The Night Before Mongolia

Camels resting in the Gobi Desert. Photo by hbieser.

October 11, 2019

It’s the night before I leave for Mongolia; to date, one of the greatest adventures of my life. My bags–my hiking daypack and a new carry-on suitcase\backpack combo–are all packed. They also almost empty. I’m a minimalist traveler; I try my best to never check bags.Two backpacks

Toothbrush and paste, hairbrush, deodorant, two pairs of pants (one hiking, one yoga), three short-sleeve t-shirts, two long-sleeve t-shirts, four pairs of wool socks, panties, my REI hammock quilt, my REI puffy jacket, my cameras, iPad, and chargers, and important documents and a credit card. Nothing more. Plenty of room for souvenirs.

I’ve selected clothing without logos or advertisements. They’re just plain, nondescript. Especially since I’m traveling solo, I don’t want to stand out.

My daypack carries my quilt and puffy for sleeping on the plane. The puffy makes a great pillow when packed loosely in a travel compression bag. I unzip the compression zippers, and voila! A nice, soft pillow. And, I’m wearing my “pajamas” (sweatpants and long-sleeve t-shirt) on the plane, so I should be able to sleep quite comfortably. The best way to get a flight over quickly is to sleep through it!Puffy jacket in a travel compression bag and my hammock quilt

I’m also bringing a passport wallet. I’ve never used one before, but since I plan to do quite a bit of walking around Ulaanbaatar, I thought it might be wise. However, I found the design of passport wallets to leave less than desired, including the one I purchased. I really don’t want to wear one around my neck because, among other things….boobs. Those things are not designed with women in mind. Moreover, I’d rather have my wallet around my waist in case someone tries to snatch it. Not only would it be less painful, but also my belt is stronger than the flimsy laces these things come with.

Modified passport walletOn the other hand, some do come with belt loops, in addition to the lace. Mine is one of these. I tried using it with the lace tucked inside, but it made the wallet bulky and used one of the four pockets. Since the belt loops seem to work well enough and could also double as lace loops, I cut off the silly lace. I left enough of the lace to fold over and sew into a loop, should I ever want to use it that way again. It works great! Just for fun, I packed the lace in my suitcase in case I decide I hate hanging it on my belt.

The weather is supposed to be fabulous–sunny every day and around 50 degrees F for the daytime high, and down in the teens at night. I’m OK with that. I don’t plan on being outside my hotel after dark, and cold weather doesn’t bother me, anyway.

Excited me!I’m super excited! This trip has been on my bucket list for a long time.

Stay tuned! My hotel is supposed to have Internet, and I’m hoping to do a new blog post every night, with stories and photos of my daily explorations.