Tonight, the 17th of June, I am setting sail back to Mongolia for a very exciting journey. Between the 22nd of June and the9th of July, I will be leading 16 students from Caulfield Grammar School in Melbourne (Australia), on a trek throug 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. Perhaps most importantly though, the journey will include a community project in the small village of Khovd. the students have been hard at work raising funds to help fit out the village schools dormitory with furniture. The dorm caters for about 150 children at present - all of whom are from nomadic families.
There is more information about the background of this journey below, but excitingly, thanks to Google, we will be broadcasting from the 3,000 metre high pass of Kharkhiraa, on the 27th of June, at 8.30 pm Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST)
GOOGLE HANG OUT - HOW TO JOIN LIVE BROADCAST, 27TH JUNE, 8.30 PM AEST. (11.30AM UK TIME, 1.30PM BERLIN TIME)
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/u/0/events/cn9dqu7qss7eflm1smovgmvi75c
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 June/July 2011, I did return to the Kharkhiraa-Turgen mountains. This time, I was in Mongolia to travel with 14 Caulfield Grammar students over the same 8 day trek that I had done previously by horse. Part of this special journey in 2011, involved raising money for a school in the remote village of Khovd. Khovd Soum is a district centre for the nomads of the Kharkhiraa Turgen mountains. The school has a dormitory where children of nomads live through the winter months and attend class- in the summer the children return to their families in the mountains .
Our Google+ hang out –all things going to plan- will be at 8.30pm EST in Australia, live from the 3,000 metre high pass between the twin peaks of Kharkhiraa and Turgen. This will be the day that we do the highest climb of all to 3,700 metres. From our camp high on this pass, we will be crossing to Leticia at Google. There will be myself, Dashnyam, Tseren, and two of the Caulfield students to answer questions.
Looking forward to connecting from out there!
Tim Cope Journeys
June 6, 2013.