July 5, 2013
In the last few weeks I've been asked repeatedly by nearly everyone with whom the topic arises: “Why Mongolia?”
Unfortunately I was consistently unable come up with an answer that was both honest and interesting at the same time. That's not to say that the truth of our choice isn't interesting, but merely that most people simply can't fathom why anyone would spend thousands of dollars to fly half -way across the globe to stay in tents for two weeks skipping such modern luxuries as the internet, paved roads, showers, electricity, or even fresh fruit.
If I have to be perfectly honest, of all the destinations Amanda has taken me, this one is by far the most desolate and the most adventurous. As I sit on this airplane crossing the Bearing Straight headed for Beijing, I ponder what the next two weeks will bring. This will likely be our most expensive and at the same time most uncomfortable journey to date. We will arrive in Ulaanbaatar and begin a 14 day private tour with a driver and a guide. These hired folks will show us the Naadam festival, the reindeer herders of the north, the beautiful lake Hovsgod, and of course the Gobi Desert. We will do most of the traveling by jeep and horseback.
Why are we doing it? A sense of urgency I suppose. In a world completely engulfed in media, technology, and instantaneous updating, Mongolia seems our last great option to explore a simpler way of life. Many Mongolians still live entirely off the land in nomadic fashion. Yet, as with every culture Mongolia is modernizing itself with breathtaking pace. Our guide and driver will introduce us to these people living in ways similar to their ancestors two thousand years ago. Sure we will miss such luxuries as beds and restaurants. However, this is the very reason we will be going.
It's been a busy few weeks leading up to now with very little time to sit and consider this trip. To all of our friends and family who asked: “Why Mongolia?” The answer is quite simple. It's a fading opportunity to travel back in time and we intend not to miss it. (Photos in the next entry, I promise)