HOUGHTON - Many people dream of traveling the world, but few people make that dream a reality to the same extent as 20-year-old Houghton native Jordan Moore.
In early October Moore booked an Oct. 31 one-way flight to Bangkok, Thailand, to pursue an adventure satisfying both his cultural curiosity and his passion for climbing. Earlier this week, Moore departed to climb in the Himalaya Mountains, where he will be out of contact for three weeks.
"I think what drives me to continue traveling is my thirst to understand the world and its people," Moore said in an email interview (phone issues prevented an international call) Wednesday, the day before he left for the mountains. "Every time I go somewhere new I feel like I take something new away from it, and those lessons simply can't be taught in a classroom. I'm 20 years old now and don't plan on stopping any time soon."
He plans to stay in Nepal through mid April before returning to his sister Lauren's home in Boulder, Colo., but only long enough to make enough money for his next journey. Moore spent the first 17 years of his life in Houghton before moving to Colorado to pursue climbing opportunities.
"Those climbing adventures are what inspired the wanderlust that put me on the traveling path I'm on," Moore said. "I wanted to climb around the world, experiencing unique cultures along the way."
And that's exactly what he's done since October, documenting as much of the adventure as he can on his blog, siamkingdom.blogspot.com.
The idea for his current trip came from a friend during a Christmas party in 2011. He bought his ticket in February 2012, acquired "a series of annoyingly expensive vaccinations" and flew out in October with a backpack with climbing gear, "a pathetic amount of clothes" and a very flexible plan.
In Thailand Moore sought out a peninsula off the southern coast where rock climbers often congregate to scale the steep limestone cliffs. He loved Tonsai Beach so much he stayed for three weeks, starting in a private bungalow costing 250 baht (about $8) a night. He also found a climbing partner, Charlie, to travel with to his other destinations.
"Tonsai beach was an excellent place to start our travels through asia (sic)," Moore recounted in a Nov. 23 blog post. "It is some what (sic) of a cultural bubble in the sense that there are far more tourists than thai (sic) locals."
From there, though, he and Charlie flew to Hong Kong, China, before traveling to Yangshuo in the Guangxi province.
"Yangshuo was a land of delicious food, fantastic climbing on awe-inspiring rock arches and incredible people," Moore said in the interview.
Charlie had to return home, though, and Moore was on his own. He took a train to Vietnam, but couldn't find like-minded travel partners or locals as welcoming as those in China, and he left within a week.
To remedy the loneliness his travels took him to Laos, where he met back up with climbing friends from China. After a few weeks there, he made his way back to Bangkok, interacting with a hill tribe in northern Thailand, before getting back to the airport and flying to India on Jan. 21.
"That was like a whole new culture shock from Asia," Moore said. "The Indian people have the ability to infuriate you with the lack of personal boundaries but also cause you to laugh with their constantly uplifted spirit. The Indian people have so much love for one another its incredible. If you were to put 1.2 billion Americans in the spaces Indian people live in there we would rip each other apart.
"To say the least India was a hard country to cope with, but has forever changed me."
Most of his time there was spent rock climbing in souther Indian, but he also made it to the Taj Mahal - "it was such a surreal experience," he said - and other sights.
After about a month, though, it was time for (another) change of scenery, so Moore took the Indian railways north to Nepal, where he planned an ambitious Himalaya climbing itinerary with his friend Phil from an outdoor guiding company in southern India.
Tuesday afternoon he posted his last blog entry from Kathmandu, a day after he and Phil met with some Sherpas, one who had climbed Mt. Everest eight times. Toward the end of this week they had planned to hike from village to village through the mountains to the remote base camp of the world-renowned Kanjanjunga (or Kangchenjunga) region of the Himalayas.
Specifically, they'll be climbing the 6,114-meter tall Mt. Bokta, which "should present the sort of adventure I crave," Moore said in his last blog post, particularly the nearly vertical ice climbing section near the summit.
He plans to return to Colorado in mid April to raise more money for his next trip, which will likely take place next fall through the American west, while sleeping in the back of his Ranger.
To continue following Moore's journey and read his previous 25 trip blog posts, visit siamkingdom.blogspot.com.