This week, we have with us Michele, who with her husband Ron are from www.leggingit.com.au They are a couple in their fifties who after the children left home decided to take some time out and do long-term travelling. Originally they planned to travel overland by motorcycle to Europe but visa challenges for Russia and China made them reassess that. So they decided to travel overland from Malaysia to the UK taking trains, buses and boats then buy a motorcycle in the UK! They then started the motorcycle part of their journey.
Today Michele will be talking to us about part of their overland travel where they visited Mongolia
Why did you chose to travel to Mongolia?
We decided to go through Mongolia as part of our overland journey as it gave us a chance to visit a country we really did not know much about. We had heard the people were really friendly and it was a bit off the usual tourist track!
Where did you stay in Mongolia?
We spent a few days in a hostel in Ulan Bator then headed out to explore a bit more of the countryside and stayed with a Nomadic Family in a Yurt.
What were your favourite and most difficult parts on this journey?
Our favourite time was with the family. It made us realise how people can be happy with the simplest of things and that maybe our expectations are set a bit high by the societies we live in. This family had next to nothing, spent all day working yet were happy and always smiling…maybe it was the constant consumption of fermented mare’s milk or maybe our ‘western perception’ of happiness really needs realignment.
The most difficult was breaking my western vision on things…one day we were heading to the original capital city Karakorum. All day our guide was telling us we will be in the guest house around 6pm and my mind was visualising a guest house…with toilets and shower. After a day of driving on terrible roads as the time drew closer Michele was also looking forward to using a toilet in preference of the wooden boards across a hole type of the last few days. When we pulled up, there were Yurts everywhere and I was thinking ‘oh these must be modern ones with toilets, showers etc.’ However once inside the realisation that it was a normal yurt and the toilet was across the yard was a bit much!
Highlights of your stay
One of my favourite moments was seeing the Grandfather come running out of the Yurt, jump on his horse and ride into the distance. When we asked our guide he told us that the old man loves a Korean Soap Opera that was due to start and had to get the camels in beforehand. Next thing in a cloud of dust he comes across the plain, camels in front of him. He quickly herded them into the camp and headed inside to watch his soapie. It made us realise how small the world really was.
I also really enjoyed cooking with the old lady, she could not speak a word of English but we managed to make a meal for 15 people out of handmade noodles, an onion, a carrot, a potato and some meat…amazing!
What were some of your favourite dishes here?
Sadly the food is pretty bland, due to the stark environment. The menu is generally meat and noodles or dumplings cooked a variety of ways. Not much flavour but very sustaining. I found it really hard with the lack of vegetables.
Would you recommend Mongolia to other people? Families? Solo travellers? Backpackers?
I think Mongolia is one of those places that would suit most travellers except maybe luxury ones. It is pretty rustic and if you can’t handle roughing it a bit you would not enjoy it. There are some fantastic festivals in the summer which would be worth being around for if you like cultural events.
What’s next on the horizon for your travels?
We are currently exploring Morocco, we have a three month visa so intend to stay here until the visa runs out or we decide it is time to move on.
To read more about Michele and Ron’s overland journey adventures, visit their social media sites here: