So this is happening; Mongolia

Do you know what happens when you get to twenty six and you've already had a child, got married, started your own business, adopted a cat and bought your dream bicycle, only for your entire life to get sucked down a plug hole (albeit because you, yourself, pulled the plug out); for your marriage to come to an end and your business to fold and for you and your child and your cat, and your bicycle, to move in to a cool but decidedly "single person" flat, where, before you're twenty seven, you have to start again. From scratch?
You realise, after a short while, that you can do anything. That's what happens. 
Then you book flights to Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia.
Perhaps this doesn't quite happen to everyone, well, not the flights to Mongolia anyway, but it's what's happening in my camp. 
On the 10th September 2015, I fly to Ulaanbaatar (the coldest capital city in the world did you know?) with very little actual stuff, and with the intention of staying there for 24 hours, ish, filling the time with as many monasteries and palaces and awe inspiring sights as possible before leaving, for rural Mongolia.
The next 10 days will be spent crossing 150 kilometers of Mongolian desert, mountains and wild forest, in areas largely untouched by tourism, or, indeed, untouched by anyone but native nomadic tribes people... on a horse. 


Err Merr Gerrd I'M SO EXCITED

I haven't done anything like this in years, and when I say "like this", I can probably only refer to the time that I crossed Wales on a horse. Now, don't get upset Wales, you rock my socks, but the most challenging conditions that I experienced were light drizzle over the Brecon Beacons. 
Mongolia, is, well... it's not Wales. The days are, by all accounts, punishingly hot in Summer and boy does it know how to rain, and the nights are bitterly cold. When you consider that I will only have what I can carry on a pack horse, it might get a bit testing at times, but I can't actually get my ahead around just what a fantastic opportunity this is right now. 
Not only will I get to see bits of world that I didn't really expect to see, perhaps ever, (Mongolia has always been one of those countries on my Top Five "if I ever had the chance..." destinations, but seemed rather unrealistic as a holiday destination) but I'll also have the opportunity to experience a culture so at odds with mine, that I can't imagine yet what I'll learn. Amazingly, ethnic Mongols make up 95% of the Mongolian population, and Buddhism is the most prolific religion, although, out in some of the most remote parts of the country, I'm likely to go days without running in to anyone other than my own travelling companions. 
So that's that, actual Mongolia, actual horse, actually happening. 
On the subject of why, other than, the obvious - why not? I will be using this amazing opportunity to raise as much money as possible for charity. I have scratched my head for a long time trying to decide which charity, as 12 months is likely to include a lot of fund raising, and I want to raise money for a cause that I'm passionate about (of which there are several) but I have finally come to a decision to ride in support of MIND - the mental health charity. 
Improving not only the care available to those effected by mental health issues, but also tackling the social stigma surrounding mental health, raising awareness of the struggles faced by mentally ill people, and helping our society as a whole to save lives from all forms of mental illness, is something that gives me all of the feels. 
In 2001 I lost three members of my family, one of them my Father, to suicide. Of those three people, not one sought medical help before taking their own life. I'm so bored of hearing about how selfish suicide is, an opinion so often spouted by people who've never been the "child left behind", and I'm unbelievably keen to see, not only a reduction in the number of suicides taking place as a result of untreated mental illness, but also of the number of people forming ill advised ideas of suicide victims.
In 2002 and 2004 I was diagnosed and treated for depression and a range of anxiety disorders, before developing a severe eating disorder, and in 2007, I was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, an illness I'll probably live with to varying degrees for the rest of my life. It scares me to think of the number of people, men, women, children, vulnerable and also unexpected people, who suffer with the same range of symptoms that I have, or that I do now, and that are not getting the treatment or support that they need, or that are being made to suffer further injustice as a result of their illness. 
Mental illnesses need to be given the same recognition and handling as physical, equally life threatening diseases. MIND is a fantastic charity and I'll talk more at a later date about what they do and how they help people every single day. 
The next twelve months are going to be full to bursting with smaller fundraising projects leading up to the Mongolia trip next September so if anyone has any ideas for cool ways to raise money in the lead up to my trip, or thinks they may be able to help in any way at all, give me a shout, you know where I am (social buttons to the right will link you up to me via Twitter, Facebook, or good old fashioned email, for a start.)
Once fundraising efforts get under way I will share with readers how they can donate, if it's something they'd like to do, towards my campaign. 

2 comments:

  1. That's so freaking amazing! Mongolia has been high up on my travel wishlist forever. I bet you'll have an incredible experience. And what a brilliant charity to be representing. Good luck with the fundraising lovely!
    x

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    1. I'm so excited! Very proud to be supporting MIND as well, as I say, it's a charity pretty close to my heart. I'm sure it's going to be amazing and I'll be telling you how desperately you need to get yourself to Mongolia! It's definitely up there as one of my top "Must See" countries.

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