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5 minutes with … Ally Pinney

March 4, 2024

Introducing … Ally Pinney, Marketing Executive

Please tell us a little bit about yourself

I didn’t discover my love of travel until later in life! I had my eldest child the day before my 21st birthday so that side of my youth was gone whilst a single parent. Four children later, a few jobs later and I have fallen into a job that I adore and get to travel as part of it .. what’s not to love??

I enjoy long distance walking, after all, who wouldn’t go for a ten-mile walk just for fun? 🤣 I also enjoy reading and a sneaky game of Candy Crush – Level 14802 anyone 😮

How long have you been with Different Travel? How did you get involved?

I joined Different Travel in August 2022. I first heard about the Company in 2018 when I took on my very first overseas trek to the Sahara with the Hospice I was working for at the time.  In January 2022, I lost my mum after a short and sudden illness to lung cancer and working as a fundraiser for the Hospice, supporting fundraisers on their fundraising journey when their loved ones had died of similar illnesses became too much to handle and I saw this job advertised on the Different Travel Facebook page. I wasn’t heartily looking for a new job but thought I would apply and see what happened. As it turns out, here I am writing this post!!

What was your first Different Travel trip? What made it special?

As I had already done the Sahara trek in 2018 as a fundraiser, I was thrown in at the deep end three months after joining Different Travel as a tour manager for a group in the north of the country. Attached to this trek was a community project. Community projects are one of the experiences that attracted me to the company in the first place. Helping other people who are less fortunate has always been a big passion of mine. I started parenthood with very little and had lots of help and support along the way and now I see my time now as my time to pay it forward.

The group I went with and the project we supported, made my first Tour Manager experience one I will never forget. It was full of laughs and shared values and experiences. The whole team bonded and have forged life long friendships. At least one person, who had not met any of group before, now has more friends for life and that is a life experience I would not want to change.

What has been your most memorable Different Travel adventure to date?

This is really hard!! I have now done two Sahara treks with a project and the 100km Camino de Santiago and they are both very different treks. I think the most standout moment for me was standing at the top of Mount of Joy with 20 other wonderful people, looking down at Santiago Cathedral with myself reciting the end of pilgrimage prayer and one of the group singing Amazing Grace. A few minutes in silent reflection after this with arms around each other still brings tears to my eyes now. It was an honour to share this type of journey with such special people who were reflecting in very different ways.

My next two trips are very different; driving Tuk Tuks in Thailand and then Madagascar later this year.

If you could go on an adventure with three people (past or present, real or fictional) who would they be and why?

My mum would have to be top of my list! She said I was the inspiration she needed for her to get out and start walking long distances but, truth be told, she was mine. She was always a fighter and never gave up. She had wanted to climb Snowdon but sadly, this didn’t happen so I went with Liv last year and did it in her memory.

My daughters!  I have 3 of them but I will count them as one for this purpose. I also have a granddaughter so let’s add her to this also. I hope I have shown them that anything is possible and I would love to share a travel journey with them. They are all strong, young women in their own right and I hope I am paving the way for them and other young women that you can do this, no matter what anyone says.

This might be a bit of a strange one but Monty Don! I have turned into a bit of a plant lover since we had our lockdowns! I have subscribed to Gardeners World and watch the programme each week waiting for my “Jobs for the Weekend”. He has such a soothing voice and I’d love to travel with him and learn more about the various exotic plants around the world!

What is your ultimate dream destination?

Australia! Me and my bones love the heat and I can’t do cold climates!

Which Different Travel adventure appeals to you, and why?

The only ones that don’t appeal are cold climates! Having said that, I’d love to Kilimanjaro and Everest Base Camp but got diagnosed with mild asthma after getting Covid last year so not sure my lungs could take it!!

What do you love about working with Different Travel

My job is so varied! I look after the website, the statistics, newsletters, deliver presentations, our tour managers and so much more but the one thing I love the most is working with charities I look after! Their fundraisers are such inspiring individuals and each have their own story to tell.

I get to meet so many different people along the way whether it’s the charity’s fundraising manager, the fundraisers themselves, our crews overseas who guide our awesome treks and even our tour managers who really help to bring our trips alive.

I work alongside and awesome bunch of people and we all value the same thing – helping individuals reach their goal.

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