From the Camel’s Mouth: Arrival into Ulan Bator

Early wake up for 8 am flight. No delays, slept through most of the flight. Coming into Ulan Bator, there was no clear definition between sky and land, but rather, they melted into each other through shades of yellow and brown — a phenomenon due to the sand and dust kicked up by ferocious winds. From the air, there are clear signs of desertification: dried up rivers, blotches of dried up lakes leaving behind white salt plains, and dead trees.

Upon arrival, there was one landing strip, one terminal and one baggage conveyor belt. To illustrate the nature of the visitors, the queue for ‘foreigners’ and ‘diplomats’ was the same in length at the passport check. At the airport, I was met by a large and foreboding Mongolian who picked up my baggage and loaded it into a soviet-era vehicle. Here I met fellow expeditioner Peter from Scotland. Peter had endured 30 hours of delays in Beijing and now all his suitcases are lost — possibly in Edinburgh, London or Beijing or indeed anywhere else in the world.

The way to the hotel was a trip not dissimilar to a thrill park ride. Eventually we arrived at the hotel where I met the rest of the team. They were all very friendly. Of course, naturally at around 11 am we found ourselves in the pub and then the stories poured out — indeed I am surrounded by a wealth of knowledge and experience. They all had their own reasons for going on this trip and they were all different. I know that I have a reason too, but I am not sure it is evident yet. I believe it is something that I shall discover only upon retrospect. But I think it will be something along the lines of a renewed appreciation for everyday life….

To finish with an inspiring quote sent to me by Annemiek and Wester:

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where
there is no path and leave a trail.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

You are all in my words and thoughts, thank you all for your continued support.

Originally published at