My KG: Alex Johnson: Kyrgyz Republic Has So Much to Offer as an Underdiscovered Destination
GO KG is launching My KG section, where guests from different parts of the world will tell us more about their time and experience in Kyrgyz Republic. We've already had a chance to ask some questions to Olivier Le Blanc, international development and humanitarian affairs expert from Montreal now living in Bishkek. Or Mohamed Elbangy, 24-year-old student from Egypt, who has traveled throughout Kyrgyz Republic.
'My office job is better than yours!' says the caption of a photo of a beautiful landscape on Alex's Facebook page. Please meet Alex Johnson, a person, who has made a significant contribution to the development of tourism in Kyrgyz Republic by being a volunteer and sharing his knowledge with local service providers in tourism. Alex has also assisted a number of local travel businesses teaching them how to use social media and resources like TripAdvisor and Google Maps. We've had a change to ask some questions to Alex too.
How did you end up in Kyrgyz Republic first place? How long have you been living here?
I was assigned to come to Kyrgyz Republic by the United States Peace Corps as a volunteer that specialized on Sustainable Community Development. My responsibilities included advising local tourism businesses on how to become more sustainable and how to promote their services to the end clients. It was a great fit for me! I love being in the outdoors and Kyrgyz Republic is an amazing place to explore! I have been living here for almost three years now without any trips back to the United States. It’s simple, I like it here. When you have good friends and lots of work, time goes fast. I find it amazing that I have been here so long.
Do you remember your first impression of Kyrgyz Republic?
My first impression was getting off the airplane and taking a large tour bus to the shores of Lake Issyk-Kul. I watched the sunrise over the mountains and I knew I wanted to live there! I really enjoyed it and then I knew I would be in Kyrgyz Republic for a while.
We know your contribution to the development of tourism in Kyrgyz Republic has been your passion for the last few years. Why did you stay here to do that instead of, say, having a career back in states?
The work I have here in Kyrgyz Republic is meaningful and interesting for me. Kyrgyz Republic has so much to offer as an underdiscovered destination. In most parts of the world it’s not possible to explore a new place or discover something new. Kyrgyz Republic is all about that, which I find very interesting.
I can always go back to the West to find a well-paid job, but money is not my key goal in life. I want to be able to watch the sun rise and know that the work I’m doing is meaningful and that it makes a positive impact.
You've certainly traveled a lot throughout the country, what's your favorite place?
I have seen many places here and it’s amazing there are so many differences between the landscapes and the people. I have many favorite places in Kyrgyz Republic, but I would say my favorite place would be at the Karakol Ski Resort. There is a secret run, where a person can have a panoramic view of the whole ski base and of Karakol. There are many other amazing places in the country, but I would say that’s my favorite one right now.
What are your plans now, what have you been up to lately?
I have partnered with Kalpak Travel to bring clients to Central Asia. I’m very excited to bring clients to Kyrgyz Republic and especially to show them Kyrgyz culture and traditions. It’s always a challenge for a tourist to find the right places with only ten or twelve days in Kyrgyz Republic and it's my passion to connect tourists to local service providers.