Brian Gillis - Stride Destination ExpertLatin America, Africa, Europe, Middle East Expert
Brian first got bitten by the wanderlust bug through a study abroad program in Israel. But his passion for true adventure traveling came when he began organizing and participating in transcontinental bicycle rides. He was part of a Habitat for Humanity bicycle ride from Connecticut to California and then had bicycle ride adventures across Asia (Hong Kong to Jerusalem) and Africa (Cairo to Cape Town) to raise awareness for the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.
Through his non-profit work, Brian has lived in many locations not often visited by tourists such as South Sudan, Pakistan, the Palestinian Territories, Venezuela, Bangladesh, and Djibouti. However, he has also extensively traveled to some of the world’s most oft-visited regions, included every country in the Americas, and 46 out of the 50 countries in Europe. He has also traveled in Australia, over a dozen countries in both Africa and Asia, and more than half of the Middle East.
Brian’s independent travels have led him to tours of 10 former soviet states, five “countries” with limited international recognition, eight “micro-states,” and a whole lot of adventure. Whether it be Polynesia, the Caribbean, Greece, or the Galapagos, He has a passion for safaris and has been on safaris in Botswana, South Africa, Swaziland, Kenya, Rwanda, and Tanzania. Brian would be thrilled to help you also explore your options for the perfect safari.
Diving deep for local experiences -- living in a Franciscan monastery in Jericho or an Amazonian village in Ecuador; seeing incredible cultural institutions --like spending ten days at St. Petersburg’s hermitage or visiting over a thousand small museums around the world—or encountering spiritual experiences, such as meditating under the Bodh Gaya tree of Buddha’s enlightenment or exploring remote Incan temples, are the types of things that keep Brian moving.
A few of Brian’s experiences include:
Climbing up an active volcano in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in sandals, encountering a UN peacekeeping platoon, a rare indigenous pygmy hunting tribe, and an even more rare silver back gorilla family on the way back to the Rwandan border.
Going to Bethlehem, Palestine for Christmas day and celebrating the festivities sitting next to the Palestinian Prime Minister and later sharing a Christmas meal with the Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
Bicycle trips across three continents that included getting stuck in Cairo, Egypt, during the revolution and witnessing the Arab Spring first hand.
Climbing the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro, a safari in Ngorongoro Crater, joining a research team studying Jane Goodall’s chimpanzees, and surfing in the island paradise of Zanzibar, all in the same 10 days.
Visiting the holiest sites in Buddhism (Nepal and India), Hinduism (India), Sikhism (Pakistan), Islam (Saudi Arabia), Christianity, Judaism, and Baha’i (Israel), including Semana Santa in Quito, Timkat in Addis Ababa, Christmas in Bethlehem, Durga Pujja in Calcutta, Ramadan in Muscat, Easter in Vatican City, Diwali in Kathmandu, Eid Al-Adha in Lahore, Vesak in Vientiane, Mayan new year in Tikal, Yom Kippur in Jerusalem, and summer solstice at Stonehenge.
Brian has bicycled, canoed, trained, planed, ziplined, bungeed, skydove, hitchhiked, road tripped, helicoptered, military escorted, boated, sailed, snorkeled, puented, backpacked, and toured across half of the world and he wants to use his experience to help you have the most awe-inspiring travel experience of your life.
An organized trip from Russia to Armenia, that journeyed through Kiev, Ukraine; the
breakaway republic of Transnistria in Moldova; the Transylvania region of Romania; Plovdiv,
Bulgaria, one of the world’s oldest cities; the Macedonian cultural center of Thessaloniki,
Greece; the vibrant Turkish capital, Istanbul; the Georgian fortress of Narikala; and forbidden areas of
Azerbaijan, before finally arriving to the serene Sevan Lake of Armenia. Brian loved the journey because of the diversity of the cultural regions, getting temporarily adopted by an nArmenian family, and spooking around Dracula’s castle in Transylvania at night.
Portugal, Spain, Gibraltar, and Morocco