The Great Northern Horizon
Nomadic Life by bike
In the middle of Mongol steppes, there is only us and the Earth. The whole horizon is expanding. We are alone in these wild spaces, totally immersed in the impressions, sensations and scents of this land of freedom. A wave of happiness carries us, we are exalted by the power of the place, enlivened by the beauty of the landscapes and bewitched by the lights.
The wind has the scent of freedom
Exhausted, lips chapped by the brutal wind, life in Mongolia is intense, it is harsh. The steppes offer no refuge. We arrived in the Mongolian capital, Ulaanbaatar, with tears in our eyes realizing what we just did. It is no small thing to take our daughters here to the wild lands of the North, to these purifying spaces. The journey is intense, access to water is not always easy, but we are thrilled by this life that is taking place in the present moment. However, what is ahead of us is even more challenging. We will cross the Gobi Desert.
There is no time here. There is only the vastness of the land. The energy of the Earth is powerful, we can feel its breath, its presence. Clouds are the marks of this expanse, making us possible to apprehend the distances, simply unimaginable. So huge that time becomes of no significance. The further we go, the more we enter the heart of this desert. We are in a world of loneliness. However, the magic of the night, and the thousands of stars remind us that we are never alone.
Here, the wind is the master. It’s howling, violent, frigid. It shows us the austere nature of this land. We are laid bare, like the panorama. We have no choice but to remove the layers of protection, fear, anger, to transcend all limitations. We are called to plunge into the heart of ourselves, to let go of resistance, in order to enter the vibrance and power of the desert, and to celebrate the present moment in gratitude.
At this point, it is as if every fold of the land is part of us. We enter into perfect harmony with what surrounds us, with this wild and pure landscape.
The magic of the desert is not revealed at first sight. It comes out of the invisible. There is a real immersion in order to vibrate and touch its essence. There is no word to express this life force that every day takes us a little further.
Mongolia is a harsh country and its people have chosen resilience and strength. The resilience of living in this territory, sometimes to the point of forgetting the rest of the world. And strength, harshness and fighting, a yang energy that is infused by Genghis Khan’s warriors and continues to be glorified. In this culture so full and proud, the encounters are powerful. They don’t have half measures. They reflect this nomadic life in the heart of the steppes. Children dressed in a deel play with the things around them, in the simplicity of a nomadic life in yurts.
Mongolia is an amazing place by the great power of its Land. It is also the encounter with a people whose traditions are still deeply rooted. Nomads celebrate their way of life with pride. They live in the heart of the wilderness, in the steppes, high mountains and the coldest desert in the world. And despite the harsh environment, they have strong links to their land, they are Mongols.
The Gobi Desert
In Sainshand, in the middle of the desert, in a lunar landscape, we enter a sacred place. An energy vortex, centre of the cosmos where Mongols come to recharge their batteries with the energies of the Earth. This place celebrates the yin energies, the sacred feminine, the energy of tenderness in the movement of Life. It is surrounded by white stupas. In the centre, two circles are drawn by stones.
Lying on this bed of stone, we become parts of the cosmos, totally integrated into the whole. We become this stardust united with every breeze, every sunrise, every breath.
A Sacred Place
The panorama undulates and becomes a mountain chain. A river meanders into the heart of the steppes. It truly dances on the territory, as it winds its way. The valley is dotted with white spots. It’s the yurts. The herds that surround them are gigantic. Cows graze in the valley, sheep and goats on the slopes. The horses, free and fiery, gallop in the wind.
Gers are the symbols of life in Mongolia. Today, more than half of the population still lives in this traditional home, even in the middle of the city. The wooden door is usually painted with beautiful symbols. Two central columns support the yurt and the tono, which is the circular part of the top. The altar is at the back of the yurt. The feminine part is in the east, the masculine part in the west.
Mongolia is about exploring wild spaces but it is also about meeting nomads. Here, we are witnessing traditional life.
Two shepherds wearing a deel leave on their horses. Narantsetseg asks us to enter the ger. Meat dries on the wooden frame. She invites us for the famous slightly salted milk tea, the süüütei tsai. She prepares it on the stove fed by dung. Then she places a bowl of khuruud, dried yogurt balls, öröm, cream, and bread on the table. His eight-month-old son chews a piece of sheep fat. Each gesture is a symbol of this life in the heart of the steppes.