Martin Luther King said “We are not makers of history. We are made by history.” I’m not sure about the first half of this quote coming from history-maker Martin Luther King, but I am good with the second half. And for me travel is one of the best ways to learn about what we are made of. Some places are especially good for understanding a little bit about world history, and feeling the past and how it has influenced our world today.
Mongolia is not generally known for its art or design. But there is so much here that is beautifully evocative of the country’s land and its people. Mongolian art and design are influenced by the country’s historic relationships with other parts of Asia, including India, China, and Tibet. The complement is also true — Mongolia has influenced the art of many other Asian regions.
Genghis Khan created the largest empire in the history of the world on the back of a horse. He believed in “khiimori,” or “wind horse” — a human quality that remains essential to Mongolians 900 years later. Wind horse is the strength of your spirit, your inspiration, your courage. Khiimori is like the soul of the horse and the spirit of the earth and the sky. It is these untamed places in Mongolia. Continue reading
For a short time, we are living a little bit like the nomads of Mongolia, 300 miles west of Ulaanbaatar in the area around Bulgan. We are a 90 minute drive from anything you could call a road. At our base camp, Lapis Sky, we live in tents called gers. We ride the descendants of horses that carried the Mongolians who, 900 years ago, conquered most of the known world. We watch the thrilling spectacle of 40 children racing “thunderhooves” across the steppes. We sip vodka from the same small cup and sample “airag,” the yogurty fermented mare’s milk the Mongolian nomads prize. Continue reading
I am a little embarrassed to say that I didn’t know Mongolia was a country until I decided to visit. I guess I assumed it was a region that was part of China and part of Russia. But Mongolia is a democracy with a president and – since the Soviets pulled out in 1991 – it has a mixed economy. It is unlike any place I have ever visited. Continue reading