1986. Born in Siberia/USSR
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.
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 hiked 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.
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.
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 white-water rafting.
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
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.
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.
A photo with Mir submersible (they filmed Titanic with James Cameron) visiting their expedition at Lake Baikal
Press conference for the West-East expedition together with National Geographic Russia, BASK and Auto@Mail.ru
Gandagtenchinlen monastery in Ulaanbaatar
Group photo next to the Yolyn Am canyon
2009. Mongolia, the Gobi desert
Khongoryn Els – Singing sands in the Gobi desert
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.
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.
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
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
2016, the Altai mountains
After an off-road trip to the mountains
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.
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.
Talking about travels and photography tours on the Estonian TV
One of my favorite places in the highlands – an ancient stone warrior of the Bronze Age
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.
A lecture about photography travels and large format photography masterclass. A couple of days after everything went on the lockdown.
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.
2022. First international tour after the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and moving to Mexico
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 tours in Russia. In autumn 2022, my wife and I made a significant pivot in our lives by moving to Mexico, together with our campervan Aurora. We call it The Great Migration. Our son was born in Mexico on Nov 30, so we literally start a new life. Let's see what comes after!
Running adventure tours in some of the most remote corners of Siberia: no lockdowns in the mountains
A picnic with a view in the middle of nowhere
September in Siberia can get quite cold!
Building our campervan Aurora from zero
2021, Saint Petersburg
The Tiger: a historic Scythian tattoo that was worn by a chief in the Altai mountains 2500-years ago
2022, Hatta, UAE
Visiting a bee center in the mountains of Hatta, UAE
2022, Coatepec, Mexico
The first family picture with our newborn son in Mexico
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
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 Best Guide of Russia (a competition by the Russian Geographic Society) — winner of the Best Ecotourism Guide award in 2021, first runner-up in 2019. 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
I'm also an alumnus or participant of TalTech MBA, USG Alumni Mentoring Program, American Councils RBL 2021, Phocuswright Young Leaders 2019, Garage48 Tourism Pärnu, EU:Africa Journey 2021, EdHack 2022, 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 ways of taxi fraud I could find in Buenos Aires so I could help tourists to travel safely.
My mother tongue is Russian, in the family we speak English, and I also Spanish and some Estonian. Because I come from the Altai mountains, I have a basic understanding of Altaian, Mongolian, and Turkic languages.
One of my favorite activities is to study common traces in different languages.
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!
Feel free to reach me if you want to talk about business or travel