7 th of may 2009. Bosnia and Hercegovina. Banja Luka. interview in newspaper Nezavisne.


In history of people of Mongolia there is an ancient tradition, a kind of mission, called badarchin. That would mean that a young man, who has certain skills and education, and is matured enough, takes a bag and two sticks and go for a long trip. His task would be to go by foot, to walk through various difficulties, experience pain and collect knowledge and experiences, and than, after some time, to get back to his people and tell them what he has learned.

Recently, a modern badarchin came in BiH. Jambalsurena Zolbajar, known as Amai, 4th of November 2005 started his adventure – a trip around the world and BiH is 59th country he has visited. He plans to visit at least 150 countries and 6 continents before he gets back to Mongolia.

“For many years we haven’t heard of badarchines, like this tradition has vanished. I wanted to renew this tradition and to investigate possibilities of travelling for Mongolian people, thus giving the opportunity to my people, specially our youth, to go to foreign countries. I write about all countries I see along the way, from Mongolian point of view – about the people who live there and about what a Mongolian traveller could expect there. I am trying to compare all those countries with Mongolia and their cultures with ours.” says Amai.

Mongolia is last nomad civilisation in the World. Soviet Union tried to erase that culture for 70 years, but such a long and rich history couldn’t be erased during two or three generations.

“People of other cultures come from cultures of cities. That is not in Mongolian tradition, but now, especially because of globalisation, Mongolia has to put together both those traditions.” says Amai.

OPENING UP TO OTHER CULTURES: Amai today, being 30years old, has very rich life experience. He was born in Ulan Bator 28th of June 1979 in a family where knowledge was appreciated. Amai’s father is history professor at National University of Mongolia. He comes from country side and had been working in Russian University in Irkutsk – Sibir for 5 years. Amai’s mother is economist, coming from city family. Amai has lived in Soviet Union for some time, where he had seen last years of communistic system. He got back in Mongolia in 1991. At University of Politic Sciences in Ulan Bator, he has finished the studies of Foreign Politics.

Before he started his long and lonesome travelling, Amai was vanguard artist, in Mongolia. He was amongst first people to bring electronic music in Mongolia from the West, combining it with traditional Nomad sounds. He has also studied other cultures and countries without prejudges, thus decision of exceptional life undertaking came spontaneously.

“I believe that every person, within himself defines what he wants to do or be in life. That one knows if he is going to be a mathematician, basketball player or economist. When I was 13 years old, I knew I wanted to travel and everything I did led to it; my education was preparing to learn more, to be open to other nationalities and cultures. “Amai recalls.

It was sometimes very difficult to find informations of some countries in Mongolian language. Though he can speak Russian and English, he sometimes found that informations are not always consistent with what he had learned before.

As he gets to know other cultures, he also tries to pass the massage of Mongolia to them, to tell people he meets about his country. About who are Mongolian people and how they live. This is why he tries to visit the Universities of all towns he come to, and have a presentation about Mongolia and about the journey he has been on for three and a half years by now. Today he is going to have presentation and lecture at Philosophy Faculty in Banjaluka.

FROM RUSSIA TO SOUTHEAST ASIA: On his journey, he went across Russia, visited Scandinavian countries and Western Europe, than travelled on south, across Italy and Greece and to Middle East, and than also to Africa.

“In Africa, I visited 32 countries and got back to Europe, where I have already seen 20 countries. I plan to head for Central Asia after I have seen Balkanian countries, there I’m going to be on the very border of my country, but I’m not going to cross it, because three years and six months of being out of my country are very tough period. After that I’m going back to Europe, to visit countries I had not yet been to, and then I’m going to go to South and North America, Australia and Southeast Asia. “says Amai about his plans.

One of decision Amai made about his journey is to travel mostly by roads, so he could see most of the nature and meet people. During three and half years, he travelled by aeroplane only twice, and he had been using all kinds of transport, including helicopters, elephants, horses, donkeys, camels, trains, boats…

“I haven’t been home, and I’m probably not going to Mongolia for next 6years, until my journey around the world is finished. It’s tough, but it is my decision. We carry Mongolian plains within us and I know people who do not live in Mongolia and cry at night wanting to see the plains, to feel the freedom. “ says Amai.

PROBLEMS WITH VISAS: For Amai, the journey is more complicated than for citizens of other countries because of the visas Mongolian citizens needs. Most of countries don’t have embassy in Mongolia, it was only after downfall of communism in 1992 Mongolia started to open up and make diplomatic relations towards countries of the world.

“Mongolia is much like Bosnia and Herzegovina. I remember hearing from people in my country that ex Yugoslavia was ideal of all communistic countries. People from Mongolia, who was able to come in Yugoslavia for studies, considered that a big success, just as if somebody could go to America to study today.” says Amai.

Just as everyone in Mongolia, Amai was surprised when he heard that Yugoslavia fell apart, and that there was war going on.

“Nobody understood what had happened, that was a reason more for me to be interested in these areas. I would like to find the reasons for conflicts between the citizens of such respectable country. How can it be possible for people who lived so well together to turn against each other. In my experience, there is no bad people, there are only bad situations. “ says Mongolian traveller.

In BiH embassy in Zagreb Amai tried to get the visa for BiH, but he was refused with explanation that Mongolian citizens can get that visa only in Peking in China. The fact that he is travelling for a few years now, and that he had often asked and got visas in embassies in near by countries, did not help. “No” was the final answer. He went to Serbia, one of the rear countries that he did not need visa for. Since he is very persistent, he decided to try once more, in embassy in Belgrade, where he got his visa in a few hours.

“I was very surprised, how was it possible, that foreign politics of one country can be so very different in embassies two neighbouring countries. Afterwards I heave learned that it was common in this country, and though it is confusing, I will try my best to understand and learn more of your people.” says Amai.

Even more surprised he was when he learned that there was a Mongolian woman living in Banjaluka. He does not know yet how long is he going to stay in BiH, he knows that he is going to go to Sarajevo soon, and in Montenegro afterwards.

Badarchin is writing down his impressions from his journey, that are going to be gathered in a book, which is about to have some very interesting informations in it. For now, he reveals that rakija is going to be described as a drink that can warm ones soul, and that he is delighted by beautiful girls in Banjaluka.


Horaayy..there are 2 comment(s) for me so far ;)


Goy bn shuu. Hoyor nomiig chini hoyulang ni unshsan. Estoi sonirholtoi bolson bn le. 3 dahi nomiig chini huleej bga shu! Amjilt!!!

Ulzii wrote on 2011/07/24 - 18:59

I am not trying to dis you but I just wanted to express my opinion about your trip. It seems to me your trip was more of a personal discovery and finding about your own self. There weren’t much of educational or informational aspect in your trip. To me, everywhere you go, all you see is broke and poor motherfuckers all over the world trying to survive. The only difference between these poor souls are the language they speak. The part I didn’t understand is why did you have to spend 4,5 years to find out something that is already known to the most people? You’ve mentioned that you were inspired by a book that your father bought you and wanted travel the world but you seem to failed to acknowledge that the book was well outdated and was based on the perspective of someone back in 20, 30 years prior today. My advice to you, if you trying to achieve something, you need to pursue something tangible, and more valuable. One thing kind of made me laugh while glancing at your pictures, you put pictures of different females, which represents your desire to prove yourself to others. I mean if you are good, then you don’t have to prove yourself to nobody.

cimino wrote on 2011/08/02 - 13:37
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