Issyk-Ata Winter Camping

Close up of the mountain

In keeping up my ruse that I don’t actually work here and only travel and play, here’s some photos from my short backpacking trip to Issyk-Ata with my buddy Andrew.

Jailoo & Yurts: Our first overnighter in KG

One of the biggest reasons we are excited to be in Kyrgyzstan is to experience the beautiful nature all around us.  During the first part of PST we had a chance to go for a short hike (LINK) but that turned out to be more walking in a field then getting into the mountains.  As we’re now in phase 2 of PST and have a bit of freedom we were able to get out for a weekend so we headed towards the jailoo (Жайлоо, a high mountain pasture where Kyrgyz families take their animals in summer) above Grigorievka along with Jake, Molly, Mira & Shawn.  Shawn & Mira have been here for over a year now and were able to arrange for a taxi from the main road up the rough valley road where we expected to find yurts we could stay in.


After getting dropped off by the taxi, we head up the valley
After getting dropped off by the taxi, we head up the valley

Continue reading “Jailoo & Yurts: Our first overnighter in KG”

SE Road Trip – Key West & Dry Tortugas National Park

Although we saw a lot of cool things in the Everglades we were excited to get to Key West where an air-conditioned hotel awaited.  We soon reached the famed ‘Overwaters Highway,’ 127.5 miles of bridges and islands eventually reaching Key West.  It was a nice drive, our timing was fortunate to avoid major traffic jams.  A combination of only being 1 lane in each direct, many things to look at and terrible Florida driving often leads to a 4 hour drive from start to finish.  We reached our hotel and upon check-in learned our room was not yet ready.  However, we were quickly informed that it was happy hour and wine was complimentary so we didn’t mind the wait.  Seriously, every hotel should just offer free wine if your room isn’t yet ready.  After unpacking we drove to the airport to pick up our friend Daniel, who was joining us for the rest of our trip.  We picked him up and headed to a nearby place for dinner as a thunderstorm was passing through.  We had fun catching up, enjoyed another delicious meal (our food selection has been excellent so far this trip) and headed back to the hotel.  We walked around Key West for a bit and found some disappointing Key Lime Pie before retiring for the evening.

Our good friend Daniel joined us in Key West
Our good friend Daniel joined us in Key West

Continue reading “SE Road Trip – Key West & Dry Tortugas National Park”

West Coast Road Trip – Days 5 & 6


Los Angeles, CA to Joshua Tree National Park, CA.   173 miles, 3 hours.

Today we met with one of Taylor’s other cousins, Jeff, and his family, Miriam and Julian, for breakfast. It was so fun to reconnect with them since the last time we saw them they were about to get married in Mexico. We heard stories about their recent travels, how they met (how did we not know this?), and about Miriam’s trips to Joshua Tree, our next stop.

Sand Road in Joshua Tree
Sand Road in Joshua Tree

We got to Joshua tree around noon and went straight to our campsite. It was another amazing campsite – beautiful rocks, a fire pit (which we definitely went out of our way to buy wood for), and incredible surroundings. After setting up, we ventured farther into the park. Joshua Tree doesn’t offer a ton of hiking opportunities but there are a lot of great short walks around amazing rock formations. After driving part way around the main loop we took a detour on a sand road to a short hike. Continue reading “West Coast Road Trip – Days 5 & 6”

West Coast Road Trip – Days 1 & 2


Vancouver to Ferndale, CA.  462 miles, 12 hours.

Finally after months of anticipation, medical tests and preparations to leave, our trip is finally here!  As we make our way South; it hasn’t quite sunk in yet that we’re unemployed and leaving the country for a long time 6 weeks from now.  We find ourselves checking our phones constantly despite work email no longer being active, it’s amazing how well trained you get to certain behaviors after 7 years.  Like most road trips, this day starts out with a long drive as we’re eager to leave the familiar behind and discover new parts of the country.  We depart at 6:30am and still manage to hit traffic as we cross into Portland (something to think about if we ever move to Vancouver.) We took Highway 99 and made it all the way to Lincoln City before stopping for breakfast at the Beach Dog Café (highly recommended to anyone looking for breakfast in the area.)

Looking at the sea mounts near Bandon, OR
Looking at the sea mounts near Bandon, OR

Continuing down the Oregon coast we pass Florence, Bandon and Coos Bay, all towns Eric hasn’t seen since he was young.  They’re vaguely familiar but hard to distinguish as most beach towns seem to be.  Soon after crossing the border into California we enter the Redwoods and get a photo in front of the Continue reading “West Coast Road Trip – Days 1 & 2”