Ali's blog posts

Ali Mclean

Does the thought of sitting on a beach for a week fill you with dread? Are you the sort of person who wants to get out and explore the world but still wants to enjoy some of life’s little luxuries whilst you’re doing it?

If that sounds like you, here are three reasons why a small-ship cruise would be the perfect holiday experience for you.

Santorini Harmony V 3 Credit variety cruises


Ali Mclean

Hot Destinations For 2018

Written by Ali Mclean
Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Cold, dreary weather, post-festive season torpor, and back-to-work blues; welcome to the joys of January. How do we recommend you cure your mood?

Start planning your 2018 adventures of course!

Whale watching 1

We have a vast variety of bucket list holidays all around the world, skilfully designed by our Travel Experts with you in mind. We'll take you from the wilds of Finland to the sun-drenched island of Gozo; the fjords of Iceland and Norway to the volcanic paradise of the Azores.


Ali Mclean

If you're anything like us, you’ll have been cancelling your Sunday night plans to spend it in the comfort of your own sofa watching David Attenborough’s latest masterpiece, Blue Planet II. Whether it is marvelling at the scenery, or wondering how anything can live in the depths of the ocean, we're sure you’ll have been on the edge of your seat and wanting to head out and explore the wonders of the ocean for yourself.

With that in mind, here are three holidays to help you experience the depths of the underwater world.


Ali Mclean

We know husky sledding is high on a lot of people’s bucket list, but when you’re there in the moment, it can be quite a scary experience for the first time. Here are our top tips for husky sledding beginners:

DSC4515 22222

Here are our top tips for husky sledding beginners:


Ali Mclean

Today is the United Nation's International Day of Happiness and as expected the World Happiness Report 2017 was released. Here at Artisan Travel, we are thrilled to see that Norway was crowned the happiest country on Earth. However, we are actually not very surprised, as we can see why those who live and travel there fall in love with the magic and wonder it beholds.

Lofoten lake 02.2015 Credits Innovation Norway222

Here’s why we love Norway!


Ali Mclean

Lapland is all too often associated with thousands of families searching for a big guy with a thick, woolly beard, a jovial laugh and a propensity for dishing out gifts in late December.

However, escape the “Santa Centrals” especially in January, February and March (when Mr & Mrs Claus holiday in The Bahamas) and Lapland is a treasure trove of outdoor wonder and activity. For adults, Lapland can be exactly what you need for your winter retreat

Huskies 470credit SnowGames

©Snow Games

Here are our top 17 things to do in Lapland that don’t include Father Christmas:


Ali Mclean

Even before setting off for the Azorean island of Sao Miguel I was filled with anticipation about the prospect of swimming with dolphins in the Atlantic Ocean. I knew that it wouldn’t be a sanitised marine park experience and, as with everything involving Mother Nature, the extent of my contact with these supremely intelligent animals would be very much in the lap of the gods. It was even possible that I wouldn’t see any dolphins at all but regardless, there were a few butterflies dancing in my stomach. After all, it’s not every day you get to tick off another animals item is it?

Dolphins credit Futurismo Azores Adventures


Ali Mclean

"The next twenty years are the blink of an eye"

Quotation source: My father on my 50th birthday (thanks for that dad!) 

alinext20

I love this photograph. It may not be the greatest composition in photographic history but, for me, it sums up exactly what the Artisan Travel Company is all about.

The picture was taken in Alaska, somewhere north of the Arctic Circle on the Dalton Highway (of Ice Road Truckers fame) and it is the moment I fully realised that I had well and truly ticked off my number one bucket list item.


Ali Mclean

Cold Feet in Cold Foot

Written by Ali Mclean
Monday, 07 December 2015

Coldfoot, Alaska is a truck stop, little more. The 2010 census recorded that just 10 permanent residents live here and its name (formerly a mining camp called Slate Creek) is said to derive from a time when gold prospectors would labour this far north, get “cold feet” and head back home.

Ali Coldfoot (8)

Coldfoot - A Tiny Slice of Alaskan History

Ali Mclean

Cabin Fever in Lapland

Written by Ali Mclean
Friday, 13 November 2015

The crackle of logs burning in the stove

It has taken me an absolute age to write this blog because I can’t quite find the right words to describe the feeling of returning to a warm winter cabin after an active day spent engaged in winter’s Nordic activities. The deep snow serves to deaden noise so very often the only sound you’ll hear from outside is the wind and, on calm nights, it is almost eerily quiet beyond the doors of your wooden enclave. Inside, you get a sort of “Homestead on the Range” sensation which is enhanced by the crackle of logs burning in the stove and the creaking of the broad timbers from which the cabin is constructed.

Ali   Cabins (3)

Log cabins nestled amidst the snowy forests of Finnish Lapland

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