Day 1 of the Gobi Desert trip, Mongolia
The couple’s plan was to leave Mongolia right after the Gobi Desert trip so they packed all their stuff with them and put them in the four-wheel drive. The tour package included our tents and sleeping bags so we didn’t need to bring any of these with us. When I saw their ‘backpacks’, I was shocked. I was travelling in Mongolia for 2 weeks and they were travelling around the world for 2 years but my backpack was even larger than theirs!!!
‘We are minimalists’ they said. Wow! There were many things for me to learn!
Long Term Backpacking lecture started!
Lesson 1: Be a minimalist.
I had always thought I was a minimalist until I saw their backpacks.
For those who are long term backpackers (long term for me means more than 3 months), they know we all actually don’t need so many things in our lives. If you look at your house now, how many things can you get rid of? I can see souvenirs I bought in other countries, clothes (I need clothes but not that many. I am not a model or an actress), things for decorating the house, etc. These are unnecessary. What is essential is the thing you decide to carry in your backpack if you have to go on a trip for a few months or even a few years. If you put all the essential items on a checklist, you will quickly find out what matter to you most in your life. Probably none except people… and your pet(s). If you need anything on the road, items like toothpaste, sanitary pads, you can always get them in local supermarkets. There are women living in the countries you are visiting too so no need to worry about it. ‘It’s just that you may not be able to buy the same brands.’ Jen said when we had our girls talk at Gobi Desert. Totally agree to that after travelling for a couple of months myself later. The only thing I was concerned about was I may not be able to do many activities when I had my period. I learnt about planning… for that. But things happen. Anyway, I will talk about that later when I write about my trip in Galapagos.
Ok, let’s enjoy the beautiful landscape we had in Gobi Desert.
Before I went to Mongolia, numerous travel companies in Mongolia told me I wouldn’t have enough time to see and do many things in Mongolia given I had only 2 weeks so Gobi Desert would be the place to go. They all told me it was a land with diversity – sand dunes, arid land, grassland… wait, grassland?! In a desert? Really? I couldn’t believe it until I saw it. I even camped there and stayed there overnight myself.
Gobi Desert is so huge that travellers need to join a tour to navigate around. Honestly, I don’t know how the local people navigate around this vast land. I definitely had lost my bearings.
As the night fell, it started to drizzle. We looked up to the sky and saw some clouds. Behind the clouds lay the Milky Way. Far far away from us on our right, we could see some lightning. It was so far away that even if there was any thunder, we couldn’t hear it. We hoped (I prayed) that the rain would stop.
It did stop after a while.
The clouds started to go away leaving a very clear sky. We could clearly see the Milky Way. Some shooting stars appeared and disappeared in the middle of nowhere. I made a wish… or even more than one wish. On our left were some mountains. Behind the mountains, we saw a huge bright arch. Kevin asked, ‘what is that?’ Jen and I couldn’t answer. The only thing we could do was to wait and see.
The arch was so huge that it looked as if it could swallow the entire mountain before it. It moved up gradually and eventually showed its face to us… it was a huge bright moon. It slowly rose to the sky from behind the mountains. That was the first time for me to see such an enormous bright moon so closely. It felt really close.
Everything felt very close.
I could touch the sky.
I could touch the Milky Way.
I could touch the shooting stars and cruise along the sky with them.
Nature itself is a miracle.
Kevin asked me if I could take photos of the Milky Way and the moon with my DSLR camera but it was too dark and I didn’t bring my tripod. It’s ok. I don’t have to capture everything on my camera.
It’s in me.
It will forever be with me.
There was nobody near us although we knew there were other Gobi Desert tours. We were all by ourselves in that area in the wild.
Tranquillity covered the entire Desert.
Any movement could shatter the silence.
Our tour guide broke the silence and prepared the tents for us.
We were ready for any sweet dreams.
The coolness in the Desert at night put us all to sleep.
7 August 2012
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