Tell us a little about yourself.
I studied PR in Media & Art — I’ve always been interested in working in a more creative environment. For the past seven years I have been working at the Culture channel in the VGTRK holding company, where I deal with commercial issues, sponsorship, and contract work. However, my soul is naturally drawn to creativity, to what inspires me, and I am inspired by travel! In my free time, I like to think of all the potential travel routes and location ideas “from scratch”. I can monitor hundreds of websites non-stop for travel planning without ever getting tired. I love the search process so much, I even have a huge A4 folder that I fill with itinerary printouts, cost estimates, etc. for every trip. Sometimes I think that maybe I was a travel agent in another life. I’m lucky to say that I live from one adventure to another — it’s a hobby, or even a way of life.
That’s great. What are your travel goals?
I have this personal rule that I try not to return to the same country several times, at least not to the same places. I have been in the United States three times, but each time in different cities and different states. And I always try to cover as much as possible because I do not know what the situation will be tomorrow, and the pandemic has only further proved this. I have a goal to see more. I dream of visiting New Zealand — I have never been there. I also have never been to Canada nor Australia.
And what about the trips you have taken? Which has been the most memorable?
My most memorable trip was through the U.S. National Parks. It was 2019, fortunately pre-pandemic, and my friends and I rented a car and drove through 9 states. We visited tons of parks, from the Grand Canyon, to Antelope Canyon, to Yellowstone and beyond. So far, this trip has been my favorite! It was an unforgettable experience because we were somewhere new almost every day. The more our setting changed, the greater the range of emotions I experienced. It is the most amazing feeling when you can constantly be in movement, and constantly see new things just by looking out the window. The roads certainly shook me in a good way. It is only through such big adventures that you can reveal yourself completely, and get to know yourself and your travel-mates better.
Do you have a particularly special memory from that trip?
Our time in Yellowstone National Park probably was the most exciting for me because there is an active volcano. The volcano lies 40 kilometers beneath the surface, and there is this feeling that at any moment it can erupt! It gave me a great sense of adventure. You almost feel as if you are walking somewhere extraterrestrial like Mars — lava is frozen around you, there are geysers, and bears are running around. At the park entrance, there was a memo that all the animals here are masters, and you are guests, so you should obey the laws of nature. I was very impressed that there are no restrictions for animals, and that all of this wild nature just lets us stay for a while. It was very cool.
With travel in Russia doing fairly well during COVID, have you discovered any domestic destinations you never thought of visiting?
I had been planning to visit Kaliningrad for a long time, and finally made the trip during the pandemic. I liked it a lot! I would say that Kaliningrad is the most non-Russian city in terms of spirit and architecture. I really enjoyed walking around. I also went to the Russian border that meets Lithuania. There is an isthmus with sand dunes, called Kurshskaya Kosa (or Curonian Spit). It was stunningly beautiful with endless landscapes. I was really impressed by this place, so I would certainly recommend Kaliningrad to those who have not yet visited. I also would like to see Dagestan, where there is Sulak Canyon.
How did you discover App in the Air?
I think I saw the app somewhere in a list of recommendations. I like the in-flight reminders and appreciate the notifications that suggest doing some leg exercises to stretch. My other favorite features include the achievement badges, the recap video generated at the end of the year, and the interactive flight map — it’s very cool to visualize how much you’ve traveled throughout the year.
To wrap up, what are your best pieces of travel advice?
First, I would encourage everyone not to be afraid to plan everything yourself. Putting your plans in the hands of travel agencies or package tours leads to the discoverer effect being lost. Don’t be afraid to dream and to take risks in traveling.
I would also suggest to not put your travel plans off. Oftentimes we think, ‘it is better to go in six months’, and then we wait six months and the situation may become so acute that you cannot do it. Don’t look for excuses to not go. So dream, travel, and be sure to discover the world. This is the most important thing because when you travel around the world, you discover yourself to a deeper degree.