Japan and Mongolia

For my 40th birthday this year, I took myself on a horse trek into the Altai mountains of western Mongolia. It’s been a dream of mine to visit Mongolia, and connect with one of the last truly nomadic peoples on the planet. I was needing “bigger perspective”, and the chance to be immersed in a new unexplored culture. Sometimes, I think travel is the only thing that can get me out of my deeper funks. Well, it worked. This trip brought me its share of challenges, and oh-so-much-beauty as well.

This is Zorro. He is a Mongolian stallion, roaming wild on the steppes, in the valleys, and over the mountains. On our first day riding, he joined us at our riverside camp spot. He seemed to be glad for a heard of mild Gildings, that were 3 of our mounts.

A 24 hour, planned layover in Tokyo started the journey off with a super fun dip-of-the-toes into Japanese culture. Definitely need more time in this inspiring and refined culture.

dream-toilet

This is a “toilet pic” and now my dream toilet system…wow.

Hashibuto-garasu

This Corvus macrohynchos or Hashibuto-garasu they are called, was one of many flying above Ebisu neighborhood, talking to me all day, and flying overhead.

tea

udon

dessert

white-raven

restaurant

My evening meal at Tokyo Haneda, definitely a great place to be “stuck”, such class! And major foodie sesh!

yurts

After arriving in Mongolia, the driver dropped me off at the tour agency is your camp where I spent the first night. So inspired by these Ger, yurts!

Mongolia

My new favorite airport in the world at Banyan Olgi. There was literally no one to guide us, just walked out onto the tarmac and in the general direction of this building, so chill!

gipsy-wagon

On the road finally, headed to our first night camping and the beginning of the horse track. That’s my travel companion, and guide, who was very sleepy during the drive. Our van was a 1970s gypsy wagon complete with humorous driver. Our guide, horse handler, cook, and driver were all Kazac.

Mongolia

tent

The guys set up camp for us our first evening, in this very magical place! All of the peoples were beginning the summer migration, and this area is a popular one for camping and bringing herds since it is bountiful with grass and water. The town of Tsengel, is across the river, where we met an amazing Tuvin throat singer that same night.

horses

Mongolia

raven-riding

potani-glacier

Here are some scenes from the horse trek, culminating in a visit to the 5 sacred mountains, and the Alexandra and Potani glaciers, which are melting rapidly as can be seen from the receding ice line.

green-horse

“Geselat” which means “green horse” in Kazak, the trusty ’70’s Russian “gypsy van”, which carried camp and cook around.

petroglyphs

30,000 year old petroglyphs

alexandra-glacier

potani-glacier

The Alexandra and Potani glaciers, and Tuvan stupa by the 5 sacred mountains.

My travels to Asia this year give me much to think about and contemplate. I came back to the island feeling newly inspired and full of images and experiences which will be making their way into my creative process now. So grateful that our planet is still accessible for travel and that I got to meet these incredible people and places.

golden-buddha