42 Strong.  A blog about travel, experience and searching for the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything.

I’m Jordan Kraft.  My husband, Forest Ray, just spent a grueling 5+ years working towards his PhD in some sort of complicated science.  There were times when I didn’t think he’d finish, but with our travel plans dangling as a carrot at the finish line, he knocked it out and we left New York one week after he defended his PhD (pass with revisions).

Forest is the linguist. I happen to speak Japanese fairly fluently but, admittedly, much of my talent resides in reading body language, and guessing the appropriate times to interject a nod, a bow, and the requisite “sou sou, ne?”.

That’s Forest and me on our trip to Iceland. People mix up our names all the time – it’s okay if you do, too.


Anywhere Forest and I travel, my actual language skills are fairly useless given the scarcity of modern-day Japanese-speaking locales, but the ability to communicate through miming or reading body language has been a proven asset.

The biggest asset, however, is Forest who picks up every language we encounter, whether we’re driving through Turkish mountainsides, or sipping sheep-dung smoked ales in Iceland. (Full disclosure, this is both irritating and endearing to me. Irritating only because of my extremely competitive nature, yet endearing because he genuinely loves to communicate and learn other languages. And, yes, it’s one of the many reasons why I am so in love with him.)

Life in New York was both energizing and exhausting. It provided me with a wealth of experience, from my foray into Internet start-ups during the booming emergence of Silicon Alley, to my surprising stint on the trading floor throughout the recent financial crash and beyond. Thanks to New York, I have a broad-reaching resume that has landed me in some interesting positions, at some particularly key points in recent history.

I’m not a native New Yorker – neither is my husband.  We were both born and raised in Alaska, and even though my years in New York added up to just one year shy of those spent in Alaska, I still identify as an Alaskan.

This blog will focus on life, travel and experience.  “Why 42Strong?” is a pretty common question we get.  I was hesitant to advertise it while we still lived in Brooklyn, but now that we’re on the road, I’m ready to spill.

We found the ideal apartment for us, right in the heart of the Brooklyn we called home for six years.  With a backyard garden, an amazing community of neighbors and friends, we settled into life within a vibrant community of people, and managed to feel as much at home there as we did back in Alaska.

Our address was 42 Strong Place.  Though there are a number of reasons “42Strong” appeals to us, aside from “42” being the super computer’s answer to “life, the Universe, and everything” in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, we really felt that a name like 42Strong sounded solid, as though we have a whole community behind us.

In so many, many ways, we feel that we do.

That’s me in Iceland, loving the colors and the horizon outside of Budir