Faces of WildChina: Alice Zhang 张艾 

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If a destination is an end point, then the journey is the people you encounter along the way. They are what change “good” to “great”, “standard” to “extraordinary”, and “memorable” to “life-changing”.

Behind the smiling profile picture, the corporate email signature, the branded name tag, beats the true heart of WildChina; a vigorous network of personalities, dreams, and experiences driving magic and life through the company veins. 

So, meet the fairy godmothers(fathers) who take your China travel dreams, and not only grant them, but sprinkle a dusting of surprise throughout, so that even when you think you know what your Wildest dream looks like, something you didn’t even know existed is waiting to amaze. 

Meet Alice Zhang

Where are you from and where do you live now?

 I was born and raised in a small town in Chongqing, known as the hotpot city. After spending a few years studying and working in Shandong Province and Beijing, I moved to Chengdu where I currently reside. 

Was there a specific moment in your life when you realized travel is what you wanted to do for work? If so tell us about it. 

The moment that I first stumbled upon WildChina’s website years ago. I was intrigued by the company and the content on the website. I hadn’t seen any other travel companies like this before. That’s when I made up my mind – I wanted to work specifically at WildChina.  

Through your career, was there one piece of advice you received that really impacted how you do your job? 

At the beginning of the pandemic, everyone in the travel industry was struggling. We had many booking cancellations or postponements, and it was a difficult time for all of us. I remember one agent I worked with sent me an email sharing some encouraging words, and it deeply touched me. She wrote “I started writing a list of things that I’m grateful for, one of the things was working with people like you”. That really helped me to keep going on this path. Our work goes beyond providing travel services, it’s about building sincere connections with people. 

Faces of WildChina: Alice Zhang 张艾 
Alice in Jiuzhaigou

What is the best travel experience you’ve had so far?

The best travel experience I had so far was when I hitchhiked along the Silk Road with my friends years ago. It was the first and only time I did something like that. While traveling from Akushu to Kashgar, we waited for hours and hours under the scorching summer sun, and there were barely any vehicles passing by on that road. Finally, a local driver stopped and offered us a ride. He even invited us to stay at his home for a couple of days. That was one of the best experiences I had during that trip.  

What is the most memorable trip you’ve planned for a traveler ? 

I had a repeat client who traveled with us nine times in China over the pandemic. Although it was because of the difficulty of traveling abroad at that time, I am very proud of organizing trips for this client. The very first time she traveled with us was in June 2022, just after everything seemed to have calmed down after the “silent months.”  She was my first guest since the outbreak of the pandemic. Back at that time, everything felt uncertain, and travel policies were yet to be issued. We were very careful with planning and arranging everything, but we were still very excited that they could finally travel after nearly three months of lockdown. I later met them in person while they visited Chengdu, and we enjoyed a cup of tea  at the People’s Park tea house. It was during that time that I felt I was building a real connection and trust with my clients.  

Hitchhiking along the Silk Road

What is the coolest WOW moment you’ve done for a traveler?  

The most recent one was organizing a birthday surprise lunch for a client. I noticed that the last day of the trip was the client’s birthday. Considering the limited time on the departure day, I was thinking about planning  something special for him the day before. One of the family members reached out to me,  and we decided to prepare a surprise picnic lunch. That morning they had some light touring. After crossing the Yellow River and strolling through the  early spring woods, they arrived at a picturesque spot where a birthday table was set up for them. The birthday client who remained completely unaware of the surprise picnic was positively delighted by the unexpected setup.  

If you had to pick one thing that makes a trip outstanding (not just good, but great), what would it be?

Attention to the details, that is what makes a trip outstanding. 

Alice at Wensu Grand Canyon
Alice at Wensu Grand Canyon

Tell us three places on your travel bucket list and why:  

My top three places are:

  1. Egypt. I’m fascinated by Egypt’s mysterious allure and rich history. 
  1. Shanxi province in China. This province is renowned for its numerous ancient architectural treasures, particularly the Yingxian Wood Pagoda. 
  1. The Trans-Siberian Railway from China to Europe. This journey would be a very cool once-in-a-life-time experience, and a great opportunity to enjoy different landscapes along the way. 

What do you do when you aren’t working?  

When I’m not working, I enjoy light hiking in the nearby mountains, singing, and exploring the city.

What’s a fun fact about you that most people don’t know?

A fun fact about me that people don’t know is that I love singing. I used to be the lead singer in a small local band, and I also participated in an accapella group and a choir.