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    Welcome to Authentic Journeys - ഓതെന്റിക് ജെർനീയ്സ് - US-India Cross-Cultural Training

January 9, 2020

2019 Flashback: Hiking, Cycling, and Having Fun at Work

Congratulations... You have made it into 2020!! 

At the end of every year, looking back on milestones can help motivate us to see what we have achieved and also help us to prepare our mind and motivate us for the year ahead.  

Hope you had a great year in 2019!! I had a great year personally and professionally as the Managing Director and coach of Authentic Journeys. I thought I'd use this post as a platform to shoot the breeze with you about some of the cool things I experienced in 2019. Feel free to browse and comment on this post with some of your amazing accomplishments or memorable events of 2019.


Personal Fitness Accomplishments of 2019

Anyone who follows me on Facebook knows 2019 marked the year I started going to the gym regularly, for the most part. Going to the gym helped me achieve other fitness activities in the great outdoors of Utah in cycling and hiking. 

Hiking in Utah

In 2019, my husband and I hiked 65.8 miles on 36 trails. The average trail was two miles, with the longest being five miles. Though it was tough, I'm selecting the top 3 hiking trails of 2019 in Utah. 


Living Room Trail in Salt Lake City
Living Room Trail in Salt Lake City with my husband, Krishna.
2.5 miles, 984 feet elevation gain.
See our trail recording and pictures at AllTrails.
Bryce Canyon National Park- Bryce Traverse Trail
Bryce Canyon National Park- Bryce Traverse Trail
4.6 miles, 1,007 feet elevation gain
This trail is perfect to do when the shuttle runs. We parked at Bryce Point, did the hike, then took the shuttle from Sunset Campground back to Bryce Point. (Don't forget to take water, sunscreen and snacks.) This was a hike we have wanted to do for a long time, so it was fun. Plus, you get to see most of the canyon floor in this hike. I'd suggest to start as early in the morning as possible. By the way, I am the 'ant' in the photo above walking down into the canyon. See our hike gpx and more photos at AllTrails.
Hickman Bridge, Capitol Reef National Park
Hickman Bridge, Capitol Reef National Park, Torrey, Utah
2.2 miles, 479 feet elevation gain
This picture, taken by my husband during the hike, really gives the true feel of what you see and experience here. If you click on the larger size, can you find me in the photo? This is a huge arch and just makes you feel so humble and awe inspired. I'd like to go here again. We did this hike on the long weekend we had on July 4th, and ran out of time before sunset. I'd like to go maybe in the spring or fall when it's cooler, so we can spend more time here.
See more photos of the trail and our trail gpx at AllTrails.
Monarch Cave, Anasazi Ruins in SE Utah
Monarch Cave, Anasazi Ruins in SE Utah
We have explored a few of the Native American ruins in South East Utah near Bluff and bordering the Bears Ears National Monument. Two things are always guaranteed, being fascinated by how these structures came to be and how people got up into these alcoves and caves that tend to be built high up into the rock cliff face (this particular ruin was easier to get up into than most) and that we will always miss something on the trail we find out about later and want to go back again.
Lower Bells Canyon
Lower Bells Canyon
Gaining 500 feet in about a mile is no walk in the park! Going up and down posed their own challenges. I would like to try this hike again. This is closer to Sandy, Utah (south of Salt Lake City). 
Sand Dune Arch Loop Hike, Arches National Park
Sand Dune Arch Loop Hike, Arches National Park
We completed the Sand Dune, Tapestry and Broken Arch hikes into a loop hike of about 3.5 miles with 318 feet elevation gain. This is an incredible hike which you will really feel a bang for your buck (or so many cool arches in a short period of time with little elevation gain). To top this, the scenery just blows your mind. To see more pictures of the arches and exotic desert landscapes, see our recording and images at All Trails.

Night Hiking

This was the first year we did night hiking, albeit these hikes were short and sweet from  a distance perspective. These four photos were taken in National Parks (rounding out our visit to all of the Mighty 5 - Canyonlands, Arches, Capitol Reef, Zion and Bryce). All these photos were taken by my husband, Krishna. Would you believe that the photo that looks like it's sunny out was actually taken at midnight? What looks like the sun, well, that's actually the MOON! I think that was a full moon night. Walking out that night was fun and not scary because you could see by just the moon light. The others were taken in a moonless sky. We used a headlamp to get to the spot. It was pitch black and scary. The Double Arch Trail is easy to follow without gps. But, the Mesa Arch and Skyline Arch trails are a bit more challenging. We downloaded the gpx map in town before going in. Each of these walks or hikes started and ended in the dark/after sunset (between 11pm -1am). Skylight Arch is the only trail we did in the dark without ever doing it in the daylight. Each photo will be marked with the location if you are interested.


Double Arch at Arches National Park on a moonless night
Photograph of Double Arch at Arches National Park on a moonless night at midnight.
Skyline Arch, Arches National Park Night Photography
Skyline Arch, Arches National Park
This hike was unlike any of the others because this was the only hike we had never been on in daylight hours in the past. To this day, we have not done this hike during the daytime. It freaked me out as it was a moonless night and there were lots of noises!! It's not a long hike, but in the dark, especially if you are afraid of the dark, like me, it feels long and scary!
Mesa Arch, Canyonlands National Park
Mesa Arch, Canyonlands National Park
This photo, probably taken around 10 pm was an incredible starry night journey. Though we have been on this trail 5 or 6 times in the past during the day, we downloaded the gpx of the trail on AllTrails in town become coming into the park (where there is little to no cell phone service). This helped us follow the trail in to the arch and back to the car. We were the only ones out here... again it was a bit spooky for me, but this photo is a great tribute to that hike. 
Turret Arch on a Moonlit Night
Turret Arch on a Moonlit Night
Would you believe this photo was taken around midnight? Looking at it quickly, it looks like the sun is out, but it's really the moon! Arches National Park, where this arch is, and other National Parks (at least in Utah) are open 24 hours a day.

Cycling in Utah and Wyoming

The cycling accomplishments shown in this section are my own personal accomplishments, not being a part of a public cycling event.

Cycling at Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Looking for a unique cycling adventure that is easy and fun? Come to Grand Tetons during April when they close the entire length of the park road to motorized traffic. It's an incredible ride with very little elevation gain. The entire length of the road one way is about 15 miles, maybe with 400 feet elevation gain, but there are no tall hills on this route. Though it's snowy, if its sunny out, you can heat up real fast due to the fact that it doesn't tend to get humid here. However, keep in mind there are parts of the road that may not have portapotties or toilets. Ask at the Visitor Center in advance. Carry your own water and snacks. In 2019, the memorable aspect of this ride was that we did finish the entire road (in two sections over two days). See our recordings from 2019 and 2018 at All Trails.
Cycling: Snow Canyon State Park and the Snow Canyon Loop
Cycling in St. George, Utah - Snow Canyon State Park and the Snow Canyon Loop. Riding in Snow Canyon on the Whiptail Trail is a little challenging for new(er) cyclists (like me). In such cases, riding on the park road where cars drive will make the ride easier. Riding on the Snow Canyon Loop trail, there are many challenging climbs, especially on the route 18 side. Possibly, since the multi use paved trail is so challenging, we see many riding on the road, which has it's own challenges. This photo of me was taken on that multi use trail along route 18. That was so hard, I had to walk the bike quite a bit, up the steeper hills. The other side of the Snow Canyon Loop on East Snow Canyon Parkway is a much easier trail with one or two small hills. This side of the trail is more residential, where as the route 18 side is less populated with homes and makes you feel like you may be on Mars, especially if you are riding during sunrise or sunset. St. George is not too far from Las Vegas, if you are on a trip to Vegas and want to change your scenery, come to Snow Canyon State Park in St. George or Zion National Park (East of St. George and Snow Canyon).  Some more recordings and photos of our Snow Canyon area rides at All Trails found here.
Cycling in Arches National Park
Cycling in Arches National Park
Listen to the podcast where I talk more about this experience!
Hubby's Cycling Accomplishments
I also want to share some of the accomplishments of my husband in 2019. He entered about 8-9 rides and rallies around Utah. The photos of the rides below are not of the rallies, but of rides he did on his own. I was so excited he got a chance to do these rides. These rides are tough because they would have steep elevation gains, ones that I am not ready for yet.

Capitol Reef National Park Scenic Drive and Capitol Gorge Cycling
Capitol Reef National Park Scenic Drive and Capitol Gorge
This 22 mile round trip ride (about 800 feet elevation gain) has about 3-4 miles of dirt bike riding through an amazing gorge that cars can also travel on. See more photos of this ride at All Trails.
Cycling at Kolob Canyon, Zion National Park
Kolob Canyon, Zion National Park
This 10 mile round trip bike ride has an elevation gain of 1400 feet. The scenery here is incredible!
Cycling on the Park Road in Bryce Canyon National Park
Park Road in Bryce Canyon National Park
This road cycling adventure was a 39 mile round trip with a 2200 feet elevation gain.  This photo was taken at the Natural Bridge viewpoint.
Riding Bike on Little Cottonwood Canyon, Salt Lake City, Utah
Little Cottonwood Canyon, Salt Lake City, Utah
This 16 mile round trip ride was on a heavily trafficked road which takes you up the canyon to ski resorts. Riding 8 miles up, one gains 3300 feet elevation. This is not for the faint at heart. The view you see from the handle bars is Salt Lake Valley from Little Cottonwood Canyon.
Krishna finished the Tour of Utah Ultimate Challenge Ride. Isn't he awesome!?

Couples Ride Accomplishments

In 2019, my husband and I completed two public bike rallies together. These were incredible experiences in Utah! 

Tour of St. George Fall 2019,  35.9 miles, 1468 feet elevation gain.
Listen to an ESL podcast about this event!
Salt Lake City Marathon
Salt Lake City Marathon, Bike Tour Finishers. 26 miles, 900 feet elevation gain.
Professional Events and Accomplishments 2019
Now that I have mostly exhausted you with our hiking and cycling (and, that was only part of it!), I will share some of my professional memories of 2019.

Visit to India and Networking

In May 2019, we spent a few weeks in Kochi, India mostly for family events, but also I snuck in a little but of other fun through work! See some of the images below to see what fun I had working in Kerala, India in 2019.

NRI TBI Office Visit
NRI TBI Office Visit
Authentic Journeys Consultancy Pvt. Ltd. has a virtual office in Infopark at NRI TBI in the Thapasya Building. I met with Christy Thomas to share updates about our work.
World Trade Center, Kochi
World Trade Center, Kochi
House of Communication
I had a long talk with the captivating Jisha JS and Saneesh Salim of House of Communication at BNI Synergy in Le Meridien. 
Thomas Zachariah, BNI Synergy
I finally got to meet Thomas Zachariah (of Aabasoft) who also invited me to the at BNI Synergy meeting in Le Meridien.
Third Wave team based in Thapasya Building, Infopark.
Third Wave team based in Thapasya Building, Infopark. 
Praveen Nair
Praveen Nair, who works in Orion in the Lulu Cybertower.
Codework Solutions team based in Thapasya Building, Infopark
Codework Solutions team based in Thapasya Building, Infopark


Programs and Training Planning 

I met with partners are Advenser Engineering Services in Cochin Special Economic Zone (CSEZ) and Cabot Solutions in Infopark to discuss and deliver training. I appreciate your support and encouragement all throughout! 


Advenser Engineering Services - Specializing in CAD and BIM
US Culture Training for Teams in India
Working with US Americans on Virtual Teams Seminar at Advenser. Helping teams in India understand what makes Americans tick and how to effectively build relationships across cultures.


Advenser Team Photo


The class at Advenser is ready and happy!!

Cabot Solutions - Custom Software Development Specialists 
Team Cabot Solutions
I was excited to meet the team in person that I had been meeting with online. 
The Management Team Cabot Solutions
The Management Team Cabot Solutions



I also attended a panel discussion in January 2019 in India, virtually. This was the first time I had ever done anything like this! I was on big screen sharing ideas with some leading thought leaders in Kochi, India. Thank you to the Vijayee Bhava Alumni for this one of a kind experience!

Vijayee Bhava Alumni


Vijayee Bhava Alumni


Training Accomplishments

231- that's the number of professionals I trained in 2019 over the Internet in a live, online classroom. Naysayers told me I couldn't do it. That clients, especially in India, wouldn't sign up. Well, 231 is no small number! More fun facts - 2019 Authentic Journeys' Stats:
  1. 156 of the 168 training hours with professionals in India took place online!
  2. The total number of people I trained last year was 318, so roughly 73% or 3/4 of my work was done virtually. I think that's pretty good!
  3. 77% of the participants were from India. The remainder were from the US (20%) and other (3%).
  4. Cities represented in India: Bangalore, Delhi, Kochi, Trivandrum, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Hyderabad
  5. Only 2 programs I delivered were more than 25 people. 90% of the programs were one on one or small group coaching of 4-8 individuals.

View the Authentic Journeys Training Map

This map shows where our participants have attended our programs in India since 2011. Click on the city to see the stats.


Networking and Programs in the US

I was blessed to have an opportunity to deliver a talk at the University of Utah to the MBA students on working abroad as an expat. I also was active in several networking events through the World Trade Center, Utah as catalogued through pictures below.

Guest Speaker, University of Utah
Talk on Being a Successful Expat to the eMBA students at the University of Utah. 
Doing Business with India, via the World Trade Center, Utah
Read more about this event - Doing Business with India, via the World Trade Center, Utah


Doing Business with Romania
Doing Business with Romania, hosted by the World Trade Center, Utah 
Silicon Slopes Tech Summit, 2019
Silicon Slopes Tech Summit, 2019
Educational Achievements
In 2019, I completed 95 hours of ICF (International Coach Federation) approved coach training through Life Purpose Institute and Solutions Academy. I also completed a 120 hour TEFL/TESOL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language/ Teaching English as a Second Language) certificate through the University of Arizona. What an experience it was to be studying again! One of my clients actually made an interesting observation when I mentioned these accomplishments by saying, "All your own training inspires me to keep learning. It's really nice to see you not only inspire others to learn through training them, but also keeping your own knowledge up to date!" What a nice thing to say!


Life Coaching Certificate 2019
TEFL TESOL Certificate University of Arizona



This post was written by Jennifer Kumar, Managing Director of Authentic Journeys. Jennifer Kumar, an American citizen, has been an expat in India for 10 years. She has earned a master’s degree in India and also started Authentic Journeys in Kochi, India. Currently she resides in Salt Lake City, Utah. She specializes in cross-cultural business success, communication strategies and relationship building between the US and India. Since 2011, through Authentic Journeys she has coached and trained over 3,500 professionals in 40 companies in India including Lexmark, Allianz and others listed to the right. In addition to conducting culture and language training through Cartus and inlingua, she volunteers for ESLC, teaching ESL to senior citizens. 


See her profile at LinkedIn.

Contact her at LinkedIn or by email.

 Additional Notes: 

  1. Authentic Journeys is able to invoice within the US and India. 
  2. Jennifer Kumar legally able to work in the US and India.

Authentic Journeys: Bridging Culture on Virtual Teams

We help build effective, culturally competent global teams with focus on the cultures of the USA and India. Jennifer Kumar, Managing Director, an American citizen, has almost 10 years experience living, studying and working (owning a business) in India. Authentic Journeys Consultancy is registered as a Private Limited in India (Kerala) and an LLC in the USA (Salt Lake City, Utah). We provide onsite and live-online instructor-led courses, facilitation and corporate coaching.