MONGOLIA JOURNAL

 

ON THE
TRANS-SIBERIAN
RAILWAY

by Phillip Van Nostrand

 

I am in the most beautiful place ever… I’m not sure if my pictures will be able to do it justice. Imagine this: three yurts, in the middle of vast plains; a mile away are foothills, another mile in a different direction are spots of animals– sheep, cows. The nearest dwelling is a speck in the distance.

 

The road to get here was dirt for 25 minutes or so. I am truly in the Mongolia of my dreams. I took a chance on a friend’s recommendation. For five days of travel they recommended a yurt-to-yurt (Ger to Ger): home stays in a different place every night. It’s impossible to describe opening my door this morning onto nothing but grassy plains. There is no barrier, no mat, no porch- simply bedroom and then vastness, and it’s a perfect day to top it off.

 

Life for the kids here is interesting. It involves play intermixed with duties, like bringing that stray cow home, or shoveling out the poop from the pen, or bringing in all the sheep and goats at night. And in between, a lot of soccer in the largest backyard you can possibly imagine.

 

The people I met were real. The countryside was real. But as I was leaving the cowboy’s three yurts in the middle of nowhere, three German girls arrived. How many guests a year does this guy take? Am I not special?? ...Everyone I have stayed with is basically a farmer, which is a very interesting sort of life to witness, wherever you might happen to be. As a guest on a farm, I find myself getting restless rather quickly, but the farmers always have something to do. There is always a project to complete, a cow to milk, sheep to bring in and water to fetch.

 
Phillip Van Nostrand is based in New York and Santa Barbara. He is both a commercial and editorial photographer, with a forte in capturing the life essence in many genre's, such as interiors, travel, portraits and fashion. He travels extensively abroad fulfilling a desire to experience the spirit of the world.

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