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Nayla Tawa - Producer. Director. Adventurer. Humanitarian.

Return to Kyrgyzstan is focused on raising awareness about the local community and a Kyrgyz man named Hayat Tarikov who is dramatically changing Kyrgyz children’s lives through skiing.

It also tells the compelling story of Nayla’s own return back to Kyrgyzstan 4 years after a catastrophic accident there left her on the brink of death.

She organises adventure travel trips with a focus on filming stories of interest in far corners of the world.

Nayla was born in the French Alps to an Egyptian father and French mother and has been a devout traveler for her entire life. She is an avid skier and snowboarder with a true passion for the outdoors, adventure and global travel.

“To me snowboarding is not just an obsession, it is an insatiable craving that has lead me to discover new cultures, speak new languages, and form irreplaceable friendships.”


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Show notes

  • Moving out to Costa Rica for 4 months

  • How Nayla would introduce herself

  • Being born in France, moving to the states when she was 2 years old

  • Loving to travel from a young age

  • Being a student at UCLA

  • How the opportunity came about to go to Kyrgyzstan and make a film

  • The type of film she wanted to make

  • Getting equipment together to take

  • Putting the project together in 2 months

  • When the problems started…

  • The accident in the middle of nowhere

  • Remembering everything and being the only person not to have a head injury

  • Living in slow motion

  • Trying to get out of the car

  • Being the only one who could get help

  • Breaking her back in 3 places, breaking her sternum…

  • Doing what she needed to do, to survive

  • Getting help and being focused

  • The danger of catching AIDS

  • Managing to contact her friends

  • Being as nice as possible

  • Speaking to her dad, who is a doctor

  • Getting back to the States, worrying about a spinal cord injury

  • Reaching Dubai and it was getting time critical

  • Getting misdiagnosed in Dubai

  • The recovery process…

  • 2 years before she’d be able to snowboard again

  • The mental recovery… how she got through it

  • Why she needed to focus on the stuff that she could do

  • Dealing with PTSD, having nightmares, not being able to control her thoughts

  • Deciding to go back to Kyrgyzstan

  • Developing a relationship with the village

  • Becoming part of the story

  • Travelling back with Lexie

  • Having her dad join the team!

  • Heading back to the village

  • Being able to teach the girls!

  • Working with the men

  • Being in post production of the documentary

  • Feeling blocked while trying to exit the movie

  • Planning her next trip back!

  • Having the opportunity to go to the Arctic!

  • Creating a documentary from the footage

  • Wanting to start a non profit

  • Following her passion to do some good


  • Final words of advice


Social Media

Twitter - @NaylaTawa

Instagram - @NaylaTawa

Learn more about her return to Kyrgyzstan


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