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.
For four years after finishing university I divided my time between teaching / private tutoring English in Moscow to save up money and traveling to spend it. I ended up staying in Russia for much longer than I had 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 had no career commitment so can leave whenever I want, come back when I run out of money and always find work waiting for me.
Around six years ago people started contacting me due to interest in the places I had travelled 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. I decided to start offering guiding services on the Yamal Peninsula, which quickly became so popular that I had to give up English teaching entirely. Two years later I had so many clients that I had to hire another guide. On average we have been hiring one more guide every year since then as we expand, and there are now five of us in total working for my company, Arctic Russia Travel. We also began expanding to other areas of Russia and now run trips all over Siberia, the Far East, the Arctic and European Russia. You can check out our websites here:
Arctic Russia Travel – tours in all of Russia’s Arctic regions
Yamal Peninsula Travel – join the nomadic Nenets reindeer herders on their epic migrations
Travel Yakutia – visit the coldest inhabited part of the world, a republic the size of India but with a population of only 900,000.
Unfortunately for the last five years I have had no time to keep up the freelance writing which was once my main hobby. You can check out my blogs from 2012 and earlier at is http://www.mytb.org/edvallance. I have also written articles on the Yamal Peninsula for the Calvert Journal and the Geographical Magazine, both of which can be found online.
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