We are all about personal experiences from the places you visit to the people you meet along the way, and what better way to help with this than to introduce some of the people that work to make your trip as great as it possibly can be.
Today we spoke to Real Russia’s Content and Marketing Executive, Alex Locker, to find out what inspires him to travel.
If you could go anywhere in Russia where would it be?
For as long as I have known about it, I have wanted to go to Kamchatka mainly just to experience what it is like going to such a remote part of the world and see the amazing volcanos and animals that live there. Most destinations require a 4x4, boat or even helicopter to reach which I think adds to the mystery.
What is your favourite Russian city?
As a history and art enthusiast, St Petersburg has to be my top choice here. There is just so much to see in this city you could spend weeks exploring. The highlights for me would definitely be the Hermitage museum and the Peterhof since I love exploring palaces and seeing art. The food is also a massive draw, there are some great restaurants; I had always wanted to try Cococo as the menu was completely different to anything I had seen.
What do you like about Russia?
It’s vastness and diversity. There is just so much to see if Russia and because everything is so far apart you tend to find an interesting mix of cultures, beliefs and alternate histories. For example, life in Moscow is completely different to the towns and cities in Siberia such as Ulan Ude, I guess it is similar to the differences you get between London and the rest of the UK cities, although multiplied.
Which other countries have you visited?
Alex at Noma, Copenhagen
I have done quite a bit of travelling across Europe by train and around Africa over the last decade or so. More recently, I travelled to Copenhagen in Denmark and visited Michelin star restaurant Noma, for my birthday which was a fantastic experience which I would love to repeat someday. Aside from that, I did a full country tour North to South (Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City) of Vietnam which I would definitely recommend to anyone interested in Asian travel.
Which was your favourite?
As a History graduate, my favourite would have to be Italy since each city has something unique to offer. I think I have been to Rome at least three times, but I have managed to see something I have not seen before each time. I recently went to Florence and the city has a vibrant energy about it; I love Renaissance art so it was great to be able to visit the Uffizi gallery.
What sort of traveller are you?
I have always been a bit of a wanderer and like to take a day to explore at the start of any trip just to get my bearings. I would say that over the last few years my travel style has changed; I value the time to relax and am a little less attraction driven. I remember travelling across Europe by train when I was 19 and visiting around 9 countries in the space of 2 weeks, planning all the connections, hotels etc – while it was nice to see so many countries, the thought of doing that on the same timescale now is crazy.
Aside from travelling what else are you into?
Alex at Goodwood Festival
I have quite a few things I love to do regularly such as gaming and headhunting restaurants, but I am mostly into novelty, so anything I haven’t tried before is a win. Outside of work, I enjoy living a vintage-inspired fantasy with my partner, and we go to most vintage events and large festivals such as Goodwood for the racing and Twinwood for dancing that takes place in the UK throughout the year. I am not much of a gym buff, but I do enjoy swimming and a good walk.
What is the most rewarding aspect of working at Real Russia?
The most rewarding thing about Real Russia is the people that work there. There is a real sense of ‘we are all in this together’, something which I have not experienced at any other company I have worked for. There is a great level of support and we all do our best to help each other. On a personal level, I love creating content and seeing it well-received provides its own rewards.
What is the most challenging?
Without a doubt, the most challenging element of working at Real Russia are people’s perceptions of Russia. Unfortunately, most people, especially in the UK and USA, only see Russia in the light of the media and the negative press that routinely surrounds the Russian government. As part of the marketing team, it is a constant battle to change perceptions and show people that Russia has some amazing destinations that you cannot liken to anything else in the world.
What drew you to the company?
From around the age of 17, you get asked by almost everyone you know ‘what do you want to do when you leave school?’. Like many teenagers, my response was less than sure, but I had always liked the idea of writing for a travel company and exploring the world. I didn’t really know what to expect working for a company that specialises in Russian travel, it probably isn’t the first place you think of when going on holiday, especially in the UK, but I saw that as part of the challenge and am glad I decided to pursue it.