‘Mongolia?' people had said when I told them that I was going there for a month. ‘Where's that?'
Before I left home it had got me thinking: why was I going to Mongolia?
Such an unusual destination to decide to live and work but I was drawn by the fascination of this unfamiliar place, to a country so vast and full of culture that I knew so very little about.
And as my month here comes to an end, I still wonder what drew me to this destination so very unknown. I would consider myself a robust type of traveller, adaptable and resourceful: someone who makes the most of any situation but living in Mongolia can challenge the best of us.
I've been spat on, nearly robbed and almost run over. I've survived with hardly any hot water, survived the fatty meat and salty tea and the glares from wary locals, afraid that westerners are coming here to take all their resources through the mining of their land. And it has been a harsh ride.
On the other hand, I have made an adorable Mongolian little brother, learnt to talk a bit of lingo and immersed myself in this fascinating country and managed to turn my first impression into an incredible lasting one.
Bayartai Mongolia (goodbye)