Its the 27th of July, and once again I find myself in Ulaanbaatar, preparing for a trek in through the remote Altai of Western Mongolia. The journey includes a 8 day trek over a pass in the shadow of 4000 metre glacier encrusted peaks, and among nomads of the small ethnic minority of the 'Khoton' people, then a trek in the Tsaast Uul mountain area of Bayan Olgiy - the Kazakh province.
There is more information about the background of this journey below, but excitingly, thanks to Google, we will once again be broadcasting from the 3,000 metre high pass of Kharkhiraa. It is only a month since we broadcast the very successful hangout during the Caulfield Grammar trip. Using a bit of nomad engineering - putting the satellite kit on the top of a cairn of rocks known as an ovoo, we were ble to get online. View the hangout as it was recorded on youtube here:
This time the Google hangout will be on Thursday, August 1st at 8.30 pm Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST), (11.30AM UK TIME, 1.30PM BERLIN TIME)
GOOGLE HANGOUT - HOW TO JOIN LIVE BROADCAST
We will be running 'hang out' which is a way for people to watch video live, and contribute to the conversation. To be involved please see the instructions below:
If you would like to take part in the Hangout, you can find all the details here: https://plus.google.com/events/cl2vfh9d93u533i9331i5rfavcs?partnerid=gplp0
If you do not have a Google+ account, but would like to take part, you can learn more here about Google+ and how to get set up here: http://www.google.com/+/learnmore/profile/
7 minutes after the event, the Hangout can will be viewable as a recorded video on the Bloomsbury YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/BloomsburyPublishing
Lastly, if you check my social media feeds at 8.30pm on June the 27th (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram,) then a URL of the live broadcast will be supplied.
BACKGROUND OF THE KHARKHIRAA-TURGEN MOUNTAN TREK AND COMMUNITY PROJECT
In 2004 at the age of 25, I set off from Mongolia, with a dream - to ride a horse 10,000km across the great Eurasian steppe from Mongolia to the Danube River in Hungary. I called it `The Trail of Genghis Khan,' in reference to the great Mongolian leader, who unified the nomads of the Mongolian plateau in the 13th century, and went on to establish history's largest land empire. Using the hardy horses of the steppe, and their skills as horseback nomads, the Mongols rode their horses from the Pacific to Hungary and Egypt, and even ventured as far south as Indonesia!
The inspiration of my journey though, was not to follow the Mongol warpath, but come to understand nomadic life of the steppes. People here have been riding horses for more than 5,500 years - in fact you could say they invented horse-riding. Today in Mongolia, nomads still roam the mountains, plains and deserts, living in felt tents known as gers or yurts, and moving from camp to camp with their vast herds of animals, following the seasons. I was lucky enough to ride my bicycle through Mongolia when I was 21 years old and it gave me a glimpse of a country that is without fences - there is no private property- and people only own as much possessions as they can fit on the back of their camels and horses.The climatic condition are hard to fathom - in the winter it can drop below -50 degrees celisus, and in summer it can sometimes reach towards 50 degrees of heat. There is no firewood, and so nomads rely mostly on storing and burning dried animal dung. I was inspired, to know what it would be like to live in this environment, like a nomad. I have spent the last four years making a film, and writing a book about those experiences (the book, On the Trail of Genghis Khan: An Epic Journey Through the Land of the Nomads, (Bloomsbury) to be released in September 2013).
In 2009 I did return to the Kharkhiraa-Turgen mountains of Western Mongolia. This time on an exploratory trip with old Mongolian friend, Tseren Enebish and in collaboration with World Expeditions. It was a special experience to watch how the experience impacted so powerfully on the group, and the rest is history - I have been returning every year for a trek, employing local man, Dashyam, as the head camel guide (Dashnyam helped guide me over the Kharkhiraa pass in 2004 and it remains one of the most magical chapters of my journey to Hungary).