A Magazine for the George Mason University Community

Work and Play Are Equally Important for Smolen and Plevy

By Corey Jenkins Schaut, MPA '07 on October 1, 2009

The SmolenPlevy banner atop Mt. Kilimanjaro.

When they take a vacation from running their Tysons Corner law firm, Alan Plevy and Jason Smolen can usually be found traveling the world, although in very different corners.

Smolen is fond of exploring the Western world, particularly Europe, taking in the arts and culture. Most recently, he and his wife toured the Mediterranean, visiting Corsica, Sicily, and Turkey. He also has been found skiing in Vail, Colorado, or scuba diving in the Cayman Islands, among other activities. Plevy prefers slightly more exotic travels. In September 2008, he climbed to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Smolen and Levy in France

The Smolens in France.

He was among one of the first groups to return to the mountain following the western route’s 2006 closure because of rock slides.

“I like going to places where you can see how people lived centuries ago,” he explains. Other travel adventures have found him sleeping in a ger (a traditional communal tent) camp in Mongolia and visiting the ancient dye vats in Fes, Morocco, where merchants make their wares much the same way they did thousands of years ago.

Smolen and Plevy

Plevy toured Tibet, visiting the Potala Place, and rode ponies across the steppes of Mongolia.

While Smolen travels with his wife and family, Plevy often goes on his adventures alone. He enjoys traveling with his family, but he says they sometimes find his choice of destination perplexing. For instance, Plevy laughingly reports that his son was dismayed to hear that his father would be sleeping on the ground during his time on Kilimanjaro.

For Plevy, any discomfort is worth what he gains from his travels. “It’s eye opening,” he says. “It takes away some of the selfishness and bigotry that people have when you see how others live.” Smolen similarly appreciates soaking in the culture of the places he visits, noting that during his travels, “We see wonderful, beautiful cities and towns.”

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