Alternatives to Black Friday
Beyond Black Friday

This Friday is Black Friday – synonymous with consumerism and excess but there is an alternative option – to help make a statement against what Black Friday has come to represent. Personally, I’ll be sticking my finger up at the event and here are a few ideas on how to mark the day by doing something different using my beloved Mongolia…

Our Focus During Low Season In Mongolia

As a company, we call ourselves ‘manaikhan’ which translates from Mongolian loosely into ‘ours’ or ‘our people.’ Essentially, we’re a family – with all the same stresses, strains and disagreements that all families experience. But, then, also, the support, the unity and the strength that a family can bring as well. For those that know Mongolia, you’ll know that it…

We need to have a rubbish revolution in tourism

Let’s talk about rubbish. As in discarded rubbish – especially discarded rubbish left in our areas of nature. Specifically wet wipes, hygiene products and sanitary items. This is specifically about Mongolia but also applies to wilderness areas in other countries. We have just completed our annual two-day rubbish clean-up of a national park here in Mongolia. And yes, there were…

A business plan of a young Mongolian woman who lives in Ulaanbaatar's ger districts
Real Life Is Everywhere

Look at the image above. Not the most prepossessing image is it? But, what do you think it represents? Any ideas? For me, it reminds us as travellers that real life is everywhere when we travel. It is actually the business plan of a young fashion designer who lives in the ger districts of Ulaanbaatar – Mongolia’s capital city. A…

To tag or not to tag, that is the question

I recently read an article on the BBC News website that ‘Icelanders tire of disrespectful Instagram influencers.’ Part of the article included a comment by Pall Jokull Petursson, who makes a living out of showing photographers Iceland’s nature: ‘The good instagrammers try to show different ways of enjoying nature. We don’t tag places that are off the beaten path that…

Making A Positive Difference Through Tourism In Mongolia

Any ideas? Any ideas what the image represents? This is how our group spent a day recently in Ulaanbaatar – the capital city of Mongolia – at a felting project run by the Buddhist NGO Asral. The group learnt how to clean the wool, process the wool, colour the wool & then how to create by hand these intricate felt…

Swimming In Mongolia – Swimming In A Land Locked Country

When you think of Mongolia you might not automatically think of swimming in Mongolia. It’s the second largest landlocked country in the world for a start, more than 30% of its landmass is covered by the Gobi Desert – the world’s 5th largest desert and the number of swimming pools outside of the capital city of Ulaanbaatar can be counted…

The vast eternal landscapes of Mongolia
Falling In Love With A Landscape … In Mongolia

One of my favourite quotes about Mongolia is by the author Steven J Bodio in his book Eagle Dreams. In just a few words he sums up how I feel about Mongolia … ‘Each time I return I see constant changes alongside the things that never change. I love its paradoxes. Its space and hospitality, its freedom and ancient customs.…

Girl Power – Why We Employ Only Female Trip Assistants

Girl Power – a phrase from the 1990s and early 2000s and, as I’m always slightly off-trend, one I continue to use. I use it in relation to my trip assistants – all of whom are Mongolian women. Do I provide opportunities to Mongolian women to tick boxes the equal opportunities box? No. It goes deeper than that. I am…

Local children getting a lift on a horse in Mongolia
Local Travel On A More Personal Level

There are trends and cycles in tourism just as with other areas of influence. One of the current shifts is towards a more authentic experience. It’s there in these three tag lines – ‘travel like a local’, ‘don’t just visit, live it’, and ‘be where you belong’. All from three quite major tour or accommodation suppliers. The focus is on…