Mongolian Walking & Creativity Expedition
- Duration: 14 Days (approx.)
- Location: Margaret River, WA
- Product code: MON1
The skies are almost always blue, the landscape is breathtaking & the wilderness unspoilt - Mongolia is a walker's paradise & a perfect backdrop for seriously fun & adventurous creative exploration & discovery.
Join Dr Erika Jacobson for an experience of a lifetime during our 14-day Walking & Creativity Expedition and be led through a powerful creative process while you reconnect with nature & are inspired by the rugged & natural beauty of the Tavan Bogd National Park in Mongolia's north west.
Our expedition begins on June 28 when we all gather for a welcome dinner, meet each other and discuss the 13 days ahead.
The following day we will fly to Ulgii in Mongolia's northwest and the gateway to the Tavan Bogd National Park. Here we will start the creativity workshops & exploration by taking part in a traditional felting workshop with a artisanal artist and scholar.
We then make our way to the national park close to the Chinese & Russian borders where we begin our trekking expedition. One aim of the expedition is to traverse the national park from its its southwest lakes to its five sacred peaks in the north. This will take up to 9 days and we will be supported by a team of Mongolian-Kazakh camel & horse herders, a cook & an English speaking local guide. They will walk ahead of us and set up camp for us at the various camping spots along the way.
The other aim of the expedition is to use the spectacular backdrop of the Mongolian wilderness and all its beauty & challenges to undertake a reflective, personal & collective exploration of creativity & the role it plays or can play in our lives. Dr Erika Jacobson's guidance brings together tools from applied theatre, creative writing, transformative learning & movement & over 15 years of using creativity & self-expression to work with people.
It will be an experience of a lifetime that may bring life changing results.
DAY 1 (28 June) On arrival you will be met by your guide & transferred to a hotel in the city’s centre. Time permitting you may consider visiting the National Museum or Gandan Monastery for a taste of Mongolian history & tradition. A welcome dinner with your fellow explorers will be followed with introductory activities & presentation of the various creative tools, intentions & possibilities for the following 14 days.
DAY 2 (29 June) Early pick up & airport transfer for a 3 hour flight to Olgii where the majority of the population is Kazakh - Turkic, a nomadic people whose territory stretches across the
steppes of Kazakhstan to the Caspian Sea & the Volga River. Exploration of your creative aspirations & the creative process. Further connect with your group.
DAY 3 (30 June) Learn & be guided in creating 3 separate felt pieces such as a cushion cover, a scarf & oven mittens using traditional felting techniques and local wool. Our Kazakh instructor is an artist & scholar whose knowledge of embroidery and felting tradition will enrich our practical creative activity.
DAY 4 (1 July) We drive across mountainous desert and upstream along the Khovd river whose source lies in the glaciers of the Altai mountains. Due to the glacial sediments the colour of the water is milky white. Enjoy picturesque views of riverbanks dotted with felt covered yurts of herding people, their sheep and goat herds and also get a
glimpse of their daily chores.
DAY 5 (2 July) Today we trek along the lakeside to its northern edge. This is an acclimation day with an overall easy terrain and gentle angles although some streams and bogs need to be negotiated. In a leisurely way watch scenes of nomadic life, occasionally meet with local herders and enjoy the pristine wilderness. Our support team drives ahead to prepare meals and eventually the overnight camp. This is also our rendezvous with Tuvan people who arrive in the evening with their pack camels to accompany us during further trekking days.
Touch, textures, colours, sounds, smells & general physical sensations - create sculpture out of natural objects collected throughout the day.
DAY 6 (3 July) Trek along the White Water river, a narrow valley with lush vegetation and tree growth. Sided by high rocky ridges, it gradually ascends towards snow-capped peaks
of high Altai. Looking and observing through the use of photographs is big part of today's creative focus - how do you experience your surroundings? What do you notice?
DAY 7 (4 July) We walk on single trails gaining altitude and watch the swift river winding below at the valley floor; its colour has greenish tint because of the glacial silt. Camping
equipment, personal luggage and food is transported by 2 humped Bactrian camels What's your story? Group activity using the 8-point arch as a framework - finding metaphors throughout our hike.
DAY 8 (5 July) The area is inhabited by wild mountain goats (Capra Sibirica), wolves and bears but of course spotting this wildlife is not easy. You can however, see marmots and other smaller rodents. Having made it across a mountain pass at 3400m, we descend to Black Creek, the summer pastures of our Tuvan guides. Working with rhythm and sounds to express a sense of accomplishment and ability.
DAY 9 (6 July) We then hike to near Mt. Shiveet to see ancient petroglyphs carved by long gone residents of the Altai region. Continue to the edge of a deep V-shaped valley at the bottom of which rumbles the torrential Tsagaan Gol river full of glacial silt. Beyond the valley in the far distance you will get a glimpse of snow-clad peaks of Tavan Bogd National park. A steep descent to the riverside and arrive to our campsite beside the rumbling river. Enjoy a well earned rest and socialise with other travellers who might be camping at the designated camp ground. Pair theatre-exercises to interpret the petroglyphs & then a rest - do what you feel like!
DAY 10 (7 July) Trek for 19 km to Tavan Bogd peaks base camp (BC). 2 thirds of the way is a gradual but continuous ascent across high mountain terrain with some marshes and a couple of streams to cross. Halfway through the route magnificent views of snow-capped peaks and vast glaciers will come into your sight. Our camp site at just over 3,000 mt with impressive views of Mongolia’s highest peaks and largest glaciers. What does the terrain towards your biggest creative dream look like? Today we collectively explore the trajectory towards your creative goals.
DAY 11 (8 July) Today’s goal is to climb one of the lower and easier peaks of the area. Although non-technical a return trip requires 7-9 hours depending on trekkers’ fitness and weather conditions.Although entirely on scree the trail is well established and marked requiring just trekking poles. Once at the top enjoy spectacular bird eye views of glaciers, snow-capped peaks and the Russian territory. In the evening we begin a more intensive use of aesthetic exercises to examine more deeply our creative process & obstacles to our creative expression.
DAY 12 (9 July) We head back to Olgii arriving by lunch time. En-route we stop to visit a local Kazakh family and see their golden eagles which are kept for hunting purposes. In Olgii we settle in a seasonal hotel comprised of traditional felt covered tents known as gers or yurts. Continue from yesterday with aesthetic exercises and collective ideas.
DAY 13 (10 July) Transfer to airport and fly back to UB. Upon arrival transfer to and settle in your hotel. You may enjoy the rest of the day shopping and exploring the capital. In the evening we all gather for a farewell dinner. Planning for a sustained practice - outline & plan your next 30 days.
DAY 14 (11 July) Transfer to airport for your return home.
- 2 nights at the 4-star Bayangol Hotel in UB (twin-share)
- 3 nights in Eagle Nest Hotel in Olgii (twin-share)
- 9 tented nights (twin-share) (single tent available at extra charge)
- 14 days of creativity workshops & tuition with Dr Erika Jacobson (a more detailed outline of the creativity workshops will be provided on booking)
- All workshop materials
- Expedition cook
- Camping & cooking equipment including mess tent, shower and toilet
- Sleeping mattresses
- All meals & drinking water
- Visits, National Park and border area permit fees
- Overland transport: Russian 4*4 van(s) including gasoline
- Airport transfers
- Flights UB-Olgii-UB
- English speaking local guide
- Pack camels and camel tenders
- Satellite phone for emergencies