…and lots and lots of cheese perfectly describe our time together in Mongoliaaaa. If we bonded over anything, it was the inconsistent bowel movements and our unwavering gratitude for the experiences we had (including those moments in two tents with a roll of toilet paper and the steppe, which was much better than any magazine). To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to be swept off my feet by the beautiful landscapes, hospitable locals, and genuine connections made with my traveling companions. In the only way I could describe it, Mongolia had some big shoes to fill after my experiences and memories from Baja + Guyana, and it did just that. As comfort levels between individuals rose and the cheese kept coming, I realized how important this place and the people were going to be (and still are today).
Connection is something that I cherish deeply and have found myself seeking on each EE over the years. I have learned from my traveling experiences that the people you meet can enhance the memories and enrich your life in ways you never thought possible. Mongolia provided us with an incredible group of caring, memory-making, adventure-seeking people who are easily considered my second family. I was genuinely surprised by how bonded we became within the first few hours of meeting each other, which was a beautiful feeling. Our in-country hosts were some of the most kind and welcoming individuals I have met, and opened our eyes to their world of music, nature, and culture. They were more than willing to answer our questions and were similarly curious about our lifestyles at home (as well as the ladies’ relationship statuses).
With the cohesion of a familial unit came an abundance of “rhubarb moments”, happy tears, and open hearts. I tend to consider myself an “extroverted introvert”, keeping to myself initially and warming up to others over time, and find more enjoyment in listening than sharing. As challenging as I sometimes found it to open up and express my thoughts with others, there was something about the friendships we cultivated that kept pushing me to trust and open up. They were authentic, true, and special connections. While everyone shared their stories and emotions in different ways, we supported each other just the same, and found happiness and laughter with each other.
Even though we didn’t act on our tattoo plans in that beautiful country, the connections and moments we made together are permanently engrained in my memory and close to my heart. We may physically be apart, but remain together, bound by our love for the steppe and each other.