Faces of WildChina: Yuki Chen 陈雨鑫

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If a destination is an endpoint, 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, and 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’s 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. 

Faces of WildChina: Yuki Chen 陈雨鑫
Summer in Sayram Lake, Xinjiang

Where are you from and where do you live now? 

I was born and raised in Ili, located along the banks of the Ili River, renowned for its abundant grazing lands in Xinjiang province. I went to university in Chongqing and Macau. In 2023, I moved to Chengdu where I work and live now. 

Faces of WildChina: Yuki Chen 陈雨鑫
Visiting Zhangye, Gansu

Was there a specific moment in your life when you realized travel is what you wanted to do for work? 

I really enjoy traveling, visiting new places, and meeting different people. Once during a trip, I met a traveler who was very curious about China, and he asked me why Chinese people worship dragons and what the origin of the Dragon was. I was completely stumped; I had no idea how to reply. This encounter inspired me to learn more about our history, culture, and customs, in hopes that next time I could be better equipped to offer insights to people who are interested in China.   

Faces of WildChina: Yuki Chen 陈雨鑫
Kanas, Xinjiang

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

Always be curious about the world and keep learning. This mindset helps me discover new things and create unique travel experiences for clients. Personally, this also ensures that I maintain a perpetual passion for life.  

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

I would like to say it is the experience of meeting the beautiful Kazakh minority during my travels! Every summer in my childhood, my family would head to the nearby grasslands, where we encountered nomadic Kazakh people. They were always warm-hearted and sincere. Once, they kindly invited me into their yurt, served their homemade milk tea, and offered me a taste of their handmade cheese. Their openness about their nomadic life created an intimate and unforgettable moment. Looking back, I now understand why people say that even as nomadic cultures around the world may disappear, the Kazakhs of Ili will endure. As the Kazakhs told me, “Clouds follow the mountains, and the Kazakhs follow their sheep.” 

Faces of WildChina: Yuki Chen 陈雨鑫
Visiting Minsha Sand Dunes, Dunhuang

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

Before stepping into the world of travel design, I had an internship at a hotel where I stumbled upon the opportunity to design my first itinerary for others. I met a couple who had come to China for a conference. They expressed their desire to visit Enshi during their day off, drawn by the many beautiful pictures they’d seen online, but they didn’t know how to get there. Driven by my passion for travel, I dove into research, gathered all the information, and designed a detailed three-day itinerary for their trip to Enshi. The following day when I presented them with the itinerary, they were ecstatic and profusely thanked me.  

The most memorable moment came later, when they returned from their Enshi trip. As soon as they saw me in the hotel, their faces lit up with excitement. They rushed straight over to me, gave me a big warm hug, and thanked me for the itinerary I made that enriched their experience in Enshi. That embrace remains etched in my memory as a truly unforgettable moment. 

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

As a relatively new addition to the WildChina team, onboarding for the past four months, I haven’t had the chance to create my own trips yet. However, I’ve had the pleasure of supporting my colleagues in delivering some unforgettable experiences for our travelers.  Instances that stand out are when I helped coordinate birthday surprises at hotels and arranged special rafting adventures for clients celebrating their anniversaries. The positive reviews from our guests are our WOW moments which we deeply appreciate.  

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

Engage deeply. Live like a local, communicate with the local people, and experience the local culture. By immersing yourself in the moment and place, rather than merely passing through, you open yourself up to unexpected encounters and special experiences that can enrich your journey in profound ways. There’s a saying I like: “Traveling is not about how many beautiful places you visit but about the richness of experiences you take from each place.” 

Faces of WildChina: Yuki Chen 陈雨鑫

What is your favorite place in China? 

Without question, my hometown of Ili, also known as Ghulja, holds a special place in my heart. The name means beautiful, and it is fitting in many ways, from the diverse melting pot of 47 ethnic minority cultures that call this place home to the stunning landscapes that take your breath away. Xinjiang cuisine is also heavenly. Ili is my sanctuary, it’s where my heart finds endless joy. 

Faces of WildChina: Yuki Chen 陈雨鑫
Yuki recharging in the great outdoors

Tell us three places on your travel bucket list and why (in China or worldwide): 

I have a deep passion for hiking. After spending extended periods in urban environments, I yearn to reconnect with the raw beauty of nature beneath my feet. So, my travel bucket list revolves around hiking routes that captivate my imagination. My goal is to complete these journeys on my list before the year 2030. 

  1. Wusun Ancient Trail  
  1. Maclehose Trail  
  1. Mount Kilimanjaro  
Faces of WildChina: Yuki Chen 陈雨鑫
Surfing in Hainan

What do you do when you aren’t working? (This can be family-oriented or a hobby or a sport etc.) 

Work days are also workout days for me. After work, I head to the boxing gym or my CrossFit class. Besides that, I’m a huge fan of tennis and skateboarding, although the chilly weather in Chengdu keeps me indoors for now! 

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

Despite not being particularly flexible, I have a secret passion for dancing. Every morning, I kickstart my day by playing a lively Spanish song and swaying to its rhythm, using the lively music beats as my wake-up call!