From Russian border guard to full time Contiki Driver

Aleksandr Onufrijev is no regular driver on the road. No, Aleksandr is a Contiki driver who has clocked over 240,000km's and travelled to more than 45-countries across Europe.

So how do you go from Russian border guard to Contiki coach driver?

Simple, you take a chance on yourself.

Alek first heard of Contiki, when a coach pulled up on the Latvian border he worked on.

"I noticed that the travellers were having such a great time -big smiles on their faces and conversations of the amazing places they had visited. I had travelled a bit before this so I decided, why not apply as a Trip driver?"

It wasn’t long until his CV was sent, interview nailed and just like that, he packed up his house, sold his car, and accepted the new challenge of becoming a Contiki driver.

Alek is now 32-years old, in his 6th year and has travelled to 45 countries across Europe (all except Andorra and San Marino). With a minimum of 150-days on the road per year, Aleksandr averages 300-km per day, multiplied across the 6 years at Contiki – that’s almost 270,000-km’s, if not more.

ALSO READ: What’s it really like being a Contiki Trip Manager? 

He’s definitely not short on adventures, finding the time in-between drives to explore his surroundings. These are some of his most memorable experiences so far… 

“Hiking over Lauterbrunnen valley in Switzerland and then taking a cog train to the top of Europe (Jungfraujoch) which is 3,466 metres above sea-level.”

“I love Prague and Budapest. The sunset and blue hour illumination of the cities truly sets them apart.”

“Whilst the group were having dinner and wine tasting, I decided to climb the hills in Tuscany. This was an unmissable view of the city from above.”

In the last 6 years, Aleksandr’s passion for photography also grew with him. He bought a camera and continued practicing, learning different techniques and compositions along the way. Now, he has over 128,000 followers on Instagram, in the hope that he can share the beauty of the world and inspire others to also travel.

"I enjoy all the different things I get to do every day. How often do you visit three countries in one day for breakfast, lunch and dinner? I'm not sure many could say that. My tip to travellers I meet is to just switch off from your normal life. Start looking around, and enjoy the view, people and amazing experiences you get from travelling."

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