— Hello. This is Ivan Kuznetsov.
I’m an outdoor journalist, editor and writer with eight years of professional experience based in the Dolomites, Italy, where I came from my native Karelia, between Finland and Russia.
My goal is to make creative outdoor activities a (bigger) part of your life while helping develop sustainable tourism in two of my home regions, and to build a bridge between them, and your place.
For this, I’ve done, doing, and will continue to do the following things (not at the same time):
Writing and publishing books
I’m an author of 10+ travel books, two of which are published to this moment in Russian language: “The Mountain Keeper” — travelogue about a 10 years of volunteering in the Dolomites, Italy, and “I’m Arriving. How to travel, live in the world and be yourself” — the first ever collection of interviews with famous Russian speaking travelers.
I’m working on translation of these books into English, as well as on other new books, including outdoor guides to both of my home regions, some manuals on travel journalism, photo books, and more.
Journalism and content marketing
Since 2014, I’ve been helping travel publications, companies, start-ups and independent entrepreneurs to create and distribute content on outdoor activities, eco-tourism and other related topics.
The list of my present and past colleagues include Windy.app, PeakVisor app, Bird In Flight photo magazine, OneTwoTrip OTA, BlaBlaCar Russia, Central Park of St. Petersburg and 50+ others.
I’m an author of 140+ travel interviews, 50+ guides and long reads, 100+ outdoors publications on tens of different destinations and topics in Europe and the world, except my home regions.
In total, there are 500+ publications (pages of content) in almost all genre and formats in my portfolio which collected millions of views and rank in the top of the Google.
Weekly journal and newsletters
In 2020, I finally started a kind of Creative Outdoor Journal on my website, where I mostly share new works from my portfolio. Sometimes I write something only to the journal as, for example, the Complete Guide to Giro d’Italia.
Subscribe to the newsletter — get the new unexpected post or one of my new books.
Guided hikes in the Dolomites
My story in the Italian Alps begins in 2013, when I came to the Dolomites to participate in a 8 months volunteering project of the Veneto’s region branch of the largest local environmental association Legambiente. In total, it was a three year project in the Dolomites (2012–2014) under the “European Solidarity Corps” (ESC, ex-EVS, European Volunteering Service) program.
We are in the Fiemme mountains surrounded by the Vette Feltrine group and the National Park of Belluno Dolomites, Paneveggio — Pale di San Martino Nature Park, in 100 km from Venice and 150 km from Verona.
I participate in annual sports and cultural events at the Pro Loco Tourist Center in Lamon. My posts, stories and photos are shared by the official tourist organizations like San Martino di Castrozza in Trentino, Dolomiti.it and Visit Finland — I dream to work with them in the future on something big.
Associations, clubs and communities
I’m a member of the Tourism Association of Lamon (ATL), Dolomiti Hub, Italian Alpine Club (CAI), Nuoren Voiman Liitto literary association in Helsinki, Finland, and some groups like the largest community of outdoor travelers in Russia Dharma Bums, or the Travel Startups for professionals in tourism industry.
Before active travels in 2011, I exchanged postcards through the Postcrossing website, where I collected a 100 cards from port cities, and in total I have about 300 postcards and letters from local people from around the world (literally).
I spent a couple of years actively couchsurfing in Finland, France, Italy, Greece and Russia (27 positive reviews).
Programs, volunteering and residencies
Except Legambiente, I took part in a well-known international youth and cultural exchange program Work & Travel USA back in the summer of 2004. That was my first independent trip abroad across the whole world.
After Italy, for the next three years in 2014—2016 I was actively volunteering in the same counties in Europe via HelpX, Work Away and WOOF websites.
Finally, I spent a month studying Buddhism at Thosamling Nunnery, Institute and Retreat in the Indian Himalayas.
In order to publish my first two books, I held two crowdfunding companies on Boomstarter and Planeta.ru (Russian Kickstarter and IndieGoGo). Together with the third travel project, all campaigns collected 1000 dollars from 110 sponsors.
Now you can find and support me on Patreon.
Personal experience and public talks
I have published 50+ texts in Russian and some international media on my personal experience in the same many different genre and formats: interviews, articles, guides, essays and columns.
If you don’t have time to read and know Russian, watch and listen to my lectures and other public talks. I have participated in 17 events: live broadcasts, video rubrics, webinars, podcasts, etc. Sometimes I organize my own meetings with readers.
I try to help people regularly through various social initiatives. For example, as a guide in the Dolomites, once a month I do free walking tours. Or I have an initiative called “Postcard for a Friend” — I print my photos as a postcards and give them to friends, as well as other gifts. I also give free consultations and distribute electronic versions of some of my books also without payment.
Creative writing school
In my own personal school, I help beginner authors to publish their first text in media and write Google-friendly content, and those who are already publishing or working as a copywriter/editor to master the most complicated genre of journalism — interview. In both cases the focus is on outdoor texts or about creativity, and international communication.
Press tours and business trips
Sometimes I go on press tours and other business trips with a mission from a company: I wrote a reportage about life in a Finnish cottage for BigPicture, told about life in Greece — for “Around the World” magazine, opened North Ossetia region in Russia together with TUI and Coral Travel agencies, recorded a series of 12 interviews with local residents at the invitation of a company in Montenegro.
Totally I’ve been in 21 countries in Europe, Asia and North America, but lived in 10 of them for a period from a month to a year. In Russia my homes have been my native St. Petersburg, Petrozavodsk in Karelia, Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod, and Sochi on the Black Sea.
I (almost) crossed my home and so big country by hitchhiking in my third crowdfunding project Ecological Journey Through Reserves and National Parks of Russia in 2015. Almost, because I went only to the city of Kazan, but I planned and managed all the travel on paper.
I’ve been just once on a regular vacation — as a child in “all-inclusive” hotel on the same Black Sea.
Favorite sports and outdoor activities
My personal favorite sports and outdoor activities are road cycling, hiking (trekking) and backpacking, climbing via ferratas, kayaking, mushrooms and berry picking, bird and wildlife watching and sauna.
In childhood, from 9 years old I visited a kick-boxing sports section for 5 years, where I had 14 fights (7 wins and 7 loses), and where once I was even awarded a special prize “For Willingness to Win”. In teenage years, I played basketball for 10 years non-stop and was also invited to the sports section, but did not go.
I think, I could have been a good athlete in one of those sports, as well as in cycling, but I always saw myself primarily as a creative person. I guess, professional sports are not for me.
I have a bachelor’s degree in commerce and marketing from the Lobachevsky University, which I got back in Russia, but it was never my dream specialty, so I went to Italy as a volunteer to start all over again. My project in Legambiente was called CEA Dolomiti (Centro di educazione ambientale) — The Environmental Education Center, which I finished with a diploma.
Now I am studying again in Italy for a master’s degree in Planning and Management of Tourism Systems at the University of Bergamo and, perhaps, I will continue my life long education in one way or another.
Except my mother tongue Russian, I speak English (B2 Cambridge certificate) and Italian (A2). The latter I learned and continue learning by myself through self-teaching, but most importantly through communication with people here in Italy. I like to listen to Finnish language, cause it sounds very beautiful.