Staying in a traditional Mongolian Ger taught us more than we had imagined so much so that we are taking what we learnt on the land and applying it to our every day life at home.
1. Going Green.
Our Ger had no power or water so we needed to source these from nature. The water was collected and stored from the local river. We all learnt to really respect water after seeing how hard it was to come by.
2. Fuel for fire.
I’ve never seen the kids so excited or enthusiastic to spend a morning collecting horse and cow poo. They each had a bag they would fill up with dried dung to use to burn on the fire. They learnt to recognise which one came from a horse and which one from a cow. They learnt which texture was best and were fascinated with the food/poo cycle of these animals.
3. Getting around.
We enjoyed discovering that we could all ride a horse in our own way. They were the best form of transport over the river, across the plains and up and down the rocky hills. While travelling we also were walking over 10kms a day which makes us reflect on how much we use our car each day at home.
4. Using the Stove.
Each night we would heat our dinner and boil our water on the wood stove. We all learnt how to start the fire and used the collected dung to fuel it. Leftovers are also your best friend.
5. Toilet Talk.
Over the hill from the Ger was a pit toilet that used sawdust. It didn’t take the kids long to get used to using the bathroom in this way. They learnt to limit toilet paper usage which hopefully will help at home too!
6. Less is more.
Travelling with carry on only meant limited clothes and while in the ger layers were key throughout the day. You don’t need a wardrobe full of things just a few outfits preferably nothing white!
We used boiled water to wash the dishes and bathed ourselves in the cold river. We washed our hands with this handy contraption. We realised we don’t need to use the dishwasher or copius amounts of crockery during the day. We can reuse the same bowl and cup each day. Also you don’t actually need a bath or a shower every day!
The kids spent time drawing and writing if it was raining otherwise they were outside playing imaginative games with rocks and sticks. While technology has a place in our homes (especially as its Cooper’s main way of accessing his school curriculum) we loved being away from screens and seeing the kids play in nature.
Our ger host enlisted the support of some local people to take us horse riding and prepare our dinner. Working together helps everyone and ensures a self of purpose and belonging.
10. Stepping outside your comfort zone.
This experience taught us all that all we need to do sometimes is jump even if we are hesitant.