Paul led his first MIR tour in 1999, but his connection with Russia began long before. Paul first traveled to Russia and the former Soviet Union on a semester-long language program while studying Russian at Grinnell College. A few years later, he returned to live and work abroad, working on Soviet factory fishing ships as an interpreter and troubleshooter. It was here that he refined his Russian language skills and enhanced his cultural understanding of the different ethnic groups within the Soviet Union.
Paul has since led over 100 tours covering all the former Soviet republics, diverse parts of China, Mongolia, and most of Eastern Europe. Besides travel, his interests include hiking and camping, reading (especially travel books), and Russian literature.