I felt a bit emotional on our last day of the Trans-Mongolia. Beginning our journey on Saturday 27th August traveling here to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, required 7 train changes and moving the clocks forward 7 hours. Living for five nights on the same train I think we had all became quite attached to it. The clunking of the wheels 24/7 and the random jerks, jolts, and halts all seemed so familiar and friendly by the time we left it’s hard to imagine how very strange it feels to be sat here in the ‘Golden Gobi’ guest house, not rocking too and fro.
I mistakenly imagined spending 5 nights on a train as boring and dull – wrong!
As well as having a group of 10 amazing people with me, to share skills and stories with, there was also the other really cool passengers who kindly gave their time telling us their individual stories, about why they were on Trans-Mongolian, through interviews using our newly acquired camera and audio skills!
Of course, there was also the absolutely spectacular and often unusual scenery:
- Poland – flat, green fields with occasional farms and minimal trees.
- Belarus – less farms but more little ‘cabin-esque’ houses and trees.
- Russia – expanding, spartan, dusty plains and Peter and the Wolf style looming forest with scattered little villages of oddly shaped houses, painted bright blues and greens.
I doubt any of us will miss that ‘creepy Russian guy’ (that’s another story..), the rancid toilets and the flying inches out of bed in the night. I think that most of us will miss our fellow passengers mainly.
There was an older man named Jeff, from Denmark, who I first met when he nearly fell over me when I was collecting footage of the sound of the train (it’s really noisy where the trains attach to each other). He asked me if I made movies – I wish! He let me interview him and told me all about his job – he travels with his daughter (who I was pleased to meet) to make movies about the world – was became inspired by his daughter who has downs. The movies are at a pace that suits people like his daughter and introduce the different ways that people can live, etc. he also went on to tell me about the environment in Denmark and how people and the environment affect each other. He was a fascinating person to interview as he has an obvious passion for what he does and about the environment/climate change.
We also all met a young man named Tim from Thailand. He was traveling from London, England, back to his home country after 5 years of studying English at University. We also interviewed him. He even played us tunes on Twm’s ukelele. The evening before we all parted he produced 11 friendship bracelets – hand-made, one for each of us!
I (almost) can’t wait for the train journey home!