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About Explore Meet the Team Product Ali Butler

Ali Butler

Cycling and Self-Guided Product Manager

Favourite holiday destination?

Without a doubt my favourite place in the world is Alaska: the great outdoors, wonderful, snowy mountain backdrops and wildlife to rival any African safari. I was lucky enough to spend a summer there leading Explore tours and out of all the places I worked this is the one I’d go back to in a heartbeat. The people are so friendly, but it’s the nature and wildlife that make Alaska special. I would recommend going early in the season just after the snow-melt as there are fewer mosquitos and a good chance of seeing bears as they come out of hibernation. Hiking in the Wrangle-St. Elias National Park is remote, pristine wilderness with the dramatic backdrop of the Saint Elias Mountains. For an off-the-beaten-track adventure it doesn’t get much better than this!

What essentials do you pack before you go on holiday? 

Ear plugs and eye mask - you never know what unwanted light or noise you might want to block out.  They come in handy on planes, long bus journeys or in hotels. It’s amazing how much more you enjoy travelling if you’ve been able to have a good night’s sleep!

Best trip you have created and why?       

Trekking the Transylvania Alps (TTA) - they are right on our doorstep (easy and cheap to get to), offer stunning Alpine scenery, friendly locals and delicious hearty food. Relatively unknown so unlikely you’ll see other tourists.

If money was no object, where in the world would you go, what would you do and why?                

I’d head to the South Pacific Islands to dive the SS President Coolidge wreck and surrounding Marine Reserve off Santo, Northern Vanuatu. The underwater world has always fascinated me, beautiful coral and tropical fish along with the mighty whale shark and giant manta rays.  I would also go to Easter Island to see the Moai.

What’s the recipe for a good trip?             

Being flexible, having good company and packing light.

What’s the best travel tip you have ever been given?     

Take a sense of humour with you.

What did you do before you became a Product Manager at Explore?       

After studying travel and tourism at university I became a travel agent for one of the TUI brands. After doing this for while I realised there were so many more travel experiences I wanted to have so became a Tour Leader.

If you could only travel on one type of transport what would it be?           

Bike of course! I love to see a country under my own steam and feel much more connected to my surroundings than if I was using motorised transport.

Favourite cycling experience?  

My mum and I cycled up a rather large hill from Carpentras to Gordes in Provence. When we reached Gordes we explored the lovely local street market and bought some picnic supplies of fresh artisan bread, local cheese and cured meats. Then we cycled through orchards (where we may have acquired more lunch supplies!), on to Fontaine-de-Vaucluse for a picture-perfect riverside lunch stop.

Where would you like to go next and why?          

I would like to cycle coast-to-coast from Whitehaven to Tynemouth. I want to see if I can cross England under my own steam and look forward to the beautiful scenery (if not the hills!) of the Lake District and North Pennines along the way.

Travel highlight / twist in 2016 and why?                                                                                                          

After some questionable navigation (my husband insisted he was right!) and a long day hiking the Kitzb├╝hler Horn in Austria, we stumbled across a mountain hut serving ice cold beer and Wiener Schnitzel. It made for a truly memorable, well deserved - albeit very late - lunch stop, with stunning views of the Kitzb├╝hel Alps.  

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