Mongolia for the beginner…

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We have been encouraged by the reading public’s interest in Far from Cold. We recently interviewed the author, Gillian Newham. Over the next 10 day we will be posting Gillian’s answers to some of our questions. Please let us know if you have questions you would like Gillian to answer!


Q: What picture would you draw of life in Outer Mongolia for someone who has yet to experience it?

I think Outer Mongolia is a place that’s changing but I think one word that I often use to sum it up is wild because it’s a harsh environment – it’s really cold in the winter and it’s nice and warm in the summer.  People still live out on the steppe in gers and it is an incredible location.

The Mongols are nomads at heart and even though they’re settled and the city is growing – Ulaanbaatar is growing and there’s two other cities in Mongolia, and they’re growing – and people are living in apartment blocks – there’s still in them this wild nomadic heart that moves and goes with the spirit, or with the wind, or whatever you want to call it. So it’s an incredible country.

I remember one year Lonely Planet guide described it as a ‘country without fences’ – now that’s actually changing and there are fences but it’s that fact of without boundaries – these people who live in this harsh environment who are free-spirited people. So it’s a beautiful country, there’s lots of contrast – you’ve got the Gobi in the south, you’ve got hills, you’ve got mountains, you’ve got rivers and streams and lakes, so it’s a vast country, lots of open space – so wild – but with warm-hearted people.  I think they’re shaped by the climate, there is something really stoical about them, they’ll try anything, the people.  Amazing.

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