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Editor’s Note: This episode of Humans of Travel includes a firsthand account of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Julia Kulik, owner of Kyiv-based JC Travel Ukraine (also known as Enjoy Ukraine) has spent her travel industry career welcoming inbound tourists to Ukraine and Moldova via customizable private and group tours. That is, until earlier this year, when Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered an invasion into her home country.
Forced to leave her husband, Alex, behind due to a governmental mandate that forbids men of a certain age to leave the country, Kulik fled to the Netherlands with her then-10-year-old daughter, Polina. The two currently rent a small guest house in a Dutch village and are living as refugees.
In this episode of Humans of Travel, Kulik reflects on the moment she knew her life would be changed forever: waking up to early-morning explosions that signaled the start of the war, and formatting her plan to escape the country.
Listeners will hear details of that escape, as well as how Kulik’s life has changed since that fateful day. She’ll also discuss the war’s impact on her business, and what she hopes the future will hold for JC Travel Ukraine, her family and her own country. In addition, Kulik will speak on the importance of spreading awareness about the Russia-Ukraine war, and about her desire to connect more with travel industry colleagues via freelance marketing and social media work.
Inside This Episode
01:30: Meet Julia Kulik, owner of JC Travel Ukraine, an inbound tour operator based in Kyiv, Ukraine
2:00: Kulik shares news about her new life with Polina in the Netherlands, and what her husband, Alex, is doing in Ukraine.
06:00: Kulik reflects on the day that Russian president Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine.
09:00: Without a set plan in place, Kulik quickly begins planning her escape to the Netherlands with Polina.
11:30: Kulik details her journey, by car, through Moldova, Romania, Hungary, Austria and Germany.
12:30: Weissmann and Kulik discuss the importance of having hope during hard times.
18:00: Kulik talks about her business, JC Travel Ukraine, and how the pandemic and current conflict is affecting it.
19:30: What does the future hold for Kulik and for her business?
22:00: Kulik explains why it's important not to turn a blind eye when it comes to the world, and why it's important to gather news from more than one source.
24:00: How can the travel industry support Kulik during this time?
Resources Mentioned in This Episode
JC Travel Ukraine's website
JC Travel Ukraine's Facebook
JC Travel Ukraine's Instagram
JC Travel Ukraine's Youtube
Get in Touch With Kulik via email: email@example.com
Alex's PayPal: firstname.lastname@example.org
About Your Host
Emma Weissmann is Digital Managing Editor of TravelAge West, a print and online magazine for travel advisors based in the Western U.S. She is also the co-host of Trade Secrets, a podcast created with sister publication Travel Weekly.
TravelAge West also produces national trade publications Explorer and Family Getaways, as well as events including the Future Leaders in Travel Retreat, Global Travel Marketplace West, the WAVE Awards gala and the Napa Valley Leadership Forum.
About the Show
TravelAge West’s podcast, “Humans of Travel,” features conversations with exceptional people who have compelling stories to tell. Listeners will hear from the travel industry’s notable authorities, high-profile executives, travel advisors and rising stars as they share the experiences — the highs and the lows — that make them human.