Szu-ting Yi 易思婷
Guide. Consultant. Owner.
Nicknames: Little Po or Ting Ting
Email: szuting @ gmail DOT com
Szu-ting Yi was born in Southern Taiwan and moved to Taipei with her family when she was 5. Her father was an immigrant from Hong Kong and therefore Szu-ting speaks Mandarin Chinese natively and is able to understand conversational Cantonese and communicate in Taiwanese. Early Portuguese colonizers called Taiwan “Formosa,” meaning “beautiful (island).” Mountains in Taiwan are sheer and rise tall from the sea level; rapid rivers have created complex landscapes; vegetation is diverse due to its geology and climate; ocean resources are rich. Growing up in this environment, Szu-ting has developed her admiration towards nature since her young age.
Szu-ting grew up and was educated during a sensitive political era. During her middle and high school, the idea of Taiwan being the preserver of authentic Chinese heritage was emphasized and therefore reflected in the government-approved textbooks of literature, history and geography. Even though she did not know how to interpret the hidden-behind ideology or propaganda, Szu-ting nevertheless fell in love with traditional Chinese literature, had practiced years of calligraphy, was fascinated by ancient historical events and stories, and has developed indescribable admiration of Chinese landscape and artifacts.
After graduating from college, Szu-ting came to the States to pursue her graduate study. In 2007, she obtained her PhD degree in computer science; her research focus was on computational linguistics due to her love and sensitivity towards languages. However, during the several years of study, Szu-ting had never forgotten her undividable connection with nature and therefore she acquired professional training in mountaineering and rock climbing. Until now, Szu-ting has attempted the highest peaks of both North and South America: Denali (turned around at 19,400 feet due to acute mountain sickness) and Aconcagua (turned around at 21,500 feet because of weather), and conducted many rock climbing expeditions in various destinations
Starting from 2005, Szu-ting was an active volunteer leader of the AMC (Appalachian Mountain Club) and led many overnight and week-long expeditions. In 2007 and early 2008, Szu-ting worked for Thistledew Camp, an adjudicated youth program based in Minnesota. There she practiced and strengthened her soft skills and learned to deal with severe cold temperatures. Szu-ting became a NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) instructor in summer 2008, and since then she works as a climbing instructor for B.O.L.D. Mountain School, Passages NW, The Bush School, and NOLS.
Ever since Szu-ting started her guiding career, she had this dream to guide English-speaking people in Chinese-speaking countries and vice versa. Szu-ting’s Chinese cultural background and over a decade submerging in American cultures make her believe that the best lies somewhere between the East and the West. For both parties to understand each other, the ideal media is the shared appreciation towards natural beauty. After she spent one month climbing in southern China in 2008, Szu-ting realized it is the time to materialize the idea. She launched LittlePo Adventures in March 2010 after she came back from a 3-month scouting trip in China.
When Szu-ting is not traveling or climbing, she lives in Seattle. During her free time, she enjoys cooking, reading, and playing with her cats. She is also the founder and a contributor of Outdoor Bunnies: the safe and supportive community for women of the wilderness.