I was born in Oxford, UK, in 1983. My interest in travel arose from the 2 years my father worked in Oman from 1995 – 1997 and we spent most of our weekends exploring the country’s still fairly undeveloped interior.
As part of my French and Spaish degree at Exeter University I spent five months doing an internship in Buenos Aires, Argentina. After finishing I had a month to spare and used it to visit the Matses people in the Amazon‘s Javari Basin on the border between Peru and Brazil. It was this trip that really got me hooked on travel off the unbeaten track.
In the four years since finishing university I have divided my time between teaching / private tutoring English in Moscow to save up money and traveling to spend it. I have ended up staying in Russia for much longer than I originally intended for several reasons: 1) I find it fascinating, and it has more areas off the unbeaten track than almost any other country, 2) The pay for private tutoring English is incredible, plus I have no career commitment so can leave whenever I want, come back when I run out of money and always find work waiting for me.
Many people have contacted me due to interest in the places I have traveled to, in particular Russia‘s Yamal Peninsula, home to the nomadic Nenets reindeer herders. Off-limits to outsiders and often assumed to simply be too cold or too remote for travel, mine was the first English language blog that I know of to appear on the internet from this area. Over the next year it looks as though I may be going back a few times as an interpreter for individuals or small groups who are interested in meeting my friends among the reindeer herders. If you would like to do something similar I am always keen to go back there, so get in touch with me through the contact form on this website. I’ll always be happy to give as much advice and tips as possible too.
I also do a bit of freelance writing. My blog address is http://www.mytb.org/edvallance. If you would be interested in articles on any of the places I have visited or in seeing the completed manuscript of a book called Does Anyone Live in Siberia? please get in touch with me through the contact form on this website. The book is about my travels around the very fringes of the former USSR, such as the Arctic, Kamchatka and Tajikistan, focusing on the lives of ordinary people there 20 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Another book I am working on is called Off the Unbeaten Track – Impossible Travel Made Possible and is about my travels among tribal and nomadic groups elsewhere in the world.
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