Thanks to my friend TUYA for her second English translation of my diary
August 28, 2008 Nouakchott, capital city of Mauritania
People who follow my travel diaries from their office or home may feel envious about adventures and experiences that I have lived and may become tempted to resort into traveling themselves.
So, do you really want to travel around the world?
I always feel grateful for the opportunities I was provided during my journey, to observe many different countries, their cultures, and wonders. However, if someone would approach me today at home with a proposal:
-Would you be interested in joining around the world trip? Without hesitation I would have refused.
Travelling is an ordinary vacation you take to one country that you can safely leave and return home in case you happen not to like it. Traveling around the world is a long journey that you just have to carry on regardless of your liking or distaste, until its purpose is fulfilled.
You may stop to rest and suspend the time temporarily at any location you may find favorable, but once the time is up, you resume the walk again. Although I can see where the end for this journey lies, the duration and risks remain largely hidden. It appears from the posted comments, that most of my readers did not have much travelling experience; except that they lived in one specific location-therefore they do not apprehend the meaning of these notes to its fullest extent.
When it comes to reading and processing information, often times, Mongolians draw their conclusion based on their educational background or what they have actually experienced. Seldom there are people who actually reflect on my notes and who try to see the world through my eyes. People who understand its purpose are even rare. Although it is not necessary that you completely agree with my points, it may be just as compelling to just try to understand them.

August 25. 2008. Sahara desert, 150 km from the capital of Mauritania.
I opened my eyes in the morning and I see the ceiling of my tent. The dream I had was a recollection of my memories; homemade meal and playtime with friends.
In order to stretch fully I have to sleep diagonally in my tiny tent. In the past when I didn’t own a tent, I constantly slept in different places and used to wake up with unpleasant feeling. Everyday different people, ceilings, and a scent alien to my senses. However, with acquisition of my tent, insignificant but still agreeable stability entered into my nomadic life. There were situations when I had to sleep 30 days in 30 different places and I try to remember events from the preceding day and my whereabouts. This idea may sound remote to you, but try living yourself in 30 different places within 30 days and that is not inclusive of just touring Mongolia or visiting countries where you speak the language.
The sun was already high and soon I will have to get up as it will become unbearable to stay in the tent. Instead, I decided to ponder little bit about purpose of my trip, while devouring peaceful moment within my cramped space and given the limited time. I recalled phone conversations with my parents and how often they bid me to take good care of my health. When traveling you always have to adapt to climate change, nutrition, physical and mental pressure, possible dangers in new destinations. In these conditions, it is difficult to worry about one’s health; It is more suitable to turn back and return home rather than worrying about such matters.
Initially, when I was just starting to make travel plans, I tried to envision all the possible obstacles and solutions to them. However, I was unaware what was exactly awaiting me as at the time there weren’t any publications available in Mongolian from someone who travelled all 7 continents. With these travel notes I wish to provide better knowledge in order to aid those who wish to succeed me.
The entries that I make from time to time concerning visa issues are just one of the many problems. For people from some countries such issue is not big of a deal, whereas for me it poses a major headache (I assume that people from other countries other than Europe, U.S., or Japan, find it pointless then to even think about traveling. Same here is for Mongolians). I felt however emotionally prepared because I come from a country where you get used to the idea of rejection that comes with visa denial. When I inquired about it from western people, they replied with such unlike western people who not even aware about this problem.

Language is also an interesting issue … Once, a foreigner confronted me:
“Since you speak 4-5 languages, in what language do you think first?” I realized that I started thinking already in English. When I compose my entries I imagine in English sentences and then render it into Mongolian. Perhaps, now you understand the reason behind the frequent mistakes I make in my compositions. In order not to forget my native language I resort sometimes into monologues with myself and when I enter new country I try to learn new language. Everyday I struggle to communicate with different people. Sometimes, I even resent the idea of speaking to people. Nonetheless, the communication becomes unavoidable. As they say, when in Rome do as the Romans do, especially when it comes to finding food, shelter, and means of transportation, I do not have much choice but to follow the local customs. The world speaks multitude of languages and not everybody speaks English. Eventually I lost count on my fingers the languages that I know how to greet.
I wonder why we, Mongols did not impose our linguistic culture on others when we were building vast empire? That way on par with English, French, or Spanish I wouldn’t be spending 20 minutes explaining what I wanted to eat!

How lonely it is to be the only Mongol!
To be the last person to understand or not to understand completely what is happening around and being discussed at parties or social events. To sit with group of people, who speak different language than you, and try to guess what is being discussed is a wacky stuff. It’s a pure amusement to try to fish out familiar word from the pool of unfamiliar sounds.
Try to watch a film without soundtrack and understand what the film is about. Imagine you have to permanently watch films and TV without soundtrack. That’s just part of my travel. Oh yeah and if you snooze, your TV will snatch away your money, camera, and your backpack in a blink of an eye! Hehe
-Oh, na nana na na nana na anan Station nanan na na an anna ana nanna an naan an foundation na na an na na an. It is impossible to guess meaning from such sentence, but it is also awkward to ask questions incessantly. Thus my days are spent in real humiliation.
Would you belive me if I say that the only detail I didin’t think about while preparing my journey was actually LONELINESS !?
The agony is not food poisoning, visa, or finances, but actually loneliness.
As I change move on daily or weekly basis there is little to no opportunity to make friends. People’s names, faces fade away with fleeting images of cities and streets. By all means there is a lot of opportunity to meet new people and make some really good acquaintances, but in overall I realize that time is essential in developing anything meaningful. I assume you wouldn’t share your most intimate details and troubling thoughts of your life with casual acquaintance. And what if your friend is of different nationality? How do you overcome the issue of linguistic barrier? For if you try to talk about your state of solitude and he will think that you are talking about your family, wouldn’t it makes sense to shift the topic into more elementary level and consider talking about food, music or other simple matters?
Truly I miss the kind of friends who have similar traits of thought; the type of friends with whom I could share all the accumulated thoughts, who, if shall not provide all the answers to troubling thoughts, but at least listen sympathetically and reciprocate with me.
I come to regard my website as my closest mate and your comments to be his sincerest responses. What’s use for experiences if they cannot be shared with others?
In Paris, while observing the Eiffel Tower for the first time I thought:
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if my family, girlfriend, or my best friend were right here with me; If not for the drinks to cheer then at least for the pure thrill that we could share?
There wouldn’t be any more necessity to put my camera on timer and try to run for automated snapshot. The difference between having and not having a friend is that, when you need to be alone with your thoughts you can just draw temporary seclusion by sitting away from your friend, however loneliness does not have the option of companionship.
For the last six months in a row I’ve greeted morning by myself, never mind the warm embraces, but wouldn’t it be nice to just have someone who would say “Good Morning!”
I wake up in the morning and I am alone, breakfast alone, all day alone, and unless by some luck I will encounter someone who speaks Mongolian or English at dinner also alone, time for bed and again alone! Feeling sanguine I assume that tomorrow will be full of surprise.
I really wish to meet someone and yet I am alone!
Recently I found a stuffed teddy bear, just like Tom Hanks’ in Cast Away, he is since my mascotte and accompanies me.
I thought I planned everything well but I missed out on LONELINESS. The fact that I am the first Mongol to travel around the world does not aid my blues.
…It became warm in my tent.
I believe that human being acquired intelligence after he was able to resolve his need for food. Perhaps there is pleasure principle operating at the foundation of progress. However here I am, like some sort of street bum, every morning troubled by thoughts of food. I wrote about refrigerator in my previous entry but it appeared that nobody paid really attention to it, partly may be they never thought about it. There is recurrent thought in me that for a lot people my diaries may constitute a cheap form of entertainment sort of magazine you read and toss out.
-I stopped writing my entries and there were many occasions when I doubted its value. Nonetheless I have not given up entirely on the thought that someday people will understand these entries and hence I spend my valuable time writing days and nights. An experience in the past taught me not to give up. Back in 2000 when I approached one of the radio stations with copy of my trance composition they responded:
-What kind of concept is that? This is just empty music! Thus they responded by returning my tape. But in 2005 right before departing UB, I remember encountering the same person in a night club who upon seeing me stated, “Trance is the real dope man!” forgetting clearly what he said five years previously. It is ironic that he was regarded as one of the most progressive radio hosts that time!
How far are we behind?

The day after we celebrated our 2 gold and 2 silver Olympic medals I sat with Europeans without mentioning anything about it. I knew ahead that they would respond “2 Gold and 2 Silver? What is exciting about that?” Only Mauritanians and Tunisians shared genuine joy with me.

… .
I opened my tent and my body soaked the energy that I withdrew from the sense of purposefulness. I looked around and I was enveloped by the desert of Sahara. Did I spend the night all by myself here? Unbelievably amazing!
As I started again packing my bag lost in thoughts of road that was ahead of me, two local girls appeared approaching me with hot tea and bread.
I finished my tea and again I was on the road. There will be continuation to it!
Once I will have better internet connection I shall upload photos. Most of the previous entries did not have photos but now I would like to inform the readers that I uploaded photos to all posts starting from Congo to Sierra Leone. Although my entries are open for public I would like to remind that your emotional and financial support remain crucial for this expedition to take place.

Horaayy..there are 18 comment(s) for me so far ;)

#1

Dear Amai, it is just so amazing to read your diary and imagine myself in there to experience the same. Myself is also highspirited traveler and i guess, adventurer. But of course not as great as you are. Recently I visited 3 countries of Europe, with my 2 friends and backpack. It is different from how you travel. We kept moving from place to place and spent nights in hostels with different travelers in the same room. Next morning everyone leaves to different places. There you can feel the air filled with caution and suspect, because travelers are strangers to each other and don’t trust each other. At the same time filled with the curiosity and guarded friendliness. From my experience I can at least try to imagine what you might be experiencing. Value of your travel doesn’t lie in the comfort, numbers, distances, fame etc., it lies in the experience and your inner Amai nourished by these experiences, i think.
In my opinion, loneliness is not always created by language barrier and cultural difference. Because even in Mongolia, in my home, there was a time I felt isolated. I thing loneliness comes when there is no one to share your feelings and I think feelings can be expressed, passed and shared without using words.
Za Amaidaa zondoo ih erch huch daguulsan ayan zamiin yerool negiig ilgeechhii. Bid neg nartai, teriigee odor bur hardag gantshan delhii bilee. Chamtai hamt.
Bye until next.

Degi wrote on 2009/02/08 - 03:20
#2

Other people dont recognize, that they are also alone…

Lin wrote on 2009/02/08 - 10:34
#3

Hi Amai, I believe to be part of the few who perfectly understand what you feel and are going through. Remember I wrote about your ‘LONELY CONQUEST OF THE WORLD’. People like ourselves are ment to pursue their mission. I’m with you Brother and as I said before, I ALWAYS keep you in my prayers. Take care !!!!

Ginga wrote on 2009/02/08 - 17:36
#4

Yes, but I want to listen to my music, alright?

I am waiting for my flight now, and writing. Its not easy to write in comments….

We can choose what we do in life. Some people decide to have carrier – - work all days, think about concepts, theirs or others, and maybe never leave it. Not good or bad, actually this seems to me one of the very good ones, also next one; some people are searching in science – researching, founding new, developing ideas… Or finding job, watch tv, going to play football etc… Or can go to art, dance all life for example… beautifull…But mostly the choice is to live the “standard”. Which is still interesting, because in every country I cant even imagine and it amazes me – the differences. But, they sacrifieced a big thought (if these people had some) to their standard lives. You live the opposite. Than its non of the ways above: just to decide as a person, 100%. You went for different decisions then most of people… And it brings a lot of issues and problems. You might not to know what will happen after, but you did it. Trust in your decisions, its just different!

But, I never had anything emmediatelly. I dont know yet, how is it with “projects”, which are suposed to take certain time…

And,
If you go, maybe after few months to South America, there is usually flight through Lisbon. So, then you have to say something! @ ^ * $ # @ ° & ^

Linda wrote on 2009/02/09 - 16:23
#5

Hi Amai, Congratulations on your journey so far. I dont think the lonliness you feel is any different from anyone else. I live in a town, speak the language and have friends and family close by but i still have bouts of emense lonliness. What you are getting with regards to life experiences far outway your feelings – hang on in there. Just reading your blogs give me hope that anything can be achieved as long as you believe. I met you while i was on holiday in Egypt and have not forgotten you. When you make it to England and
London feel free to contact me if you need a place to stay. Stay safe and good luck for next leg of your journey xx

karen wrote on 2009/02/10 - 17:15
#6

poor guy what is your purpose

bagii wrote on 2009/02/10 - 20:40
#7

Hi my brother.How are you?I,m burnee.I,m celebrated my winter holiday.My holiday is very long,funny and ineresting.

burnee wrote on 2009/02/11 - 10:26
#8

I tried to find information about dance music scene in Mongolia… I found you in internet. It seems you are not going to be around in Mongolia for a while. I am planning a journey to Mongolia at some point in time.

Good luck on your travels!

Valo

Valo Lankinen wrote on 2009/02/12 - 00:19
#9

Im so proud of what you’re doing and accomplishing wiithin your life.

I can really feel the emptiness of not having your friends around and the feeling of you’re the only normal person on earth and everybody else is weird or the other way around, you’re the only weirdo! They seem to understand what you’re saying, but really diggin it. But in the other hand, when you’re so far away from your friend and families this long time, you change a lot and after a period, you find yourself changed and they seem not understanding what you’re really tryin to say. Cuz you’ve grown up so much inside, and you’ve seen diff things, experienced diff things than anybody else. And it is quite hard to find someone who experienced and felt exactly like you did. The globalisation era is bringing somehting new to you and everyone else. Ppl are not having any similar pursuit of life. And it makes them lonely, but at the same time, they understand that there is no perfect way of exercising life.

But whatever you do, dont think of it as waste of time or anything. You’re doing exceptionally good. Personally i would never dare to do this. Remember, you cant imagine how much energy you’re giving to people. I admire your heart and originality and honesty in your writing and your life in general.

Peace and take good care of yourself.
Gema

Gema wrote on 2009/03/05 - 20:17
#10

dear Amai :)
i must admit it was a pleasure meeting you last night. wasn’t sure who i was actually talkin to and still enjoyed the conversation and the explanations ;) the story i have just read is for me very inspiring and thank you for giving me that. won’t write much here, hoping to receive an e-mail eventually. from Serbia i guess ;) wishing you a safe trip.. Diana

Diana wrote on 2009/04/05 - 18:25
#11

Good luck! Share more, take care !

Erdeneochir wrote on 2009/05/09 - 23:24
#12

Amai,the man…
Your way of living made me happy a little bit.You are an example how people should behave and what to do to spread good energy around this beautifull planet Earth.Your love is so big and your understanding of this short human life induce me to belive that there is more people as we are.I am not so religious,but I like the way of beliving that nature is God.Love nature-be in love with God.There is no wealt,money,sense or anything precious on this world as your expirience made by travelling.I felt it just a little bit thru the Europe,but your travelling around the world is just what people who can- should do.
I hope that you will carry nice memories from here,from Montenegro,and I wish you good health and lots of usefull friendships on your travel.
Take care and let mother Earth care about you wherever you’ll be.

Milos wrote on 2009/05/28 - 23:25
#13

Way to go my friend and may the winds be behind your back. I read your story on Serbian web site and made me even more prouder of being a Serb when you said that Serbia is in top 4 countries on your list and how you always wanted to visit Yugoslavia.
I got a bit laugh when you went to get the visa at Yugoslavian embassy and the guy said that he had no clue to what place its worth but it should get you in one of the 6 republics (that was funny)
Also to a guy with a post #6 man you have no clue what life is all about its journey. I wonder where you live it sure is not once of the continents on this planet earth.
If you ever come through Southern California let me know my door is open to you and we will drink some Serbian rakija “plum brandy” aka fire water
Have a safe and happy journey
Serb from California

Zoran B wrote on 2009/08/07 - 04:44
#14

Probably that’s the purpsose of your journey. To let people know the meaning of life. I can breath better after I read your diaries. I know that this is not the end of the world.

bi bn wrote on 2009/10/03 - 01:31
#15

you wrote it a long time ago, but i d say i felt the same loneliness when i was travelling.it is one of the purpose to travel, it s to get deep in your mind and your spirit, you become stronger after this hard time and then you realize what is important in life …
hope to meet you when you come back to mongolia,good luck.

jerome wrote on 2010/04/11 - 16:31
#16

@amai really appreciate you sharing your thoughts openly; traveling alone around the world on budget does seem very difficult indeed

@gema great, insightful comment!

mergen wrote on 2011/06/29 - 17:34
#17

it’s like the fourth time reading this article..I like it a lot;)
Keep writing!

Yannes wrote on 2013/01/15 - 16:15
#18

I enjoy, cause I discovered just what I used to be looking for.

You have ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you man.
Have a great day. Bye

www.giftofdiversity.org wrote on 2013/04/25 - 01:43
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