Contact

Hello! I’m glad you’re thinking about getting in touch. The best way to contact me with general thoughts, questions or introductions is to drop me a comment. I’m really super-punctilious about replying to comments, unless I’m out in the wilds, and I do like getting them…

I also spend far too much time on both Twitter and Facebook, so that’s another good place to find me: and, yeah, I’m on Google+ too.

If you’re looking for info on travel stuff or general advice, please do search the site (there’s a little “search” box) on the right-hand bar of the page.

My inbox has a tendency to overflow, so that’s often the worst way to get hold of me. However, if you want to email me, you can just click here.

54 Comments

  1. ali fraser says:

    Just came across your website via a tweet thread. As a (sometime) travel writer and would-be wanderer, I am fascinated to know a bit more about the practicalities of your life. Do you mind my asking what your your occupation was before you left London, and whether you intend to pick it up once you settle down in Spain? Good luck to you and your son on the rest of your journey. It sounds amazing.

    • MummyT says:

      Yeah. Freelance journo, copyeditor, subeditor and copywriter. Briefly had a creative agency which went catastrophically tits up. But, yes, I intend to pick up freelancing but work less, also, hopefully, to sell some travel writing. Have some work lined up for the new year but trying not to think about it right now….

  2. Hello,

    I recently compiled a list of the Top 100 Travel Blogs, and I wanted to let you know that you made the list! The list is published online at
    http://www.onlinedegrees.org/top-100-travel-blogs/

    Thanks so much, and if you think your audience would find useful information in the list or on the site, please feel free to share the link. You can also use the button we’ve created for the list, which I can e-mail you. We always appreciate a link back!

    Thanks again, and have a great day!

    Maria

    p.s. If you have a button or logo for you site that we haven’t included, feel free to pass it along and we will include it with the post.

  3. melani rae says:

    Hey! Figured I’d ask you as you seem the most qualified to answer :)

    We are trying to plan a ‘family-moon’ (us and our two girls, 8&13) a few weeks before our wedding. Which place would you suggest for a two week, rugged, backpack style trip which has lots of hostel options (that welcome kids) and is super cheap in terms of day to day expenses? We are on a super tight budget.

    • Theodora says:

      Hokey cokey.

      Cambodia and Laos are both super-cheap: in Cambodia, you can get nice hostel rooms with enough beds for all of you for $6 (though whether you and the girls want to share on familymoon is another issue). And, I think, pretty rugged and adventurous.

      Thailand’s also do-able, and has better beaches than Cambodia or Laos, and will feel bloody cheap after Sweden. I guess your biggest single element of expenditure’s going to be the airfare for all for of you: check AirAsia and China Eastern for flights to Asia….

      Latin America, in general, is more expensive than Asia (in Central America, Guatemala’s not so bad)… I’m assuming you don’t want to do eastern Europe, as you’re in Scandinavia anyway, and north Africa’s out at the moment cos of the politics. Which would leave you, I guess, with Asia (though Kenya/Tanzania can be relatively affordable).

      What’s your total budget for the fortnight for the four of you? But also make it somewhere you really want to go….

  4. Hi happy family!!

    I found your web searching for family travelers. Please, check this forum out (www.freakfamilies.webs.com). For sure you hat a lot to contribute. It’ll be a honor to have you as a member!

    Thanks to pass by..
    Hope to hear from you soon!

    Yanna Seabra
    http://www.freakfamilies.webs.com

  5. Scott says:

    I don’t think the contact form is working.

  6. Tamara says:

    Hello!

    I’d like to contact you privately, would you mind sending me an address to where I can drop you an e-mail? I’m planning a long trip to SEA and I am incredibly inspired by yours and your writing, so much that I can’t wait to take off, unfortunately I still have to wait a few months hahaha

    Thanks!!!

    Tamara

    Tamara

    • Theodora says:

      I am going to revise this page soon, I promise. An easy way to contact us is through our Facebook: http:www.facebook.com/travelswithanineyearold

  7. Margaret says:

    I’m a mother traveling with a 10 and 13 year old and will soon be arriving in Lombok. We are very beginning surfers and would like to find waves that break on a beach minus a reef. I have read of a couple of possibilities but it sounds like they are far from towns. Do you know of a beach with waves that we can handle with accommodation nearby? Thank you very much for any advice you have.

    • Theodora says:

      Oh dear, Margaret. I drove the West Coast of Sumbawa looking for that illusory beach — if anyone mentions Pantai Runteng on the west coast of Sumbawa, they are lying (it’s a reef break, and hardcore). In Kuta, Lombok, the surf beach for beginners is Selong Belanak, which is 25k from Kuta over a terrible road. There are also breaks to the East of Kuta, in Gerupak, which are deep reef breaks, so suitable for not-quite-beginners, but you need a boat to get out to them and the currents can be strong — that’s only 8k from town, over decent but potholed roads. Also in Lombok, generally, longboards are few and far between, and they don’t have the foam rubber boards that real beginners use. My impression is that Kuta is going to be your best bet in Lombok, and that you’ll be going out to Selong Belanak initially. If the road freaks you out, there is a back road, which involves a long detour back along the main road. That’s a bit potholed, but not nearly as scary as the thing you need to drive on the short road.

  8. jasmine and son says:

    Hi mama and Z.

    I just wanted to drop you a line to let you know that you’ve been a constant inspiration to myself and my son for the past year. Our children are the same age and I swear sometimes you’re travelling with my child’s doppleganger. They seem very much alike which could be because they’re both 10 or because they’re both independant free thinkers.. anyways. I wanted you both to know that we’ve been following your blog and are working on a travel of the same sort.

    We’re living in Canada’s Yukon, both of us born here with no travel experience. Since I was very young I always knew that I wanted to travel, and had lofty dreams of travelling as a parent. Our first trip out of Canada will be this winter (when it’s 40 below celcious)!! Either to Costa Rica or Guatamala. I hope to travel the world with him before he’s done high school.

    I’m a single mama and wondering what your take is on the best courses of work while travelling. We will be travelling together, and at this point alone. Do you have any suggestions or hints that perhaps would help?

    Thanks for posting your adventures!! We continue to follow and my son is in love with Australia! He has large maps all over his walls and the Ozzy map sits very close to his bed.

    All the best in your journey
    Jasmine

    • Theodora says:

      Hi Jasmine, And thanks for your lovely comment. We loved Guatemala, I’m sure you will too. Incredibly diverse country — lots of stuff to do. It’s also relatively affordable for LatAm.

      Work while travelling is a problem for a lot of travelling families — I’m in a FB group with a lot of us, and there’s different working patterns, none of which are optimal. I earn money freelance writing on drink and travel, freelance copywriting, and, now, from this site too. Which is on the one hand a wonderful thing because you can travel and work. On the other hand, you’ll find yourself getting off a very long boat ride with a deadline to hit and in desperate quest of internet, and it’s less fun…

      I think it’s especially tough for single parents. I know one couple where he works as a web developer while they travel, but then she takes the main role in the childcare. So — portable jobs are one thing. Do you have a portable career? Because if so, I think the best way to do it is to travel slowly, with a month or two in each place, getting a fixed base with internet. There’s another single mum, Lainie, who’s doing that in Latin America. You might want to check out her site: http://raisingmiro.com – and get in touch with her.

      Another thing I’ve seen done successfully is where one parent goes and takes a high value contract somewhere for six weeks, then returns and travels — still not idea for single parents — this guy did some form of specialist construction. There’s a family travelling Australia longterm, and they take short-term contracts in small towns along the way…

      So let me know what you do and I’ll see what I can recommend. It’s important to be aware that in cheaper countries a) wages are low and b) jobs are hard to come by, and that you need work permits to work. You could look into WWOOFing: it won’t leave you with a lot of spare cash, but it’s one way some families have travelled successfully. I also know Family On Bikes make money doing beadwork and similar.

      As a general rule, the sorts of jobs that can make sense for young, single, child-free travellers — bar work, hostel assistance etc — aren’t suitable for parents. Long hours, shared rooms, and no childcare.

      Feel free to connect via our FB page and I’ll direct you to an FB group I belong to which is a lot of nomadic families — some on a one-year trip they’ve saved for, others working on the road.

      Hope this helps,

      Theodora

  9. Brenda says:

    Hi there ~
    Came across your website through Thorntree, on a thread about travelling with a toddler.. Looking forward to spending some time on your site ~

    Just posted a question for you on Thorntree but thought I’d try you here as well. Any suggestions for a good destination for us, a couple with twin 2-year-olds? We live in New England and want to go somewhere not too hard to get to, e.g. maybe a 6 hour flight max, and then want to find somewhere that’s beautiful and interesting enough in itself that we can mostly stay local, with maybe a few simple side trips.

    We are used to very “rough” travel, but now we have the little ones to think about. So as much as we love snorkeling, long hikes, fascinating cities, it all has to be more low-key. Shorter walks. Days on the beach or on a farm. Good meals. We have thought of Ireland, Scotland, and Mexico ! Very open to ideas though. Planning this for 2nd week of July.. short notice.

    Any thoughts would be very much appreciated! Esp. particular destinations, inns etc.

    • Theodora says:

      Sorry — I’ve been offline for a week or so. We had a lovely time in Mexico when Z was tiny — 2 — based in Tulum, which is south of the hell of Cancun. Beaches, iguanas, Mayan pyramids, blue landcrabs. Ireland and Scotland are beautiful but, as always with our part of the world, you cannot rely on the weather — it is perfectly possible to spend a fortnight in Scotland in July and for it to rain for more than half that time. We loved Guatemala, also, but there, I think, you’d want to move around a lot. So I’d opt for the Yucatan in Mexico. You can hire a car, also, and have a lot of interesting things within easy travelling distance.

  10. Hi Theodora,
    You left a comment on my blog a while back – thanks for stopping by! I’m currently looking for my next interviewees – would you and Z be interested? My goal is to represent people with a variety of experiences and perspectives, and I love your story. Shoot me an email if you’re interested!
    Thanks,
    Amy

  11. Julie fox says:

    Hi Theodora
    I’ve been inspired by your writing (congrats on the prize!) and my son Fintan (8) said ‘they are SO much better travellers than we are!’ I have posted you before but don’t know if you got it. Well we started on oct 5 from st Petersburg – 3 weeks later in irkutsk we were walking down a dark road, and I tripped and broke my arm. Fintan found it hard to cope and I couldn’t cope with him not coping, so here we are back in england. Next week we’ll fly to china after 4 weeks home, for another try. Question for z: do you manage to make friends easily? Fintan was really struggling as we hadn’t stayed anywhere in our3 weeks for long enough to make friends and he was fed up with me being his only friend. Have u met children in china who could speak English?

    Btw we will be in Beijing nov 2 to 10. Then moving south west. Are we likely to cross paths?

    • Theodora says:

      We might well overlap in Beijing, Julie. I’m sitting in Lijiang waiting for credit cards to arrive from the UK at the moment, but I think meeting up in Beijing is definitely on the cards. In China? Well (I actually posted about this yesterday), the key thing to understand is that school age children have NO time during the week. School runs from 7.30am to 4pm, and then there’s at least 2 hours homework in the evening — often also classes at the weekend. Because we were studying intensive Chinese (and our teacher has a daughter of z’s sort of age), it wasn’t an issue in Kunming. Now we’re on the move we’re going to make an effort to hit parks &c. Most Chinese children only start learning English aged 9 or 10, so the English-speaking kids you’d meet would be older than Fintan. We also now speak enough Chinese to do basic socialising (Z actually has a little girl’s phone number). I’d say your best bet for friends in China without Chinese would be to get onto couchsurfing and try and find a family to stay with with kids of a similar age. Does Fintan have Skype to chat with his old friends? The friendship thing does get a lot easier in the rest of S.E. Asia — language barrier or not! — where families are larger and children’s time is less pressured. I’ll give you an update re: Beijing timings when I’m closer to Beijing itself….

  12. Tyler says:

    Hi T and Z,

    Just wanted to drop by and say I am a fan of both of you. I found your website this past summer when I was preparing to move to Jakarta, Indonesia to teach English. Aside from the entertainment of the site, I found the stories (especially the Indonesian adventures) informative and helpful. They helped me start to get in the mindset of living in Southeast Asia for the first time.

    Now that I have been here in Jakarta for 5 months, I still enjoy reading your adventures. I have a few holidays next year that I don’t have plans for, yet, but after digging around more on this site I think I will have a better idea of where to go.

    I really admire both your’s and Z’s sense of adventure. As a recent college grad with little holding me back, I am inspired by both of you and hope to have even a fraction of the experiences you have had. Keep the stories coming!

    Tyler

    • Theodora says:

      Thanks for your lovely comment, Tyler — I quite envy you living in Indonesia. And I’m glad you also found the stories helpful as well as entertaining. Where are you planning for your holidays?

      • Tyler says:

        There are several places I would like visit, but I don’t know if I will be able to make it to all of them. Towards the top of my list are Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Singapore. I will probably only be able to visit two of those places next year, so I will have to begin my process of elimination soon. I am also planning a trip to Jogjakarta in January, which I am really looking forward to. I have heard great things about that place.

        • Theodora says:

          Wow! Well, the Philippines, obviously, is a mission in itself due to the number of islands, though Palawan is wonderful.I was surprised how much we liked Singapore, but it isn’t a cheap option compared to the others. What a great choice to have, though.

  13. Cayetana says:

    Hi Theodora, we are Jax and Caye, sailors and full-time travelers. We are looking for guest blogger submissions on our blog Mangolandia. Specifically, full/part-time travelers telling about what inspires them to take off on adventures, leaving family and friends behind. We run into your blog a couple weeks ago and were inspired by your story and would love to hear what you have to say.
    For more information follow the link and send us your story if you feel inspired.

    http://mangolandia.com/2011/12/16/call-for-submissions-what-inspired-you/
    Thank you very much

  14. Lets come and work with together for Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet Tour, trekking

    • Theodora says:

      I will email you, Kedar. We’ll be in the region later this year — currently in the Middle East — but very interested in trekking both Bhutan and Tibet.

  15. How do I get the RSS for just your China category?

    • Theodora says:

      Umm, I’m not sure you can, actually, John. I have the site set up to publish the feed through Feedburner, which means that the China feed just redirects to the main Feedburner feed, and there’s not going to be much China on there for another few months, so if I burnt a specific feed for that I’d get a lot of very disappointed readers. Are you on Twitter? If so, you could follow me there (I’m @mummy_t). Alternatively, I can try and remember to email you when we are back in China.

  16. Reynette says:

    Hi Theodora, you rock !! I’m glad to find your fantastic travelogue. I’m also a 30 something proud single mother of 3 years old who can’t resist adventures. I’m a journalist too and Indonesian. I will keep my dream to follow your path, taking my daughter one day experiencing the best school in life, traveling the world !! Thank you for encouraging me to do so.

    • Theodora says:

      Thank you, Reynette! You should totally do it. Your country is amazing, and I’m sure your daughter is too. You just made my day.

  17. Feel Free to contact for Nepal Nepal , Looking forward from you, you can Add Nepal , Tibet Bhutan as well in your Trip destination .

    Regards,
    Kedar

  18. Phil says:

    Have loved going through your blog! Fun style of writing!

    Our family are about to embark on our trip too and hope to meet up with some of the bloggers we’ve been reading about.
    Our travels will be going from UK > Austria > Italy > Spain > Portugal > Morocco > West Africa and then back to Austria > then who knows?

    I would love for us to make blog links.
    we are at http:// www. wanderingoverland.com

    I am really impressed with the regularity of your blogging and anecdotes!

    Hope to see you on the road somewhere.
    xphil

    • Theodora says:

      Hi Phil,

      Thanks for the comment! I don’t actually have a links page, which is perhaps remiss of me, and I’m moving over to a new site so want to streamline my sidebar rather than the reverse.

      That said, there are a couple of Facebook groups which do deal with people who want to exchange links: Family Travel Bloggers and Travelling Bloggers Growth and Development (I don’t know if you know either of those?). There are also a bunch of facebook groups devoted to travel blogging, Travel Bloggers and Global Bloggers Network are two of them, but also the Business of Blogging. You might want to join some of these: just apply and message admins introducing yourself.

      Cheers,

      Theodora

  19. Laura says:

    I saw a comment you had on another site suggesting someone wait until latam to get an IUD because of cost. I was wondering how hard it would be to get one while I am already here. I am in Peru now thinking of heading back to Colombia after. Any advice would be great.

    • Theodora says:

      I’m not sure that was me (although it does sound like the sort of thing I might say). Any women’s clinic should be able to put one in for you, it’s a routine thing all over the world. I’d take a look on Lonely Planet for recommended medical centres in your city, then call one of them and make an appointment: it takes about 5 minutes to fit an IUD, maybe slightly longer. The other thing you’ll need to decide on is what type of IUD you want. Hormonal versions tend to be more effective and last longer, and also knock periods on the head, but IUDs in general are not typically recommended unless you’ve already had a child. The other things they’ll be able to give you, though, include implants. Good luck!

  20. help me plz.
    i have left my home and im only of 17 years.can i get a school to study in foreign to study for free?

    • Theodora says:

      Hi Vivek, It’s very hard to get scholarships to study overseas for free.

      Where are you from? Do you have excellent grades? Your best bet might be to contact a youth group in your area who can help support you at this difficult time. Let me know where you are from and I’ll try and help.

      And… Do think about returning home if home is a safe place for you to be.

      Theodora

  21. Traveleish says:

    Hi Theodora

    I’ve been browsing TravelsWithANineYearOld / EscapeArtistes for a while… but now I’d like to read your blog in sequence from the beginning. I’m having trouble working out where the ‘beginning’ is though!

    Would you consider adding a calendar link to the blog so that readers can jump to a particular month/year?

    Thanks!
    Traveleish

    • Theodora says:

      It’s funny, I always had one, and hardly anyone ever used it. But I’ve just put it back. It’s buried down the bottom of the left-hand sidebar, but you can browse to your heart’s content…

  22. Larissa says:

    Hi Theodora!

    Heard you were recently in Lebanon? There are quite a few U.S. State Department warnings on traveling there but wanted to know how you felt while in Beirut. Pretty safe?

    Awesome blog by the way, my first time visiting and will definitely be back :)

    Larissa

    • Theodora says:

      Hi Larissa,

      Here’s my first feelings on visiting Beirut — http://www.escapeartistes.com/2012/05/26/i-fcking-love-beirut/ — I forgot to mention its amazing bar scene. Felt very safe there, although of course I wasn’t driving solo through refugee camps, eg, and political trouble *can* blow up at any point (there were some tensions while we were there). More on other places in Lebanon here –http://www.escapeartistes.com/category/places/lebanon-2/page/2/ — Byblos and Jeita are absolutely gorgeous.

      The British government has more sensible views on travel than the US government — they consider Beirut fine. http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/travel-advice-by-country/middle-east-north-africa/lebanon

      As a woman I was not harassed once in Lebanon, which makes it compare very favourably to other MENA countries I’ve visited, with the exception of Israel. Beirut’s a fantastic cosmopolitan city and you’ll do fine, although I wouldn’t drive in Lebanon unless you’re used to very crazy traffic.

      Theodora

  23. Skylab says:

    Hi, while i was searching about traveling in south east asia, Google helped me to get to this site. And since then I have been reading your entries. its been only 2 days with your website but whenever i get time i am reading your entries.
    Few of the places that i have my self visited, i am relating them well, specially one account in Ubud when you lose your son momentarily.

    I have done some travel with my mother only that i in late 20’s and she is in late 50’s. Your blog may help us in taking our travel to next level. Thank you for writing your travel experience in such a beautiful way. All the best to you and your son.

    • Theodora says:

      Thank you for your lovely comment! Oh I do hope we do inspire you, rather than putting you off. And how lovely that you and your mum still get on so well, even now.

  24. Gerda van Loon says:

    Hi,

    Found you through Bekkie, i think you r fab. My three c’s stand for (be) curious, couregous and creative and i see you are all that. How to interprete the c’s is just an perspective! I also have a twelve year old (and a 9 year old) traveling, seeing the world and exploring it is what we do in the schoolholidays, as expatchildren they have been in more countries already then I even knew existed when I was their age. And it all ends up in the long run.. I will start to follow you and encourage my kids to do so as well. Keep traveling! Gerda

  25. Robert Booth says:

    Greetings from West Sussex. I’ve just come across your piece on Dean’s Bar in Tangiers. I’ve almost finished writing a foodie book; history, characters, gossip, funnies, oddities and a few recipes. I would very much like to quote from your article? May I?
    Go well.
    Robert

    • Theodora says:

      Yes, of course you may. Be very welcome. Also, you should reach out to Sophie Parkin, who actually went there, whereas I didn’t. You should find her via her Colony Club book — LMK if Google fails you. Cheers!

    • Robert Booth says:

      Many many thanks. Actually I know Sophie and will very be seeing her at the end of September.

      I thought you might like this, from my book:

      White Truffles
      Mid-October to Mid-January
      I well remember going to La Fontana in Pimlico for supper with Suzie on the evening when the first of the season’s truffles were expected from Italy. When we arrived, the restaurant was, apart from the table we had booked, completely full. But there was something odd going on, or rather not going on. Nobody was eating anything at all. The reason, we soon discovered, was that the truffles hadn’t arrived.
      But they were coming; the restaurant owner’s daughter was on her way with them from Heathrow; she’d be here at any moment.
      And she was. And she was tall and beautiful. As she walked in with her large cardboard box of truffles we all stood up and cheered.
      It was a wonderful occasion.

      xxRobertxx
      I thought you mi

  26. Olivia says:

    Dear Theodora,
    Your website was very inspiring to me and I love to read from your adventures.
    Travelling and worldschooling my son is what I am thinking about aswell.
    If I may ask you three questions:
    How do you feel about safety when travelling as a solo woman with kid?
    How do you feel about missing medical treatments in most parts of the world especially regarding the kid when getting sick? (I read the story from Mongolia and it would be an absolute nightmare to me, but stayed so calm!)
    How do you manage to spend your working time while being alone with your son? (my son is now 3 years and I could not imagine having a free minute to work while I travel as a single parent)
    Would be extremely happy to recieve your response!
    Best wishes,
    Olivia

    • Theodora says:

      Hi Olivia,

      Glad you’re feeling inspired! Here’s some answers to your questions – feel free to ask more.

      1: In my experience, people in most cultures are protective of women with children, and you’re safer than you would be as a solo female. In Egypt, I was harassed a lot, but that’s really the main place where solo has been an issue. You get lots of benefits, too, because women welcome you into the communality of mums. It’s easy to worry excessively about safety, but, frankly, you’d have to be *extremely* unlucky to meet one of the very few men who are evil enough to want to harm a mother and a 3-year-old, and that piece of bad luck could hit at home as easily as abroad.

      2: Medical care in many parts of the world can be good, although facilities won’t be anything like what you’d expect in the West. We’ve been treated for minor bits and bobs — eye infections, stomach bugs, etc — in Greece, Egypt and Indonesia and in all cases found good doctors who resolved the problem instantly. Most of the time, in fact, we’d just go to pharmacies with minor problems.

      The key here is to get good insurance, which will cover you, as ours did in Mongolia, and ensure you have your travel vaccinations as recommended and use malaria prophylaxis where required — or avoid malaria risk areas altogether. With a littlie, I’d be cautious about how far you go from medical care — we did stuff (long treks) where we were days from medical care or even mobile phone signal that I don’t think I’d do with a 3yo, because littlies can get sick much faster than bigger children. I’d also carry a reasonably well-equipped medical kit (rehydration salts, plus emergency paediatric antibiotics for stomach bugs, plasters & iodine/alcohol, panadol or whatever for fever reduction and pain relief, etc).

      3: I travelled internationally with Zac from when he was teeny-tiny, but only on holidays. Combining full-time work and travel and meaningful time with your child plus worldschooling — which is why you’re travelling, right?! — isn’t practical unless you’re superhuman. Part-time work would be doable with a 3yo, I would think, because you can fit in work in the time between his bedtime and your bedtime, you could find local childcare if you had a lot of work that really had to be done, and you could use a digital babysitter — iPad or whatever — for a couple of hours during the day if you were deadlined. I would say that you should be able to find 16 hours a week, AKA two working days, quite easily with a 3yo, because they typically need a lot more sleep than adults do, without driving yourself stir crazy or leaving the child gaming constantly.

      With Zac, if I had a lot of work that needed doing, I could set him to do some schoolwork, or allow him some time gaming online with friends, or put him on a course to learn a new skill, or leave him hanging out with friends, or whatever it might be. But he was/is considerably older than yours, so solutions would be different. One thing you could do is trial a weekend, and block out time for work, and see how that goes.

      Does this help at all?….

      Theodora

  27. Mads Engel says:

    Hi Theodora,

    I am an 18 year old American student currently living with a family in UB volunteering for an organization called Projects Abroad and I am trying to arrange a trip to Lake Khovsgol for my last few weeks here in Mongolia (I depart on August 11.) I’m working as a journalist for a local TV station but my placement is very flexible and I can end my work at any time to travel independently. After poking around the web, it seems to me that I really would prefer to travel independently rather than going on an organized tour — most tours don’t fit in with my schedule and are too pricey anyways.

    I am thinking of booking round-trip plane tickets out of UB to Murun from July 28 to August 9, giving myself about 12 days in the Khovsgol region. Ideally, I’d trek up along the western shore of the lake to Tsagaannuur and back. I think I’m going to email Ganbaa as you suggested, but I would love your input and advice! I just want to know whether or not it is a smart idea for me to book my plane tickets and rely on Ganbaa and other guest house owners to help set me up with maps, guides, horses and whatnot when I get there.

    Thanks so much!

    best,

    Mads

    • Theodora says:

      Hi Mads,

      12 days won’t get you to Tsagaannuur and back on a horse, I don’t think – certainly not with an international connecting flight. We had various delays on our trip, for a range of reasons – sick guide, vodka with someone’s sister, etc, etc — but it took us pretty much that amount of time to get there (and I also don’t think these delays are unusual).

      What you could do is look at doing the horse trip – buy riding boots, wear a helmet and ensure you are fully covered for medical evacuation on your travel insurance (check the small print!) — out to Tsagaannuur, and arrange for jeep transport back to Mörön. Or you could do a shorter trip along/around the lake. There is a shorter route to Tsagaannuur, but you miss the lake, which is dazzling, and the pass, which impresses.

      I’d propose, given that you have flexibility in your work, that you book round-trip tickets allowing you more time, and then get up there and sort everything out with the guesthouse owners (Ganbaa is extremely good) — you might, for example, meet a group who are planning it already, which means you’ll be splitting the guide’s fees, and also have some company other than the guide. You’ll also need to buy food (eg), gifts, emergency vodka &c.

      So, to precis. I’d allow yourself closer to three weeks, if you can, and then get up and mooch around all the ger camps in town seeing if anyone else is planning on doing that trip. Or, if you’ve not got the three weeks, mooch around the ger camps seeing who’s going riding, and, if no one is, arrange a trip that’s just you and the guide. Ganbaa really does know the routes…

      Theodora

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