Who Am I?
My name is Ali Jennings – or Ali Reacher, a name I have acquired recently; more on that later – and I’m a freelance writer, proofreader and online teacher. After spending the last seven-and-a-half years living in Central Europe, I recently made a move and am about to embark on what is hopefully a two-year jaunt around the globe, making the most of the freedom of working online and becoming what is commonly known as a ‘digital nomad’.
I grew up in Doncaster, UK, and spent most of my childhood dreaming of far-away places and desperately longed for the day that I could leave. At last that day arrived and I haven’t looked back. I rarely go back to the UK, as I feel my real home is on the road.
Why The Blog?
I began writing as a hobby in 2013 and have dabbled in many areas, such as fiction writing, journalism and travel writing. I have had travel articles published on various sites, and have finally decided that I should have one place where my articles can be read. In the past few months I have been on the move more and more, and this looks to only increase in the near future: rather than slowing down the older I get, I seem to want to travel more and more.
In the past I’ve generally had pretty standard jobs, working regular hours for regular salaries. Now I’m in a position to work wherever I want, whenever I want, therefore I can go wherever I want. And so the travel blog makes sense: as well as informing other people about the places that I go to, it can also serve as a reminder for myself of the places I’ve been. As well as travel features, I’m also going to be writing some opinion pieces on various aspects of the travelling experience, in homage to my days as a journalist. Opinion editorial and social commentary have always been my favourite things to write about, so it seemed fitting that I should incorporate it into the blog.
When Did I Start Travelling, And Where Have I Been?
Of course I travelled with my parents when I was younger, to France and Spain mostly, but I went on my first overseas trip outside of Europe in 2004, travelling around Egypt. It was a great experience, and one that I knew would be repeated again and again throughout my life.
So, where have I been? Not as many places as I’d like, is the honest answer to that question! I’ve travelled to around 30 countries, most extensively in Europe but also further afield, including India, Egypt, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.
Why Up Ali’s Alley? And what’s Reacher got to do with anything?
The name ‘Up Ali’s Alley’ came from a conversation I had with someone I worked with in a hostel in Olomouc whilst discussing the possibility of my owning my own hostel in the future. This friend said as part of the conversation, ‘That would up your alley… hey, Up Ali’s Alley!’. Cue childish giggling from the pair of us. Well, it doesn’t look like I’ll be owning a hostel anytime soon, owing to the fact that hostels tend to stay in one place, whereas I don’t, but the name seemed a good one, so I’m using it for this blog.
The nickname ‘Ali Reacher’ came about very recently. In April 2017 I was best woman at one of my best friend’s wedding, and, as normally happens in these situations, people asked me where I lived. Of course, this question at this present time doesn’t have a particular answer; I have no fixed abode and go where I please. When this was explained to my friend’s dad, he apparently exclaimed, ‘Oh, like Jack Reacher!’. I then had to ask another friend who Jack Reacher was (I had obviously heard of him but never read the books or seen the film), and it sounded pretty cool. And in that short time, the name has stuck.