I love crawling out of my tent in the early Mongolian morning and looking across a vast steppe covered in a colorful carpet of chives in flower. Literally millions of mauve and white heads bob gently in the morning breeze making the most exquisite carpets of colour. A delicious, heady scent of herbs permeates the air.
The air is crisp and clean, the sky, the most intense sapphire blue yet the light is soft and golden.
We’re camped on the edge of an enormous open valley. It’s like a giant basin rimmed with dark towering mountains. Dark sentinels in the early light.
I love the quiet of Mongolia. Sometimes its the sounds of the herders as they whistle or the cry of a tiny goat that permeates the silence. Sometimes its just the whisper of the wind or the hush, hush of wings overhead.
Mongolia, the Land of the Great Blue Sky is indeed living up to her name on this crystal clear day. “People pay squillions to wake up to a 360 degree view like this” I think, as I boil some water to make tea and take in the beauty that surrounds me.
When I come here each year it’s different every time. I love the diversity of Mongolia’s magnificent landscapes and her wildness.
From the hot dry Gobi, Baga Gazrin Chuluu, rock formations, the magnificence of Khogoryn Els (largest sand dunes), to deep birch and larch forests with a million wildflowers carpeting the lush mountain passes. To the west where the mountains never lose their lace collars of snow to the north where Crystal Blue lakes abound and rushing clear rivers flow from the Spring snow melt.
“I love the great expanse of space and being able to interact with the local people in the tiny shops or vibrant markets in the towns.”
I love the nomadic herder families who are warm and friendly. Local people who share a tiny part of their traditional nomadic lives with me, a foreigner.
Mongolia with all her beauty has indeed dazzled me but I am acutely aware of becoming complacent. She is a land of temperature extremes and can change dramatically within a few hours. These extreme temperatures are far more prevalent in Spring and Autumn. It’s not often that two days are alike and I’m learning to expect the unexpected. From sweltering in a pair of shorts one day, to 24 hours later when I’m pulling on all my winter woollies.
A trip through Mongolia is something unique. There is NO other place like Mongolia. In four weeks you may get a diminutive taste of what this country has to offer. But what you will see, smell, hear and taste, will tantalize all of your senses. Mongolia will be indelibly imprinted in your mind.
Mongolia is not for the faint hearted and if you’re looking for a five star type, cushy, comfortable holiday, then Mongolia is probably not for you. It can be challenging, both emotionally and physically but it is an incredible adventure.
Working on my travel photos makes me want to grow wings and fly away right now.
We live on such an incredibly beautiful planet. When I think of the beautiful places my eyes have seen, the gentle, poignant connection my heart has felt when I look into another humans eyes who looks so different from me … the way I feel when I can see as far as the horizon and it goes on forever, in a vastness of silence ... when I hear the sound of bird wings on a gust of wind, a herder’s whistle ... when I taste the food a nomadic woman has offered me with two hands outstretched ... the senses and contractions around my heart expand ... and I feel so very, very ...very grateful.