My father-in-law asked me awhile ago if we were lost in Mongolia (it had been awhile since we updated the blog). Truth be told, I haven’t moved on from Mongolia. It’s been weeks since we left, and I’m dragging my heals. Why? I’m not really sure, but I think it’s because I loved it (Chris still thinks it’s just ok. But since he hasn’t got off his duff to write posts I’m going to linger in Mongolia a little longer).

So, what’s kept me from moving on? I think it’s the simplicity of life. Not that life is simple in Mongolia; it’s hard work living in such a harsh and unforgiving environment but the people live simply. They don’t own anything beyond what they absolutely need. Sure, there are exceptions to this rule. And, little by little Western influences are creeping in but for the most part the people live a simple life. They gather their water from streams or wells; they raise livestock for sustenance and warmth; they make from scratch their pastas and breads….the list could go on and on.

Sure, one could argue that they don’t choose this life; it’s been chosen for them due to their dire economic situation but I’m not so certain about that. The wealthier families own luxury goods like cell phones, tv’s, satellite dishes, motorcycles, SUVs and yet they still choose to live the nomadic lifestyle.

As I look around at all the extravagant items we own, I wonder; I wonder if they have it right. Do I really need that pineapple corer or corn zipper. I mean, I learned how to core a pineapple in Vietnam with a knife; it’s not that hard folks. And, goodness you don’t need a corn zipper to cut the corn off the cob. But, boy Williams-Sonoma sure makes you feel like you need them in order to survive.

I think the lack of materialism and capitalism in Mongolia, really struck a cord. It’s not that it doesn’t exist there, but it thrives on such a lower level than the other countries we visited. On our tour of Mongolia, we stayed with countless families. In any other country, hosts on a tour loop would inevitably have seen the opportunity to cash in on the foreigners. We’re cash cows, after all. They’d setup markets selling snickers, coca cola, and beer eventually moving on to upmarket crepes and fruit shakes. But not in Mongolia. That kind of thinking just doesn’t exist. And, it was such a welcomed break.

I know for Mongolia’s sake, development must move forward. But, I hope they hold onto their customs and traditions. I hope they hold onto their nomadic lifestyle. I hope while they improve their healthcare system and transportation routes (paved roads barely exist) Western culture doesn’t take hold.

2 Responses to “Lost in Mongolia”

  1. Elizabeth says:

    I know how you feel about getting “stalled” in a place. I felt that way about Bali. I think you’re going to identify with tomorrow’s post on my blog.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    PS: Gorgeous photos from Russia!