Nayla Tawa, a young and adventurous woman who travels the world, has embarked on many unforgettable journeys, from hiking on glaciers in Patagonia to salsa dancing in Cuba. Last year, Nayla experienced the most life altering moment on a remote road in Kyrgyzstan. Though her intentions to make her first film were pure, life brought her a bump in the road. Just a few days into her Kyrgyzstan trip, riding in a taxi at 60mph, Nayla was caught in a turn for the worst as the driver lost control and crashed into thick trees that might as well have been a concrete wall.
With a broken back, broken sternum, and fully blown knee, being stuck in a third world country was not the ideal place to be as she waited for help in unbearable pain. Instead of an ambulance, Nayla was carried by local villagers to a “hospital” with no running water, no hygiene regulations and no adequate medication for serious injuries. Nayla courageously refused the inadequate medical treatment to protect herself and endured the pain for three days while she was duct-taped to a snowboard as a backboard. A medical plane rescued Nayla and transported her from a dirty, run-down medical center of third world Kyrgyzstan to the safe haven of the rich country of Dubai in one of the most prominent and reliable hospitals in the world.
With courage and an undeniable resiliency, Nayla has stepped back into the world with full recovery and an even greater appreciation for life with no regrets.
Nayla shared her experience with the Biggest, Baddest, Bucket List competition, presented by My Destination, in hopes of winning the prize of traveling six months in six continents of her choice with all expenses covered and an additional $50,000 cash.
Having a passion for the Sierra Nevada mountain range, Nayla featured her video in Mammoth Mountain and the adventures that she encountered there.
To learn more about Nayla, and what fuels her passion for the great outdoors, read the dramatic tale of her ill-fated trip to Kyrgyzstan, entitled, “Duct Tape and a Snowboard”
If someone asked me a year ago to describe my most memorable travel experience, I would have sat there stumped. From walking on glaciers in Patagonia, to salsa dancing in Cuba….how could I pick?
Today the answer is clear.
Any globe-trotting explorer knows that simply crossing the street can be a feat, let alone surviving a car ride. It’s part of the adventure…right??
Last year at 60 mph, on a remote road in Kyrgyzstan, three trees looked me right in the eye as I rapidly approached my destiny. I can assure you I was not thinking “it’s just part of the adventure.”
I had set off to Kyrgyzstan to make my first film. Two days later there I was severely injured on a countryside road, crying, cold, and unbelievably scared.
Car accidents are never easy. But car accidents in a third world country are a whole different story. Instead of paramedics, local villagers brought me to the nearest “hospital.” An experience that forever changed my view of the world. I was about to embark on a real-life horror story. With no hygiene, no running water, the hospital was completely ill-equipped for serious patient care.
For my safety, I had to refuse treatment and rely solely on my friends medical knowledge. After a three day struggle of pain, tears and perseverance, which included duct-taping me to a snowboard as a backboard, and screaming at the local doctors to prevent them from using intravenous pain medications, I found myself on a medical plane to Dubai. The feeling I had as I was being transferred onto this plane is one that has haunted me since. By the sheer virtue of being an American citizen, I was about to go from one of the worst medical facilities in the world, to hospitals that appeared to be of gold. Sadly, our local driver was being left behind. To this day I have a hard time describing what I felt in that moment. I had to get on that plane, but why was I any different from my taxi driver? I chose to come here, yet when disaster struck I could escape to one of the richest countries.
I felt guilty for my status in society.
Nonetheless, with a broken back, broken sternum, and fully blown knee, I needed to leave. Back in America, my voyage ended as another one began. A year long journey to heal my body to a full recovery.
It might seem strange to view my near death experience as memorable. Yet, I would not trade it for anything. It truly was a unique opportunity to grow and learn in a way that few will experience.
We always have a choice in life.
I choose to look at my Kstan Epic as a positive.
I am stronger than ever!
I am ready to finally make a film!
And remember…always pack duct tape!