Once you visit and travel outer Mongolia, you will know that some experiences can change you in ways that others destinations on holidays cannot. The Earth in it's organic form, mixed with domesticated horses, sheep, goats, yaks and camels and the people, Nomadic and living in tents on the surface of the arid grassland Steppe - is all an incredible and raw world of experience -is Mongolia.
From a mountain bike [photos below] I gained valuable insights into life far outside my comfort zone. While Nomad Mongolians have existed for centuries on these pasture lands located between Russia, China and outer Mongolia's western Kazakh populations living just hundreds of kilometers from Kazakhstan [photo 1] their land is deeply connected to their daily life survival.
Through a collection of videos, I hope to share more of the experiences others shared while in this geographical and culturally rich landscape. I hope to return one day, but for now - I have lasting memories that have already began to change the way I see contrasts throughout the world around me.
I made it. With a mountain bike, a few bags of equipment, a tent, a sleeping bag, a sleeping mat, water bottles with 9L capacity (taking on two 1.5L bottles on the front panniers) and at the end, I had run out of nearly everything I was carrying, at times it was water, antibiotics, powered protein for two months, multivitamin mega-packs, dried Mongolian "arroz" cheese shared by Nomad families and returned to a family with 6 children much without their own provisions, and the Nutella I scraped clean with my bare fingers, even my knife which I gave to a Dörvöd Mongolian on the final stretch to Altai Mountains wedged between Russia's Siberia and China's western frontiers. I had been ill from some contaminated streams that all the local children were using between sits with boiled (and healthier) chai-woo, their salted milk tea made from local stream water, goat or yaks milk and herbs. The days 8-12 hours grew longer with the bike, either ridden or trekked while pushing the cycle alongside me.
When you are out alone into the wild world on a bicycle, you don't have to image what an adventure would be like if you 'just had enough time to experience it', you actually will spend your days -riding and trekking 10-12 hours a day to survive, to get water, to meet locals somewhere -on a route decided but outcomes unplanned and unanticipated - for exploring, this is as close as I have ever come to life.
Road trips to and through Mongolia