My head was pressed against the cold glass of the plane window both for the comfort of the cool air against my steaming face and partly to figure out why we were still sitting at the gate. My stomach turned in knots. “I will not get sick,” I muttered in my head as I wiped my nose with a tissue. My fear was building. “We haven’t even left yet. You can still go back.”
My fingers twisted around my headphone cord as I plugged it in the jack of my armrest. Even elevator jazz was better to listen to then the nervous whispers of self-doubt.
“You can do this,” I assured myself. “You survived Cambodia- it was even your favorite place so far. What makes this so different?”
“This is the real wild world,” the internal battle continued.
“Well that’s scary!”
“You are right. It is scary, but life is scary.”
Life is scary. The world is a scary place sometimes, but even your house can be scary, so why let fear hold you back? If there is something you want you are the only thing stopping yourself from achieving it. When I started this journey I was pretty confident up until I got on this plane. Because this is the exact moment when the panic sets in. The slam of the plane door closing felt like the click of the safety bar on a rollercoaster dropping down and locking you in. Oh shit this is really happening. Too late to turn back now.
I was so afraid of one month in Japan alone, and that same fear has been there at the start of every trip. Mongolia wasn’t any different. And you know what? Yes I got a nasty cold. Yes there were moments that were challenging and difficult, maybe even uncomfortable, but Mongolia has been my favorite trip to date.
I challenged myself to live a more rustic lifestyle for a week. No toilets, no running water, no central heat, limited electronics (aka a camera), no phone service, no wifi, no social media and very little comfort. It was difficult, but yet so amazing to unplug from the world. Maybe something important was happening somewhere else, but I couldn’t do anything about it or hear about it, so why should it effect or matter to the moment I’m having right now? To whittle life down to the basics was a gift.
While in Mongolia I got the chance to:
Connect with another culture.
Hold a golden eagle and learn how to hunt with an eagle.
Remember why riding a horse has always been one of the best forms of self-therapy.
Visit the local Golden Eagle Festival of the Altai Mountains
Paint the vast landscapes of western Mongolia from life.
Learn that I can survive without all my creature comforts and still be inexplicably happy.
I hope to share all these moments in more detail. I know that I still have yet to share moments from Cambodia in their entirety and I do leave in five days for my next trip! So please be patient with me. The experiences I’ve had this year have changed me in ways it will take me years to fully put on paper but I hope you’re willing to continue this crazy wild journey with me.
In the meantime here’s a few more photos since I know people enjoy them!