I realize things have been unusually quiet around here since September, but as is often the case the more I find myself traveling the less free time I seem to have to write travel blog posts. I’ve been in and out of Bishkek over the past month, researching and getting permits for an ongoing project on Snow Leopard Conservation in Kyrgyzstan as well as taking some short trips for my job here.
In case I haven’t mentioned it before, I’m the Editor-in-Chief of a magazine here in Bishkek and we just finished up our Fall 2014 issue. Even if I haven’t been writing much here during the past month, I’ve been active on Instagram trying to post one or more photos each day. Some are looking back towards recent travels in Kyrgyzstan, some are quick snapshots from daily life here, and others are looking forward to a trip to Turkey I’ll be taking in mid-November. If you don’t have the patience to wait for almost-weekly posts on MonkBoughtLunch, make sure you follow me on Instagram for that daily dose of photos I’ve taken!
It’s the first ever International Snow Leopard Day, because they’re a) awesome, b) nice to look at and c) very, very threatened as a species. There are only around 5,000 of them left in the wild (although the exact number is unknown). This rare snow leopard snapshot was taken by photographer @slioy at the Wild Animal Rehabilitation Center in Kyrgyzstan, one of 12 countries where they live in the wild. To help them out, head over to the World Wildlife Foundation (http://www.worldwildlife.org/species/snow-leopard). #snow #leopards #nowthis
My most popular photo on Instagram in October was by far this shot for International Snow Leopard Day on October 23rd. Posted on the NowThisNews account, it picked up nearly 1,700 likes. Snow Leopard Conservation in Kyrgyzstan is an ongoing story I’m working on, with a couple of angles already researched and a few more still to pursue. Snow Leopard Portraiture was also the most popular on my own Instagram feed, but with a significantly smaller audience the 64 likes seems a bit sparse by comparison!
Have I mentioned before that #SnowLeopards are pretty much the best thing ever? Well, today I’ll mention it again since October 23rd is International Snow Leopard Day to mark the signing of the #Bishkek declaration on this date last year. More on Snow Leopard #Conservation in the next few weeks, check back here and on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/StephenLioyTravelMedia #nature #animals #kyrgyzstan #travel #centralasia #cats #animalsofinstagram #bigcat #DSLR #Latergram #Travelgram A photo posted by Stephen Lioy (@slioy) on
I just returned this weekend from a trip with the Snow Leopard Trust office here in Bishkek going deep into the mountains of the Central Tian Shan to visit one of their Snow Leopard Enterprises communities – in fact so far from the capital that it sits nearly on the border with China. This next photo is from earlier this year, on a quick trip to Ala Archa National Park just outside of Bishkek, but I can assure you that at the higher elevations the mountains already look like this – winter is well on the way both in Bishkek and the regions.
I’m headed off today for a trip way up into the #mountains of #Kyrgyzstan, to an area of I’ve never been before, to do a bit more research on #SnowLeopard conservation here. I’m going to try not to freeze at night, you enjoy this #latergram photo from Ala-Archa National Park from the end of last winter. Snowy mountains, clear skies, and good hiking partners; all the things a good Kyrgyz #winter needs! #DSLR #CentralAsia #Snow #Hiking #Travel #Travelgram #Nature
Luckily for me, I’m also heading out at the end of this week on a working trip to Turkey. The coffee is hot and strong, the coast will hopefully have a couple of nice warm days for me while I’m there, and barring that at least there are plenty of underground ruins to visit in Istanbul where the sun never reaches and the rain never falls. I’ll be mostly in and around Antalya, though with a few days in Istanbul (one of my favorite world cities) at the end of the trip, so should be able to post photos to my Instagram and Facebook page along the way.
One of the great joys of being in #Istanbul for me is, of course, the wealth of historic #architecture and the massively photogenic nature of it all. The Basilica Cistern, a #Roman era structure just near Hagia Sophia, is super popular with tourists and crowded most of the day. There’s a special half hour though, between when they stop admitting tourists and when it actually closes, that the masses disappear and silence takes hold of the cavernous chamber. #Turkey #Travel #Travelgram #Reflections #History #Latergram #DSLR
A photo posted by Stephen Lioy (@slioy) on
No matter the day or hour, anytime in #Istanbul is the right time for a #coffee. I’m not one for souvenirs, but picking up a pot to make Turkish coffee when I’m in the US has been one of the better (and most self-serving!) gifts I’ve given anyone in a long time. #Turkey #Travel #Travelgram #DSLR #Latergram A photo posted by Stephen Lioy (@slioy) on
Finally, and very #Latergram, a couple of shots from road-tripping down the Pamir Highway in June of 2012. It seems amazing that my first long-term trip through all of Central Asia was already several years back, but the region continues to delight in terms of both photography and adventure and so I expect I’ll be sticking around for a while yet!
A photo posted by Stephen Lioy (@slioy) on
Deep in the heart of the #Pamir #Mountains , the Vrang Stupa stands watch over the #Wakhan Corridor as it has for over 1600 years. This is one of many relics that dots this boundary valley between #Tajikistan and #Afghanistan . #Travel #Travelgram #CentralAsia #latergram #DSLR A photo posted by Stephen Lioy (@slioy) on
So, that was October. Here’s hoping November and December stay just as exciting or, barring that, at least as picturesque.