Many thanks to Greenheart Travel for posting ‘Green Travel Tips: Before You Go, Important Steps to Lessen Your Impact on the Environment’, which has prompted me to think extra hard about what to pack for my impending summer holiday.
With my first eventful semester teaching English at Inil Girls’ High behind me, I am look forward to some time out before the new semester begins. I scanned cheap flights to Thailand and imagined languishing on pristine beaches under a blazing cobalt sky; considered palm trees making silhouettes like snipped black satin in the Philippines. But, and I may live to regret these words, that seemed so easy…. So when my good friend Lindsey Coulter had the inspired idea to visit Mongolia, that vast untouchable space in central Asia, I jumped at the chance. We will travel from South Korea, a country with one of the highest population densities, to Mongolia with a yak to human ratio of 16:1. I guess we wanted some breathing space from our sometimes frenetic lives in Incheon, and Mongolia seems tantalizingly empty.
Mongolia was made for eco-tourism. The sheer size and scale compared to its economy and population of just 3 million would mean that any ‘high-rise’ initiative would flounder instantly without it being pumped full of commercial appeal and millions of dollars.
Myself, Lindsey and Justin Sheehan will be traveling with the not-for-profit Ger to Ger Nomad Centered Geotourism organization which uses the natural resources to make tailor made packages for tourists using natural, environmental, cultural and heritage sites. We will be embarking on two ‘treks;’ the Nomadic ranchers lifestyle and the Gobi desert’s Shangrila 5 day routes, with a weekend spent in the Capital Ulanbataar either side.
Traveling by camel, horse, jeep, foot and with a stint on the Trans Mongolian railway, we won’t have time to languish comfortably anywhere, but I have happily discarded any notions of poolside decadence. We will travel with nomadic families to different ‘Ger’ sites (Gers are round structures like yurts and the homes to nomadic families all year round). Since 2009 the project has developed over 40 different ‘routes’ for travelers, making links with families across ten provinces in Mongolia. I have yet to speculate on the true sustainability of the project, but the concept is so appealing that I am willing to give this unknown venture its best shot.
Read more about Hannah’s trip on her blog site…