Interview: Journey into experiential travel with aLive’s founder Ioana Rucareanu

Experiential travel, a balance of authentic experiences and unique adventures that blends sustainability, cultural respect and exploration, has gained traction over the years. To learn more about a trend that looks like it is here to stay, Monaco Life got some industry insights from Ioana Rucareanu, the founder of experiential travel company aLive. 

Founded by 29-year-old Ioana Rucareanu from Bucharest, the concept of the Monaco-based company aLive is centered around an innovative approach to luxury travel based on the ideals of immersive and authentic experiences that go beyond traditional tourism. 

“My core passion has always been travelling as it encompasses everything, from culture to adventure to conservation,” Ioana Rucareanu tells Monaco Life. 

Ioana Rucareanu, the founder and owner of aLive. Photo supplied

Stemming from Rucareanu’s background in the luxury sector, her educational experience at the International University of Monaco (IUM) and a personal quest for authenticity, aLive curates journeys that blend exploration with cultural immersion, catering to a traveller seeking intellectual and sensory stimulation.  

“No matter the journey, it is still personal and subjective, so this is where experiential travelling clicked for me. It is an opportunity to tap into every person’s unique dreams and desires and bring personal visions to life,” she explains. 

Ioana Rucareanu on a safari trip. Photo supplied

Redefining travel through unique journeys 

Unlike standard travel agencies, experiential travelling offers diverse experiences tailored to the adventurous individual.

“Travel agencies offer ready-made activities or tour operators’ packages, which is great, but it really takes away that sort of off-the-beaten-path edge,” she says.  

Alternatively, aLive proposes experiences that are immersive, ranging from adrenaline-pumping supercar adventures traversing scenic mountain passes and historic city streets to intimate wildlife encounters in private reserves in far-flung places such as the Serengeti and Lapland.  

“I’ve realised that in traditional travel, we are basically replicating the same experience in different forms, and we are losing the authenticity of the culture,” says Rucareanu. “To me, travel in a nutshell is all about experiences that make you feel alive in authentic places.” 

Rucareanu’s approach in experiential travel goes beyond exclusively working with the travel industry’s ‘traditional players’, a group she sees as including agencies, destination management companies and tour operators. Instead, aLIVE collaborates with players from different fields: film production companies, conservationists, private owners and even government officials at times. These entities, she says, have permissions to access certain restricted or privatised lands in specific locations, opening doors to unparalleled experiences or, as Rucareanu put it, off-the-beaten-path experiences. 

“This kind of network to experience the world goes beyond the typical travel… Exploring the world without boundaries, to live that moment, but still with respect to the culture,” says Rucareanu. 

“Disconnect to reconnect” 

After an immersive escape, says Rucareanu, individuals return to real life with a sense of regeneration that allows them to better carry out daily tasks and improve their performance in work or school.

“You disconnect to reconnect,” says Rucareanu. “Our generation’s stress levels are so high, and stress is related to not being in the present, so these kinds of experiences provide an escape from our mind and problems. When you come back, you are rested not only physically but also mentally.”

According to the Stress in America 2020 Survey by the American Psychological Association (APA), Generation Z is the most stressed generation.

We end up going on vacation with our thoughts, with our problems… Stress comes from living in the past or being anxious about the future, making us not present in the moment,” she says.

Challenges in the industry 

While online searches and websites like and Airbnb have significantly reduced the need to rely on travel agencies, Rucareanu says experiential travel challenges the idea that the Internet is all you need to organise travel. Since experiential travel revolves around intimate and out-of-your-comfort-zone experiences, trust and safety are integral aspects.

“This is why, with experiential travel, you have to know your connections personally so that you and your clients will be taken care of as a local,” she explains. 

According to the young businesswoman, experiential travel also avoids contributing to the kind of over-tourism that has forced Venice to introduce a €5 entrance fee per tourist, a 20,000 per day limit on visitors to the Acropolis in Greece, and strict quotas in Peru that reduce visiting hours at Machu Picchu. 

In contrast, experiential travel involves small tourist groups and privatised tours that, says Rucareanu, help to balance sustainability, respect for culture and exploration.

“We propose bespoke high-end experiences that are private and tailored to you. This often means remote or less-experienced destinations for a more authentic feel of the culture.” 

Connection to the world 

Additionally, experiential travel can provide meaningful connections through conservation initiatives. Travellers can actively participate in and support various conservation projects around the world, from hands-on experiences in wildlife reserves to educational quests alongside local conservationists and charity organisations.  

“It’s not just about giving back to the world via a cheque, but by really getting involved personally,” Rucareanu tells Monaco Life. “With access to significant projects around the world through our extensive network of conservationists, aLive presents the opportunity to have a close-up look and be actively involved. The more immersed you are, the more you live it, the more you learn, and by default, you are more connected to our world and connected within.” 


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Photo supplied 

Monaco Smart & Sustainable Marina Rendezvous launches call for innovative floating marina designs

Ahead of this year’s Monaco Smart & Sustainable Marina Rendezvous, which will be held at the Yacht Club de Monaco in the days leading up to the 2024 Monaco Yacht Show, the event’s organisers have put out a call for forward-thinking and innovative floating marina designs that dually protect marine biodiversity and enhance the services currently available to yacht owners, guests and crew.  

The native flora and fauna that lives along the Côte d’Azur coastline is increasingly under threat. One of the most endangered species – one that plays a crucial role in the health of the region’s marine ecosystem – is Posidonia, the thick sea grass that grows like an underwater meadow and provides shelter to countless other species. 

Posidonia commonly grows in shallow coastal areas, which are also popular spots for yachts to anchor, often leading to destruction of the Posidonia habitats.

In a bid to address this situation, the Monaco Smart & Sustainable Marina Rendezvous is asking architects and students of all nationalities to submit their cleverest designs for floating marinas of the future, concepts that could eventually grace the Riviera and other coastal regions around the world.  

The Top Five projects will be chosen by an expert jury. Then, the final winner will be selected by participants at this year’s Monaco Smart & Sustainable Marina Rendezvous event, which will be taking place at the Yacht Club de Monaco between 22nd and 23rd September.  

The projects will be judged on innovation, sustainability, compliance with competition requirements, functionality, aesthetics and contextual adaptation. The deadline for submissions is midnight on 23rd August.  

For more information or to register to take part, click here.  

Read related:

Smart & Sustainable Marina Rendezvous brings fresh ideas and outlooks to Monaco


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Photo credit: Yacht Club de Monaco

Formula E: Mixed results for Monaco-based Maserati MSG Racing in Portland

Maserati MSG Racing’s Maximilian Günther came from the rear to secure an eighth-place finish at Round 14 of the FIA Formula E World Championship, which was held over the weekend in Portland. His rookie teammate, Jehan Daruvala, came in 12th, losing three places on his start position. 

Maserati MSG Racing, one of the FIA Formula E World Championship’s founding teams, has had a season of ups and downs. This past weekend’s races in the American city of Portland, Oregon, was a reflection of the year so far, with a mixed bag of results for the team’s two drivers.  

The results of the Round 13 race, which took place on Saturday 29th June, were poor for both drivers: Maximilian Günther recorded a DNF and his teammate, Jehan Daruvala, got stuck in the second half of the scoreboard with a P16.  

The next day, Günther had to overcome a particularly tough start  – he had qualified in 21st position – while Daruvala fared far better with a P9 slot on the grid.  

See more: More points on the board for Maserati MSG Racing in Shanghai

Both drivers employed an energy-saving strategy at the start, allowing themselves to drop back so that they could turn on the heat as the race progressed. By the 15th lap, Günther was in P8, but a safety car slowed the action in the 18th, pushing him back to 10th place. After a lengthy battle, he clawed his way up to an eighth-place finish for his team. Daruvala, however, fell a bit shorter, finishing in 12th 

“This weekend has been very tough for us, so recovering to the Top 10 after starting from the last row of the grid is an achievement,” said Günther post-race. “There’s no doubt that this weekend has been challenging, and there are still a few question marks about our performance remaining. We will use the time between now and London to clear that up, but we can be happy. Compared to where we were last year, we’ve made some good changes to the car, and street circuits are good for us, so London should suit our package.” 

Maserati MSG Racing, which has its headquarters in the Principality of Monaco, is currently in eighth place in the Constructors’ Standings. Günther also sits eighth in the Drivers’ Standings while Daruvala is ranked 20th.  

The next round of races on the schedule will mark the end of the season. Round 15 and Round 16 will be held at ExCeL London in the British capital on Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st July.  

Read related:

F1: Unlucky Charles Leclerc limps to P11 finish at Austrian Grand Prix


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Photo credit: Maserati MSG Racing

Grimaldi Forum announces extra performance of Mamma Mia! the musical

This autumn, the ever-popular Mamma Mia! musical will be hitting the stage of the Grimaldi Forum Monaco for a number of thrilling matinée and evening performances. The show has proved so successful with local theatre lovers and fans of the iconic ABBA soundtrack that an additional showing has been announced for 13th October. Here are all the details.  

Come October, the Grimaldi Forum will welcome the West End smash sensation of Mamma Mia!, a story about a mother and daughter who have lived their lives on a quiet Greek island. When the daughter announces her wedding, three men from her mother’s past, any of whom could be the girl’s father, gather for the event.  

The would-be fathers all vie to be top dad, and the tale unfolds to hilarious – and touching – effect to the toe-tapping tunes of supergroup ABBA.  

First performed in 1999 in London’s West End, word of the show quickly spread and it became a universal sensation. To date, more than 65 million people have enjoyed the Mamma Mia! experience, which has been translated into 16 different languages. It is the West End’s third-longest running musical ever.  

The Grimaldi Forum’s performances will be held on 9th, 10th and 11th October at 8pm. On 12th October, there will be shows at 3pm and 8pm. The final performance had been scheduled for 3pm on 13th October, but now an additional evening show at 7.30pm has been confirmed by the venue. 

All of the performances will be conducted in English with French subtitles. The shows will run for just over two and a half hours with a 20-minute intermission.  

To buy tickets or find out more about the show, click here

Read related:

Hit show Mamma Mia! coming to Monaco this autumn


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Photo credit: Brinkhoff Moegenburg

Traffic disruptions on Boulevard des Moulins to continue throughout summer

Improvements to the guttering network and road surface along the Boulevard des Moulins, which will be carried out over the next two months, will require a series of partial road closures and diversions along the central thoroughfare that connects Monte-Carlo with the Place des Moulins.  

Between 1st July and 6th September, the Boulevard des Moulins will be the subject of a number of urban renovation projects. Given the extent of the works, traffic delays in the area are highly likely, but the government has sought to reassure the public that everything possible is being done to limit the undesirable consequences of the essential maintenance upgrades and renovations.  

The preparatory stage of works will continue throughout July until the road resurfacing section of the projects begins on 29th July. An alternating traffic system will be in place for the duration of the month.  

Between 8pm and 6am on the nights between 29th July and 2nd August, workers will be re-tarmacking the road. The road will gradually reopen to drivers and other road users during the daytime.  

Necessary repairs to the gutters and the repainting of the road markings will be carried out between 5th and 28th August. This period of the works will also require traffic controls.  

Finally, between 28th August and 6th September, the pedestrian safety barriers will be refitted. This part of the project will affect the traffic flow, but only during the daytime. A traffic control system will be put in place between the hours of 8am and 5pm.  

E-bike stations on the Boulevard des Moulins will not be accessible during this period and bus lines will be diverted via the Avenue Saint Laurent. A temporary bus stop will be set up at 7 Avenue Saint Charles. 

For more details on the works, click here.

Read related:

Major works on water and sewage systems to disrupt traffic in the Jardin Exotique for two months


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Photo credit: Monaco Communications Department

F1: Unlucky Charles Leclerc limps to P11 finish at Austrian Grand Prix

Austrian Grand Prix charles leclerc

Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc has finished the Austrian Grand Prix in a sorry 11th place, having been the unlucky victim of an incident involving McLaren’s Oscar Piastri and Red Bull’s Sergio Pérez on Turn 1 of Lap 1.  

It was another “weekend to forget” for the 26-year-old Scuderia Ferrari driver from Monaco, who suffered the brunt of a collision between Piastri and Pérez as the grid took off from the Red Bull Ring start line in Spielberg. Leclerc was squeezed between the other two drivers and was forced to immediately pit to replace a damaged front wing. 

Unfortunately, that Lap 1 incident spelled the end for Leclerc’s hopes of advancing from his initial P6 position despite his pace matching that of his teammate, Carlos Sainz, who secured himself a place on the podium at the Austrian Grand Prix, coming in P3 and picking up 15 important points.

Leclerc’s disappointment was palpable in his post-race comments.  

“Unfortunately, this was a weekend to forget as nothing went as it should,” he shared. “The collision on the opening lap obviously completely ruined my race. We were hoping for a Safety Car but it didn’t come and I lost time behind Lando (Norris) when I had fresh tyres and could have pushed more. The end result was that we couldn’t even score a point.” 

The race on Sunday 30th June was ultimately won by Mercedes’ George Russell. He was able to capitalise on a late collision between Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and McLaren’s Lando Norris that occurred during Lap 64 of 71. P2 was claimed by Piastri ahead of Sainz in third place. Lewis Hamilton for Mercedes came in P4 while Verstappen clawed his way back from a puncture to take P5.  

In the Sprint race on Saturday 29th June, Leclerc secured two points by finishing in seventh. Sainz came in P5, earning the team a further four points. 

“Apart from Carlos’ podium, which brings us a good points haul in the Constructors’ [Standings], the only other positive aspect of the weekend is that we were able to try various set-up configurations, producing plenty of data for the team, which will be very important for the upcoming races,” added Leclerc. “We will immediately start working hard with the aim of putting this race behind us, right from next weekend at Silverstone.” 

Read related:

F1: Charles Leclerc brings home the win at the Monaco Grand Prix


Monaco Life is produced by real multi-media journalists writing original content. See more in our free newsletter, follow our Podcasts on Spotify, and check us out on Threads,  Facebook,  Instagram,  LinkedIn and Tik Tok.  


Photo credit: Scuderia Ferrari Media Centre