This image is of Uvs Aimag in western Mongolia. It was taken by our guest John Holman during our Mongolia Wild Treks Research trip in 2013. This is an excerpt from my Eternal Landscapes blog post during that trip. We were travelling from Kyargas Nuur in Uvs Aimag to Olgii for the start of the Kazakh Eagle Festival. Although the eagle festival was meant to be the focal point of this research trip, for me it was these driving days which often provided daily highlights.
‘Wow! What a journey. We’re currently driving through the Great Lakes Depression en-route to the mighty Altai. The landscapes we are passing through are immense and immeasurable, weathered and stark – made up of sunlight and shadow, rock, scrub, part iced over streams and fast flowing rivers. For a majority of visitors, making contact with the local people is an important element of their trip to Mongolia – for a moment or two, crossing the cultural divide.
For me though, the power of the landscapes is also an integral part of any journey. It is time spent exploring and ‘just being’ in the landscapes which I continue to find the most uplifting and enlightening. Travelling through the vast landscapes of Mongolia allows you to witness the local way of life but without being too intrusive. It’s a chance to remove your watch, take a break from the modern world and let each day and each journey unfold. Travelling in this way gives you time to think and gain a fresh perspective. As Tiziano Terrazani wrote in A Fortune Teller Told Me:
‘…the rhythm of my days changed completely. Distances became read again, and I reacquired the taste of discovery and adventure.’