Getting back to his roots with Mother Nature

 With a lifelong goal of exploring Armenia, John Bollinger left his job in the U.S. and longtime home of Alaska to come back to his roots.


An avid outdoorsman, hiker and traveler, John, 45, came to Armenia in summer 2017 to help build hiking trails in Dilijan National Park. As he worked and explored the country, he realized that a three-week stay would not be enough for the discovery and immersion he sought. So he applied to AVC.

Originally from Chicago, where his family owns a 100 year old rug business that his grandparents founded, John had spent the last 20 years living and working in Alaska. A teacher of French by profession, John has frequently chosen to work in areas that allow him to be outdoors – in construction and as a tour guide.

With a keen interest in eco-tourism, John soon discovered the huge potential for nature tourism in Armenia and determined that he wanted to have a hand in its development. Through AVC, he is volunteering with HIKE Armenia, supporting the design and building of new trails, and other planning and organizational work needed by its imminent expansion. With spring just around the corner, John is looking forward to new trails to discover and peaks to climb – and to getting in shape to participate in the next triathlon organized by Savage of Sevan. As things stand, he hopes to stay in Armenia at least through the summer, improving his Armenian skills and putting down more roots.

July 6, 2018