what the heart wants, the head fears

This evening, after a flurry of emails throughout the day between the travel agent and myself, and many tweakings and confirmings of dates, I am in possession of a quote for an entire overseas holiday. Flights, accommodation, transfers, and insurance. And about ten minutes ago I had a moment of sheer, blindness-inducing terror, because I […]

so many places to visit, and re-visit; so little rec leave

People, what is wrong with you? I tell you I'm going to Mongolia, and you make no comment?1 Perhaps it's because I put it right at the bottom of the post, and very few of you made it that far. Here, let me fix that. I'M GOING TO MONGOLIA. Travel insurance is purchased, flights are […]

is it m-o-n-g-o-u-a?

While I was busy being jabbed by the GP1 the other day, I received a phone call from the Embassy of Mongolia. Cue wonder, and mild worry that something was awry with my visa application. When I returned the call, I was greeted with a simple, blank "Hello…?" Not entirely sure I hadn't misdialled, I […]

and yet another weekend goes by without ironing

I have 98 AA batteries for the trip to Mongolia. They may well take up the majority of my baggage weight allowance. The perils of trying to calculate how many batteries you'll need to see you through 3 weeks of a potentially avid photography spree. I've also spent the weekend collating all the medicinal and […]

i owe you emails. they're not landing any time soon.

Dear Australian Dollar: Yeah, thanks. Really. I hate foreign currency. Estimating how much I'll need, trying to figure out ways to access it while I'm away, and then the whole debacle that is changing from one currency to another just so that I can change to yet another currency in a few more days. Not […]

t-minus 4 sleeps and counting

I hate packing. But after a day at it, I have shoved most everything I'll need into the rucksack. I'll have to wear my hiking boots onto the plane, and carry my warm jacket, and clearly I'm not buying ANYTHING while I'm away because there isn't a skerrick of unused space in said rucksack,1 but […]

there are consequences

I could tell you that I have amazing friends, one of whom staged a stealth pickup at the airport yesterday, and didn't flinch from hugging me even though I hadn't showered since May. I could tell you that Mongolia is Big Sky Country. Or that I am currently sporting the darkest tan I have achieved […]


I suppose the most famous Mongol is as good a place as any to start. When I first decided to visit Mongolia, mostly people reacted with a stunned blink and the question "…Why?" It's one I find impossible to answer briefly without sounding dismissive, and equally impossible to answer at length without starting to ramble […]

can somebody please tell me why i'm starving?

Mongolian men have no qualms about asking for directions when they're not sure of the way,1 which is lucky because I could count on one hand the number of road signs I spotted — and the road signs follow the same rules as maps in Mongolia. Namely, they're just supposed to be, you know, vaguely […]

photos just don't do it justice

I find there are two things I keep saying about Mongolia. First, that I frustratingly couldn't fit the country into my camera, and second, that its extremes of weather, and the swiftness with which one extreme followed the other, gave me climate whiplash. I started off in UB, which to my delight was unseasonably warm […]