8th August

So it seems i left Mongolia 9 days ago and i havent left a post since then, it takes a while to process the departure, im not even sure i can process it now as im in la-la land in Bali, i travelled from UB to Denpasa Bali by train 1st to beijing, stayed 3 days with my lovely, incrediblly hosting cousin, then another train to Hong Kong, easily the weirdest place ive ever been then a flight to Bali. Now i am sitting here at a bar at my ‘Inn’ trying to write this blog.

So the first thing i noticed was when i got off the train in beijing i realised my limited yet survival level Mongolian would not be needed anymore and i probably would not be speaking to any Mongolians anymore and that made me very sad. The whole time in Beijing and Hong Kong i wanted to shout Zogcho and Totzo but knew it would get me nowhere. Also everything i experienced in those cities i wanted to tell my friends about when i got back to UB, but knew i couldnt, that made me sadder.

The hind-sight of having volunteered with VSO and especially in Mongolia has so far made me feel extremely proud, honoured and fulfilled i cannot express it with words, but you will all see that when you leave (those of you reading this from UB). I would not change it for anything, i know that the majority of the people i will speak to in my future will never understand what i experienced the last year and that i can only share it with a limited few, only they understand the joys and pains and pure freakiness of it all and i will always remember them and hopefully, or more certainly i will be able to reminise with them at a later date in another location. I have shared many experiences and maybe too much information with a selected few, they all know who they are.

25th August

Again, its taken me a while to get back to writing this. Im now in Kuala Lumpa airport awaiting my departure to London and with 5hours left to go for departure i have time to finish this blog.

Prior to being offered a place in Mongolia Asia was not my 1st option for travel, no offence to Asia but other places caught my attention first. But after a year and 4 countries later i have had the time of my life, especially the people of Indonesia, i hope their smiles and kindness keep me going when i get back to the rudeness and frowns in London. All this travel gives you a different perspective on life and people and what is important and this is what i really hope to take with me forever.

Now back to Mongolia, i promised to Y that i would write my top 10 things i’ll miss in Mongolia as well as the things i wont miss, ive had more than enough time to think about it so here goes.


1-People, people, people, the adoptive family you soon grow.

2-The countryside, every part of it, winter and especially the summer.

3-The feeling you get in the countryside of space, stars and endlessness.

4-Ikh Mongol, sad but true, its not the place but what it represented and all that was shared there.

5-Strangely enough the lack of planning and impulsiveness. As a mild OCDer i loved and embrassed how you can impulsively get away.

6-The hospitality of my co-workers and the effort they made to make me feel welcome.

7-Again strangely enough, although at first it was weird i got used to the staring, especially on the bus and the kids in the street. That fascination of who are you and what are you doing here.

8-Making it through a winter alive and unscaved, also the extreme cold when you are wrapped up warm is quite something. I loved that i did it but wouldnt do it again.

9-Hiking in the hills, however much i complained about it.

10-Sleeping/waking up/cleaning my teeth outdoors. Especially cleaning my teeth outdoors.

Wont miss/Bad

1-That winter pollution has got to go, for everyone that lives there something has to be done.

2-Seeing puppies in the winter that havent made it.

3-Violence to foreigners.

4-Falling over endlessly in the winter.

5-Just how damn hard it was somedays to get about/do work or just to face another frozen face day.

6-Sorry but the food leaves alot to be desired.

7-Poverty, its hard to see and harder to know you cant help it.

8-Being so far from family

9-Getting a job done, achieving a goal. I learnt however to let go and that eventually we would get there. Still it was a hard process.

10-Having to say goodbye to those you get close to.

All in all and as cheesy as it sounds its what i learnt the last year that i cherish the most.

Here are some of my favourite moments from the last year

Duya's Wedding

Hikes with K n C

Me in Space Narinteel

MN in Beijing

Waking in Khovsgol

Bonfire n vodka in Khovsgol

Camel ride in Sainshand

Terelj with K n C

NY eve

A spontaneous night in Terelj

This guys Serenity

Sunset time Gili T

Doing nothing Gili T

Every evening Gili T

The Royal cremation Ubud

Dolphins at sunrise Lovina


About rdamm

I am about to embark upon a V.S.O. placement for one year in UB, Mongolia. I shall be working as a textile designer at Mongol Nekhmel, a textile company that produces cashmere, yak and camel hair clothing and homeware. I shall be sharing the skills i have gained in the last 10 years as a designer, creating connections and helping to open-up the products to the European and Japanese markets, therefore hopefully assisting to bring herding communities out of poverty. The views expressed in this blog are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of V.S.O. www.vso.org.uk www.vsointernational.org
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1 Response to UB-China-HK-Indonesia-UK

  1. Damm I am so proud of you and so happy that you have had this life changing experience, I wish everyone could have this and the world would be such a different place to live in, more understanding and compassion, more appreciation for what we have and understand how privileged we are in or western civilsation to have all the comforts we have, stop complaining about not having enough money, when we have more food then we can eat, a roof over our head (even heated in winter) a wardrobe with worth enough to feed a village in other countries and so forth. And yes everything is relative I know. But yet we suffer ll over the world with or without material matters, for what is more important then love and sharing the beauty of life ?
    I am curious to hear what your next adventure will be. Keep rolling sis. love ya!!

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