From a young age it is hard not to be exposed to different types of music and throughout our development phase we tend to listen to songs that connect with us and resonate with how we feel at that specific moment.

However, if we are not careful what happens is that we associate those feelings with our identity and sooner or later it become a part of our identity, hence we keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again in order to feel the same way have conditioned ourselves to feel.

Your First Heartbreak and Music

I am sure most of us have been there. When we have our hearts broken for the first time, certain types of music just start to speak to us, mainly love songs. The lyrics, the tune, and the overall message somehow connect with us on a deeper level.

In a way, we feel good, we feel as if though someone understands our pain, the struggle we are going through. So, in order to feel good again, or at least not alone in our misery, we put on headphones again and blast the music full volume again and again until we somehow feel a bit better.

Now, you do need to feel the emotions, the pain, and the hurt fully, but don’t allow that to take over you and make you repeat the same cycle over and over again. Because if you are not aware of it, you will seek out experiences and situations where you will have your heart broken again in order to connect with those songs deeply and intimately again in some level.

Have you ever wondered why Taylor Swift keeps breaking up over and over again, well maybe she is repeating the same pattern over and over again in order to produce her latest music, hence those breakup experiences serve as an inspiration for her.

Artistic Creation and Vision

You might have also noticed that a lot of artists are troubled or don’t have healthy relationships. At the very best, they have relationships/marriages that make you raise your eyebrow.

They have conditioned their mind to draw inspiration from events and experiences that make them feel the same way. Hence a lot of artists live in a perpetual cycle of similar behavioural patterns. Unless those artists go in a different direction and experiment with different moods, genres, and theme, their creation in essence becomes their identity and is a reflection of the lives those artists live.

I am not bashing on artists, but it’s sad and unfortunate that they have to draw emotional abuse on themselves in order to provide us the art.

However, might have also noticed that there are some artists who just glow with love, innocence, and positivity. Those types of musicians and artists most probably make produce uplifting songs, music, and art, hence their artwork is a direct reflection of what kind of person they are and the kind of life they live.

Should You Stop Listenting To Sad Songs All Together?

That’s not really necessarily, because in some cases you will go through moments and experiences that make you feel a certain way. Connecting deeply with music and songs is a beautiful thing and is one of the gifts of life, but just don’t wallow in pain and sorrow forever.

You need to feel it to heal it, but once the process is done. Do not purposely try to repeat the experience and recreate those feelings again just so that you can connect with the music again.

Once you’ve cried your eyes out, once there is nothing else to feel, let it go and lay down those sad melancholic music. Let it rest. It is far more healthier and beneficial to listen to songs that are uplifting and positive for your regular tunes and jams.


It’s funny reading through the book The Way of The Superior Man and realizing everything you have been doing wrong in the past. I guess things are 20 20 in hindsight, but it’s the choices we make when it comes to the future that we really learn to be the masters of our destiny.

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Who Should Read The Book?

Basically anyone can read it, because it gives such a good insight into the workings of a masculine man, which most of men are. If you are a female and want to understand why men do the things men do and perhaps salvage your marriage or relationship, you could read the book to be more self aware of not only your significant other, but yourself as a female as well.

This is also good for same sex couples because, it’s not classified by male and female, but more about masculine and feminine energies and how that affects relationships between people. But please have an open mind of some unscientific approach to some of the reasoning the author might have.

A Man’s Purpose Comes First

The workings of feminine nature is really interesting. Because feminine nature as the book descibes wants love and committment while at the same time, knowing that the masculine has the capacity and the option of leaving them.

Hence, if you are a masculine man at your core, you can never stray from your goal and purpose in life. Whatever your purpose is, whether it is teaching, to racing cars, you have to live your purpose day in and day out.

But you might be wondering, what the heck is life’s purpise?

I won’t deny that it takes some time to figure it out, and some people never do, but the answer lies in trying different things in life and following that which gives you pleasure and joy, something that just clicks within your inner soul.

But you will sometimes also realize that you can complete/finish your purpose at a point in your life and have to find a new one. So there are layers of them where you slowly unfold each one.

The Fallacy of The One and Soulmate

Now this is the idea that has been sold to us by Hollywood and the media. It takes a while for us to get free of the conditioning of the notion of romantic or idealistic love, because in practice, the idealized version of love we see in most movies does not have any application in real life.

In fact, the more you try to apply those beliefs into the real world, the more damaging in can be to your relationships. I can’t count the many times I thought chasing after someone and confessing my undying love would make them change their minds. Predictably, things did not work out the way I imagined.

Reason being, feminine nature does not trust the core of the masculine if it is not grounded in something greater beyond just idealized love.

Feminine nature in fact wants to feel your strength that you do not put anyone on a pedastal and that you actually fearlessly go after what it is you want ouf of life. Now of course, you probably know a lot of couples who are in happy relationships where the masculine does not have much ambition, but sooner or later, the infutuation wears off, and that’s when things are really tested.

Do You Want a Friend, Business Partner or A Lover?

This part of the book was the most mind blowing piece ever. Because if you are masculine man who wants a satisfying relationship with a feminine woman, you can’t have it all in one.

Because different energies are in play here, and the things you discuss with your friends about philosophy, history and other topics are neutral in sexual energy, so you can indeed really like someone as a person and their mind, but often times you can also find yourself not particularly sexually attracted to someone.

There needs to be polarity of masculine and feminine energies for greater sexual attraction. So wanting a best friend, who is also a business partner whilst at the same time being your lover is like finding a needle in a haystack.

Which goes against everything I’ve been lead to believe, because in modern day culture, we are told to find someone who we can talk to about anything, communicate, whilst being each other’s best friends, but sadly you can’t have it all. Looking at most couples, it is now making sense why some people lose that sexual attraction they once had for one another over time, because with the shift of their sexual energies, the polarity between the feminine and the masculine does not exist anymore.

Prepare To Be Tested Each Step of The Way

If you are a masculine man at your heart and core, then you must be prepared to deal with a shitstorm of everchanging emotions and uncertainty from the feminine. As the masculine energy, we are the stable, rational, and centered confidence the feminine needs to feel comfortable and secure.

Whenever you doubt yourself, whenever you lose confidence and direction, the more the tests will come your way to see whether you are still the masculine energy the feminine can trust and follow.

So whenever, you are faced with resistance from your partner or feelings of unappreciation, it is not that they don’t appreciate your accomplishments or the things you do, but as the masculine you must know deep within that you don’t need the approval of the feminine to feel appreciated and worthy.

The reaction of your partner should not determine how happy and accomplished you feel about your successes in life, because you must have the capacity as the masculine to feel successful and proud even without the approval of your partner.

The more you know your worth and value from deep withing from your inner core, the more you will be appreciated and loved oddly.

We are taught and conditioned to believe that our partners are the people we must trust and rely one when things get tough, and while a good partner will raise you up and challenge you along the way, remember that it is not the nature of the feminine to lead your way and cradle you.

As the masculine, we have to light our own way in the times of darkness and challenge.

The Masculine Gives, while the Feminine Receives

Ever wonder why as men, we have more of a tendancy to be violent aggresive, and on a grander scale, the builders of civilizations and empires?

Well, because as the masculine, our energies are made to come from our core, from the within to be released into the world. We are basically in a sense fucking the world. We are fucking the world and releasing parts of ourself into the world.

Ever wonder why women have more of a tendancy to like finer and nicer things in life? The feminine on the hand is made to receive and behold the beauty of their surroundings.

Looking back now, it makes a lot of sense why I had not trouble with the most basics of living. Everything I had served a purpose and had a practical reason for being there, from the clothes I wore, to the furniture I had, but my girlfriends always found a reason to decorate things that no rational or practical value.

However, this does not mean that we are always 100% masculine or 100% feminine in our energies, because we have different levels in different areas of life. It’s about finding our inner core and accepting that inner core if we are to live a truly a satisfying life with satisfying relationships.

If you have not already, The Way of The Superior Man is a must read for most men.

 

Last update on 2019-06-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

When we are growing up, we all go through certain experiences that leave their imprint on us. From friends, lovers, to relatives, people around us influence in ways we can’t just explain in a few sentences. We soak their beliefs, their ideas, and their behaviours when we are young.

However as we grow up, we start to develop our sense of independence. We rebel against our parents and start to listen to what we think is true within our hearts, but this is soon met with opposition from friends, parents, and people who supposedly know better than you.

Not to mention how the environment affects our way of thoughts and beliefs. Before we know it, we basically become the byproduct of the people that had the most influence on us and the environment we were exposed to.

These beliefs and ideas somehow end up subconsciously imprinted within our minds and we end up doing certain things not based on our own free will, but our previous programming.

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The Secret by Rhonda Byrne however, teaches us that we have the power, that we are in charge of our destinies.

Have you ever had a thought that occured to you and somehow that thought became more and more intense, which soon thereafter ended up becoming true? Well that is what the law of attraction is basically about.

The feelings we feel, the thoughts we have, and the things we repeat to ourselves, most importantly our fears end up manifesting into the real world, and if we are not aware of it, we keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again.

Love is not hard, it’s easy – What The Secret Teaches

It is fascinating how my childhood and teenage years look so clear in hindsight, because the thoughts I had and the beliefs I held during that time all became true when it came to matters of love.

During my late childhood years, girls used to chase the cool Orgil, full of confidence and swagger. Personally, I wasn’t interested in relationships nor love since I found no point in experiencing it, but there was a shift once I hit puberty and started to go through hormonal shifts.

Growing up listenting to melancholic music such as My Chemical Romance, Linkin Park, and other emotionally angst songs, to watching romantic movies where love is a struggle, a battle, that’s essentially how my love life came to be.

The people I loved/cared about, all resembled the poems, the love stories, and the movies I watched. Even if things started out well and great, it soon turned into a melodrama of emotions and struggles that the other person was not willing to deal with.

This went on for years and years, until my early adulthood years. It wasn’t until the person who I thought was perfect for me in every aspect turned out to be someone else I was not expecting. I had been fantasising, dreaming, or idealizing all people I came to like or fall in love with.

This stems from our inner void of feeling not good enough for something, that we have to prove something to people, which is very unhealthy because life is not about proving something to other people; it’s about sharing fun filled moments without expectations and attachments to what may happen. It’s playful, it’s fun, and people should feel free to come and go as they please.

However, realising that I’ve been coming from a very fearful and scared space, it was like a moment where it all made sense. All of previous experiences when it came to the matters of love failed due to my sense of low worth despite the objective and realistic opposite.

You have to know your worth and you have to learn to love yourself fully before someone else can love you back in return.

Making money is not hard – Using The Secret

Another area of life a lot of people struggle with is making enough money to make ends meet. How many of you know people who are working harder than ever but just can’t seem to have enough money to start doing the things they love or live the life they want?

Again this all comes down to their belief systems of what they have grown up with. Now in certain cases outside influences and circumstances do have a role in someone’s financial well being, but in most cases non financially literate people make small choices and decisions that negatively affect their financial future.

How many people freely spend their money on needless things because an advertisement told them so? How many of them spend their money on books or valuable courses that could help them make more money?

Most often, people tell us college and work is the way to living your life, but a lot of us fail to understand that life has many more opportunities. We think hard work only will get us success, but we also have to learn how to make luck work in our favour.

Coming from a somewhat poor background during my early childhood, as a nomad, there wasn’t much to go around. Everything I thought was based on lack of resources, that I need to hoard all the good things that come to me. Up until I graduated college, that’s how it has always been for me financially.

I worked at certain jobs to save save save and not leave much to treat myself. In certain cases, not buying food because I needed to save. However, I learned to never be stingy on spending money on your well being. A healthy body and mind is priceless.

What is interesting though however is that, I’ve always imagined myself traveling the world and having work I could do with my computer. Sooner or later, I learned to let go of the mentality of always having to save and save but investing your money into other endeavors that will make you more money.

You can make money work for you and make more money with money, and that’s essentially where my life is at! Though it’s not fully to the level I hoped, it’s getting there.

What’s really important is to act as if you already have it all. To go to the places you always wanted to go, to dress in a way that makes you FEEL like you are already living that lifestyle. Sooner or later you will find ways to make that happen if you so choose.

Life is not hard – It’s Easy with The Secret

One of the things I always disagreed with my parents was how everything is a struggle that we have to work hard for everything we have. While to some degree that’s true, it’s not the full truth. There are people who did not have work hard for much, but because they saw opportunities or saw things from different perspective, they made a life of their dreams.

Life can be easy if you choose to live an easy life. We just don’t know where to beging. One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is taking on responsibilities that they don’t want to burden themselves with. This means becoming a parent when they are not ready, getting married because that’s what other poeple are doing etc.

We follow the usual path, what everyone else is doing to perhaps fit in or to perhaps not feel ostracized, but the important thing to remember is that, your life is your life. You choose how to live it; other people can’t choose the life for you.

Even if it means upsetting a few people and breaking their heart, your life’s path is something you have to take yourself. Life truly can be easy and effortless if you believe it is and make choices that will make it so. We just need to see it with a different lense.

It’s All About THE FEELING – You ARE A RADIO SIGNAL/FREQUENCY

Much like a radio signal or tv channel, your mind and your thoughts are a signal emitting radio tower. What you think, what you feel, you will attract certain experiences and people into your life.

Sometimes it’s so freaky how what you are strongly feeling and thinking about can manifest in the world. One of the most recent experience personally for me was when I was walking through a street full of people feeling upset about walking all lonely but hopeful that I will come across someone that will make feel not so lonely.

Surprise surprise, a totally random stranger walks up to me asks me if I am alone, he tell me he is alone as well and just walks away. It’s an experience I will never forget. It made realize that I am not alone that there are people in the world who go through certain life struggles just like I do. Soon thereafter, one my old flames who I really liked reached out to me.

It’s freaky how your thoughts and feelings can have such a profound effect on your reality! So live your life in joy, happiness, and health because the more you allow yourself to feel that way and the more you allow yourself to be open to such experiences, the more your life will fill with the wonders of life!

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Last update on 2019-06-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Not sure what types of food you should bring on the Trans Siberian? Should you even perhaps bring food on the train? Today we will be answering those questions in greater detail, based on my first hand experience.

Should You Bring Food On The Train?

trans siberian 2nd class compartment

This comes down to your personal preference. If you don’t want to pack your bag with a lot of things and prefer to travel light, then it is recommended not to bring any food with you because for reasons I will explain below.

However, if you have certain diet restrictions and food allergies, then yes, you can bring your own food onboard the train.

The only thing you have to be very mindful and vary of is during the border control process. For example if you are taking the Trans Siberian from Mongolia to either China or Russia, certain animal products are prohibited, so you will have to end up throwing them away.

If you do want to bring food on the train:

  • Sausages
  • Ramen Noodles
  • Tea
  • Bread
  • Nuts
  • Chips
  • Fruits
  • Candy

These are perhaps the best types of foods to bring with you on the train, because they don’t go bad too easily and they’re great selection for train travel.

What Types of Food Can You Buy On Trans Siberian Train

The conductor on your train section will be there in case you have any questions or want to buy anything. If you are taking 3rd class, there will be people going back and forth from time to time selling pirojki, ramen noodles, and other types of snacks. However, you are at the mercy of those sellers and might find yourself hoping they come by.

On 2nd class and 1st class, just go to your conductor and ask what they have. Usually they have ramen noodles, water,drinks, tea, candy bars, chips, etc. Nothing that will make you feel whole and full like a complete meal, just minor snacks to curb some of your hunger.

Is There A Restaurant on The Train?

However, if you are willing to pay some hefty premium, you can go to the restaurant. Depending on whether the train is long haul train or short voyage train, in some cases you might not find any restaurants, so be mindful of that.

In case there is a restaurant, you have options of choosing from breakfast, lunch, and dinner at okay prices, but the food is not that great.

There are other choices of foods you can pick from, but the it’s pretty pricey and expensive. I paid 150 rubles just for some salmon on a piece of bread! You will find yourself spending 2-3 times the amount you usually would on normal restaurants or places to eat.

Can You Buy Food On Train Stops?

irkutks train stop on trans siberian

If you decide not to bring any food with you, then this is the best option for you, because you have good selection of choice on train stops. There are small kiosks that sell a lot of products, from drinks, bread, pirojki, to sometimes full meals packaged in cartons.

If you are lucky, some people will be waiting on the train stations to sell actual meals such as steak, hot dog; foods that will actually fill you up. It’s a hit or miss though, so you can’t really count on those people being there on the train stops, so depending on your luck, who knows whether you will come across those people?

So Should You Buy Your Own Food Or Not for Trans Siberian?

Short distance trains:

For train rides that are less than 12 hours, it’s recommended to have some snacks with you in case you do go a bit hungry during your ride, otherwise, if you think you can hold out, it’s your choice whether to not bring anything with you. Sometimes if you just go to sleep, you will find yourself at your destination 🙂

Long distrains trains:

It is highly recommended that you bring something to eat. Whether it’s just a few slices of bread with salami; if you don’t bring anything with you, YOU WILL go hungry on long distance trains because on certain occasions they will go half a day without stopping.

You can buy ramen, and other types of snacks from the conductor, but it’s not fully filling foods, you will be left waiting for train stops, and on some train stops they might not have what you are looking for.

So take it from a minimalist who tries to pack as lightly as possible, it is a bad idea not to bring anything.

If you have not already, read: What to wear on the Trans Siberian

Last update on 2019-06-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Thinking of travelling via the Trans Siberian? Well hold on to your hats because it will be long journey and you will need to be well prepared if you want to enjoy your trip.

What you will need to pack

If you travelling by train via the Trans Siberian, you need to bring a few things with you to keep yourself from not getting bored and hungry.

Food:

Bring something to eat, because if you are taking a short route train that goes from Ulaanbaatar to Irkutsk, there won’t be any restaurants and the only foods the train will sell will be ramen noodles and a few other snacks, so it’s recommended to bring your own food.

There will be a few short stops in nearby towns and villages, so you could buy some snacks from there.

Slippers:

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If you don’t want to go through the hassle of taking your shoes off and putting them back on again whenever you enter your compartment, a pair of slippers will make it so much more convenient to take bathroom breaks or when you just want to walk around the train.

Things that are provided on the Train:

Blankets:

Don’t worry about blankets and sheets, because they will provide you with blankets and sheets for you to use. They are very clean. However, I do recommend getting one Coolmax’s travel blanket for extra comfort and future use.

Read: Best travel blankets for 2018.

Coffee & Tea

You will be given coffee and tea during your trip, but it’s a small packet, so if you are an avid coffee or tea drinker, it’s better to bring your own tea, because they will only give you one or two each day.

How Big Can My Luggage Be?

You will have space to put your luggage under the bed and overhead. It’s best not to exceed 65 cm in length and 40 cm in width, because it’s not like you have a special room for keeping your luggage.

At the border, your luggage will be inspected by officials so keep it small if you prefer not to exhaust yourself with moving around big luggage.

If you want to learn how to become a minimalist read this on what you will need to get started.

What is The Border Control Process Like?

Mongolian Border:

At the Mongolian border in Selenge, you will be inspected by Mongolian officials. You need to provide your passport and state your purpose of visit. If all is good you they will give a stamp on your passport.

Depending on how fast the process goes, it usually takes about 30-40 minutes.

Russian Border:

At the Russian border, you will be inspected by officials as well. You will need to show your passport, state your purpose of visit and stand up so that they can make sure that your face matches your passport photo.

After that, your luggage and room will be inspected for any illegal items, so you need to have them ready to show the officials. As long as you are not carrying animal products, illegal substances, and firearms you should be fine.

Once inspection is done, the train will move briefly and stop for a few minutes to stretch.

The whole process should take somewhere around an hour or two depending on the people and the officials. Remember, stay in your rooms when officials are present.

How Much Are Tickets?

Ticket prices vary based on season and how much demand there is and also it depends on what route you are taking and what time.

The best way to check for prices is on Mongolia’s and Russia’s official website.

Though I found that it’s much cheaper on the Mongolian website for some reason.

Are The Toilets Clean?

The tiolets are fairly clean, but it’s rudemantary and basic. However, how clean the toilets are can vary what kind of train you are on. If you are on international trains, then it’s maintained better, whereas local railway trains are dirtier.

Are There Chargers And Adapters?

Make sure to buy a universal adapter, because the train only supports 220V. There are a few outlets in the hallway, so you will have to go out of your room to charge your phone or computer.

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Can You Drink Alcohol?

Though it is not recommended, you could sneak your alcohol drinking in, but it will smell and the conducters won’t be too happy about it.

There are signs that say no smoking nor drinking, but how much it’s enforced depends on the conductor and the train.

What Kinds of People Travel Via Trans Siberian Train?

You will find all sorts of people taking the Trans Siberian, however unlike Greyhound and other bus services that I’ve taken in the U.S, at least from my experience there weren’t any sketchy people.

Usually they’re always fellow travellers, family on holiday, backpackers, and normal individuals who just need to get somewhere.

Are the Beds Comfortable?

The beds are okay. Nothing fancy about them, but if you are used to soft plush beds, you might feel a bit uncomfortable, but most people don’t seem to mind and are able to sleep alright.

They are however very short and comparitively small. So for people that are 180cm+ and a bit heavier, having enough space might be an issue. Most likely Dutch people will have the hardest time with this 😛

Is There Hot Water?

The toilets don’t have hot water, but there is a boiler in the hallway “kitchen”, so you can get hot water from there.

How Is The Window View Like?

Though it’s not as pretty and picuresque as some Amtrak Trains, you will still be able to see some cool things while taking the train from your window.

Should I Get Top Bed or Lower Berth?

This depends on your preference. If you would like to have your luggage and bags close, and if you don’t like climbing up and down, the lower birth is the better choice. However do know that you will most likely have to sit upright on certain occasians and offer your berth to fellow passengers to play cards, eat, etc.

If you have the upper berth, it’s a bit of hassle to get up there and taking things in and out from your suitcase, but you can lay down and do as you please without having other people disturb you.

How Safe Is It?

It’s very safe. There are conducters and officials on the train keeping an eye out for suspicious activity, but the screening process to get on the train is not that great nor do they check passenger luggage before they board the train.

Last update on 2019-06-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Looking back at my experiences here at Albion College, it’s both sad but yet full of optimism to think of graduation. There have been so many wonderful memories that will stay within my heart forever, and as much as I don’t want to grow up, it’s a part of life everyone has to accept. It’s the most important time of the year; a year when you start figuring who you are and where you want to go.

Coming to grips with letting go is a difficult thing. I remember my first day in the U.S; everything seemed so new, people, technology, legal system, etc. With time, I got used to them and learned how to cope with the cultural differences. I don’t know exactly how, but some things just happened naturally.

Creating friendships and relationships with people were always exciting and with every new encounter, each individual taught me an aspect of myself that I never knew that even existed. However, thinking about never seeing some of these people ever again scares me and shows how cruel life is.

Being a foreign student makes it even more difficult to comprehend with since I will have to live thousands of miles away as I go about life, never to see some of my closest friends. I like to believe that people come into our lives for a reason though, otherwise how could I’ve ever discovered my strengths, weaknesses, and my ambitions? An analogy I can think of is a train ride. I am headed towards my final destination, some will leave the train at a certain point, some will enter the train at a certain point, and some might stick around throughout the whole trip. Things come and go in life. Accepting that fact and remaining optimistic about the things to come has freed me from immense grief and despair.

Sometimes enjoying your undergraduate years as a foreigner can be difficult. I used to party like crazy the first moment I got here, but sooner or later, I grew apart from it. I used to dedicate myself fully into my sports, but I never saw myself being a professional athlete. I used to hit the books studiously, but I saw my relationships with people deteriorate.

I focused all my energy onto just a single point, but I always ended up being unhappy with the consequences. Maybe it took a longer time for me to figure it out compared to other people, but now I realize there always had to be a balance between everything. Being a silly freshman to a mature senior had it’s ups and downs, but looking at the bigger picture of my life, I notice everything flows in harmony. For whatever reason, things come so easily now. From meeting new people, getting good grades, to enjoying myself. With age, I certainly believe inner wisdom and clarity come.

Graduation is coming! I am scared & yet excited! Where do I see myself 5 years from now? 10 years? I don’t know. Although I wish I knew, I don’t want to know because things always change and the Orgil I am right now will not be the same Orgil 5 or 10 years from now.

Last update on 2019-06-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Difference between Chi & Ta: When you want to say “You” to someone, make sure it’s appropriate. They both mean you, but Chi is used when talking to someone of your own age, Ta is used when talking to someone who’s older, has higher social status, or if you just want to be polite.

Introducing yourself:

You’ll notice that gedeg (гэдэг) is often used. It just means “is” There are formal and informal ways of introducing yourself and others to people. Formal is most often used when you are presenting yourself in a serious manner or when addressing a crowd, informal is used in other occasions.

Informal

I am Orgil – Be Orgil (Би Оргил)

You are Orgil – Chi/ta bol Orgil (Чи/та бол Оргил)

S/He is Orgil – Ter bol Orgil (Тэр бол Оргил)

We are Orgil – Bid bol Orgil (Бид бол Оргил)

They are Orgil – Ted bol Orgil (Тэд бол Оргил)

Formal

My name is Orgil – Namaig Orgil gedeg (Намайг Оргил гэдэг)

Your name is Orgil – Chamaig/taniig Orgil gedeg (Чамайг/таныг Оргил гэдэг)

His name is Orgil – Teriig Orgil gedeg (Тэднийг Оргил гэдэг)

Our name is Orgil – Bidniig Orgil gedeg (Биднийг Оргил гэдэг)

Their name is Orgil – Tedniig Orgil gedeg (Тэднийг Оргил гэдэг)



Introducing Your Age:

You can say it in two ways. Formal literally means, I have X numbers of age. Informal literally means I have X age. Formal version can be used in informal situations just fine, but most often it is used when giving presentations to a crowd of people. Unless you are addressing a crowd, you should just use the informal version.

Formal

I am 24 years old – Be horin durvun nastai (Би хорин дөрвөн настай)

You are 24 years old – Chi/ta horin durvun nastai (Чи/та хорин дөрвөн настай)

S/He is 24 years old – Ter horin durvun nastai (Тэр хорин дөрвөн настай)

We are 24 years old – Bid horin durvun nastai (Бид хорин дөрвөн настай)

They are 24 years old – Ted horin durvun nastai (Тэд хорин дөрвөн настай)

Informal

I am 24 – Be horin duruvtei (Би хорин дөрөвтэй)

You are 24 – Chi/ta horin duruvtei (Чи/та хорин дөрөвтэй)

S/He is 24 – Ter horin duruvtei (Тэр хорин дөрөвтэй)

We are 24 – Bid horin duruvtei (Бид хорин дөрөвтэй)

They are 24Ted horing duruvtei (Тэд хорин дөрөвтэй)

Asking People’s Names:

When asking someone’s name, it’s best to use the formal version. Informal way of asking is mostly used when you are confused or somewhat angry.

Informal

Who am I? – Bi hen be? (Би хэн бэ?)

Who are you? Chi/ta Hen be? (Чи/та хэн бэ?)

Who is s/he? – Ter hen be? (Тэр хэн бэ?)

Who are we? – Bid hen be? (Бид хэн бэ?)

Who are they? – Ted hen be? (Тэд хэн бэ?)

Formal

What is my name? Namaig hen gedeg ve? (Намайг хэн гэдэг вэ?)

What is your name? – Chamaig/taneeg  hen gedeg ve? (Чамайг/таныг хэн гэдэг вэ?)

What is his/her name? – Terniig hen gedeg ve? (Тэрнийг хэн гэдэг вэ?)

What is our name? – Bidniig hen gedeg ve? (Биднийг хэн гэдэг вэ?)

What is their names? Tedniig hen gedeg ve? (Тэднийг хэн гэдэг вэ?)

Asking People’s Age:

Formal is often used when you are talking to strangers or when you are genuinely curious about someone’s age. Informal is used to ask someone’s age without making a big deal out of it in a social setting.

Formal

How much age do I have? Bi heden nastai ve? (Би хэдэн настай вэ?)

How much age do you have? Chi/ta heden nastai ve? (Чи/та хэдэн настай вэ?)

How much age does s/he have? Ter heden nastai ve? (Тэр хэдэн настай вэ?)

How much age do we have? Bid heden nastai ve? (Бид хэдэн настай вэ?)

How much age do they have? Ted heden nastai ve? (Тэд нар хэдэн настай вэ?)

Informal

How old am I? Bi hedtei ve? (Би хэдтэй вэ?)

How old are you? Chi/ta hedtei ve? (Чи/та хэдтэй вэ?)

How old is s/he? Ter hedtei ve? (Тэр хэдтэй вэ?)

How old are we? Bid hedtei ve? (Бид хэдтэй вэ?)

How old are they? Ted hedtei ve? (Тэд хэдтэй вэ?)

Next Lesson: Simple Mongolian Phrases

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Last update on 2019-06-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Mongolians don’t always use the Cyrillic alphabet when talking with one another online via chat or sms, sometimes a converted Latin alphabet is used to communicate for convenience. Depending on the people some letters are switched here and there but mean the same thing.




А а – A a

Б б – B b

В в – V v or W w

Г г – G g

Д д – D d

Е е – E e or I i

Ё ё – Yo yo

Ж ж – J j

З з – Z z

И и – I i

Й й – I i

К к – K k

Л л – L l

М м – M m

Н н – N n

О о – O o

Ө ө – U u or V v

П п – P p

Р р – R r

С с – S s

Т т –  T t

У у – U u or Y y

Ү ү – U u or Y y

Ф ф  – F f

Х х –  – Kh kh or H h

Ц ц – Ts ts

Ч ч  – Ch ch or J j

Ш ш  – Sh sh

Щ щ  – Shts shts

ъ – I i

ь – I i

Ы ы – Ii ii or Ee ee

Э э  – E e

Ю ю  – Yu yu

Я я – Ya ya

Example: I want to go to the shopping mall is Би худалдааны дэлгүүр руу явмаар байна. In Latinized version it would be Bi hudaldaanii delguur yavmaar baina.

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Last update on 2019-06-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

A lot of people tend to have the misconception that Mongolians speak Chinese or Russian, however, the official language in Mongolia is Mongolian and the writing system is Mongolian Cyrillic.

The language itself is completely different from Russian and Mandarin Chinese. The Mongolian language shares a lot of similarities with Northeast Asian and Central Asian languages, however, there are many borrowed Russian and Chinese words.

For example: Mashin, means car in both Russian and Mongolian. Shivgua means watermelon in Mongolian and Mandarin Chinese. You will most likely notice these shared words in nouns and things that were introduced to Mongolians. A lot of food names have Chinese origins while a lot of technological inventions have Russian origins.



Asking if Mongolians speak Chinese is Offensive

Most Mongolians are proud of their historical achievements and their culture, so asking a Mongolian if they speak Chinese (while innocent and genuinely a reasonable question) it is taken as an offense by Mongolians.

When I say Mongolians I am talking about Mongolians who live in Mongolia. Most Inner Mongolians who live in China wouldn’t probably take much offense and a lot of them would be able to speak in Mandarin.

Do Mongolians learn Chinese or Russian?

Before the 21st century, most Mongolians were taught Russian as a second language because USSR and Mongolia were very close allies. There were many exchange students, and summer camp exchanges when there was still a Soviet Union.

If you ever meet a Mongolian in their 40s and 50s, he or she will be able to at least know basic Russian and get by if necessary, but nowadays, not a lot of people learn Russian anymore and instead opt to learn English for better future prospects since it’s a more commonly used language around the world.

Mandarin Chinese is surprisingly not a favourite among Mongolians even though Mongolia and China are close trading partners, perhaps there is historical and cultural stigma attached to it. However, students who are seeking to study abroad in China do learn Mandarin Chinese, but a majority of international Mongolian students decide to apply for American, European, or Japanese/Korean schools.

Will Mongolians learn Russian or Chinese more often in the future?

Who knows, as Western influence declines perhaps Mongolians will opt to study Russian or Mandarin Chinese more. The Chinese economy is growing day by day, so Mongolians might have to learn Mandarin or Cantonese in the future for logical and practical reasons.

If Russian economy grows and has more of an influence in the world as it did back during the Soviet Union era, then Mongolians will probably pick it back up again. However, Mongolia today is influenced by Korean, Japanese, and Western cultures so English is currently the second language of choice.

We will just have to wait and see.

Buy Mongolian Language eBook: https://orgilproductions.com/learn-mongolian/

Last update on 2019-06-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

There are around 7-8 million ethnic Mongolians with varying degrees of physical and facial features. Historically and culturally being a nomadic type of people of Turkic origins, it was common for Mongolian tribes to intermarry within Eurasia. Hence, a small minority of Mongolians can have blue, grey, green eyes, and blonde or red hair.

However, to most people who are not aware of Mongolian culture and its people, your average Mongolian could be mistaken for other Asians, such as Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, etc. It’s pretty understandable because we tend to associate similarly looking kinds of people together in one group and label or categorize them.

For someone who has extensively traveled through Asia as a whole though, it’s pretty easy to tell who is whom and sometimes even distinguish their ethnic roots in a more detailed level.

Regardless of whether you are reading this for fun or plan on traveling to Mongolia soon, it doesn’t hurt to be aware of the different types of Mongolians since mistaking them for other East Asians can sometimes be taken as an offense.



Nomads

mongolian nomads wearing deel

Due to the harsh climate and weather, nomads tend to have rougher features with blushed red cheeks and heavily tanned skin. They don’t have the luxury of moisturizing their faces, applying sunscreen, so naturally they adapt to the environment.

Sedentary Mongolians

As of 2018, there are about 1.5 million Mongolians living in the capital, and about 1.8 million Mongolians (60% of the population) are living in urban cities.

Depending on the individual’s roots, your average city dweller can look very different from one another. However, if we’re talking about the majority and stereotypical city dweller look, usually they are more fair than nomads who live out in the countryside and generally taller due to better nutrition. While most simply look “Asian” there is still some admixture of Eastern European, Central/Western Asian features.

Some of my friends think I sometimes look slightly Russian and some strangers have commented that I could pass as half Asian, but as far as I am aware, none of my family have Eastern European roots and I consider myself a very average looking Mongolian and overall just Asian in appearance.

Minority Mongolians

Lastly you have people with pronounced Eurasian appearance. This is very common the further west you go in Mongolia, where Kazakhs and other minority Mongolians live. It’s not surprising to see Mongolians with blonde, red hair with green or blue eyes within those regions. While they are not as common and prevalent compared to people such as myself and sedentary Mongolians with moreso Northeast Asian appearance, it’s still considered normal and nothing out out of the ordinary.

Now hopefully that gives a good insight into the different kinds of look Mongolian people can have, so please stop saying Mongolians are dark/tanned nomads who ride horses 😛 You have people who look somewhat similar to Korean Japanese and Northern Chinese, to very Eastern European and Central Asian to slightly Persian looking.

Last update on 2019-06-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

People look at most wealthy people with disdain, and with a negative point of view. However, I would like to challenge you guys to look at that them from a different perspective.

Now I know money is not the answer to everything and that money does not necessarily make you any happier, and there are some superficial rich people who are not good role models, but we can learn so much from people who’ve dedicated themselves into their passion to be where they are at.

Most Wealthy People Are Not EVIL!

Successful people and wealthy people create the opportunity for us to have jobs, education, and healthcare etc. Without people who have a vision, such things would not exist, and we wouldn’t have many of the comforts and the innovations we have today. Their determination to succeed has brought so much boon for advancement of society in general.

Thomas Edison, sure he was an asshole, but he allowed us to enjoy electricity. Ford, Carnegie, Rockefeller, J.P Morgan etc, they all were rich people who lived extravagant lifestyles, but they built the U.S nation that we know of today. They sacrificed many things in their lives to achieve success so that we could benefit from their works.

People can argue rich people are evil, corrupted, and pose harm. I don’t doubt there have been affluent people who abused their wealth and power, but that’s a possibility we can’t avoid if we want to advance as a society and a race. Just like everything in the world, there are the good & bad.



Wealth is A Product Of The Value We Provide

People assume success is a product of climbing up the social ladder over the years, and for some, it is, but for individuals such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Obama, Ed Sheeran etc, they had to bust their asses day and night without the promises of certainty that they’ll succeed. They probably failed more than you can think, but they had the tenacity to believe in themselves to continue.

They probably couldn’t care less about money; it’s not that important to them. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates wanted to make our lives easier with computers; they wanted to connect people from all around the world with technology, and it was their passion to make the best fucking product out there that people could enjoy.

Many successful people have charities and donor organizations that support education, social advancement, and environmental sustainability, etc. The average Joe does not even come close to the amount of good deeds they perform every year. Us average people are selfish with our time, money, and attention, myself included.

Why Do You Desire To Be Wealthy?

I personally want to be wealthy, not because to live an extravagant wasteful lifestyle of cocaine, sex, and luxury (although some do; it’s their choice), but so that I can provide people with more opportunities for their growth, so that one day they can provide the same to others.

The more wealth I have and the more wealth I create for myself, the more I can share with people who are not as fortunate as me, and the more I can help with making the world a better & safer place for our generations to come.

Money & Wealth is not the problem, but it is our actions and choices in how we choose to look at Money & Wealth that determine whether it is good or bad.

Think and Grow Rich
6,787 Reviews
Think and Grow Rich
  • Napoleon Hill, Ben Holden-Crowther
  • Publisher: Ben Holden-Crowther
  • Paperback: 176 pages

Last update on 2019-06-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Misconception About The Writing System in Mongolia

Most people who are not aware of Mongolian culture would assume the writing system in Mongolia is either Mandarin or somewhat related to other East Asian languages. It is an understandable misconception as Mongolia was a former colony of Manchuria until 1921 and is a neighbor of China, however it still is a misconception as Mongolia today uses the Mongolian Cyrillic for its writing system.

Do Mongolians use “Russian Letters”?

Mongolian Cyrillic, while very similar to other Slavic writing systems, has 2 extra letters and is actually a language that’s completely different from Eastern European and Eastern Asian languages. The root of the Mongolian Language is believed to have originated in either Siberia or Central Asia.



The Cyrillic Alphabet itself was introduced by Cyril, an orthodox missionary and philosopher, who migrated from Greece to Moscow during the reign of Byzantine Empire. Slowly over the years his teachings spread throughout Eastern Europe and his writing system came to be the most popular. For more in-depth history of Cyril specifically, you can read at Blazing Bulgaria.

Mongolians previously used The Traditional Mongolian Script, Tibetan Sanscript, and even Latin at one point as an official writing system. However due to Soviet influence during the 1940s it made more economical sense to change to Cyrillic. As a close ally and trading partner of USSR, it allowed for improved political relationship and economic growth over the decades. With the aid and help of the Soviets during the 19 hundreds, Mongolia industrialized from the feudal ages to a modern country.

What about Inner Mongolia?

Inner Mongolia, a province of China, still uses the Mongolian Traditional Script as an official writing system.

This is probably the root of the confusion or the misconception that most people seem to have. While Inner Mongolia and Mongolia used to be one country during the Mongolian Empire, series of inner strife as well as the independence movement in 1921 led to their separation.

Ethnically and culturally Inner Mongolians and Mongolians share many similarities however due to political reasons, Mongolia is becoming more Westernized while Inner Mongolia more Sinicized. While they both share similar cultural roots, with time the differences will become more apparent.

Why doesn’t Mongolia change back to Traditional Script?

  • Changing back to traditional script is a very implausible scenario for Mongolia. Not only would it require almost every building, road sign, and educational book to be replaced with enormous costs, but logically there is no benefit to changing the writing system back to the traditional script.
  • There are about 10 million people who speak some version or language similar to Mongolian, and only 5 million or so Mongolians use traditional script. However, there are over 300 million people who use some form of the Cyrillic alphabet. Traditional Mongolian script also poses a lot of problems when it comes to use of computers and font support on the internet since it’s written vertically rather than horizontally. There are many filler words and in general traditional script takes up more space than Cyrillic.
  • However, most importantly, the Cyrillic alphabet is a symbol of Mongolian sovereignty from Manchuria’s 300 years of rule, present day China. Reverting back to traditional script in way would signify Mongolia giving up their sovereignty and undoing the hundreds of years of independence movement efforts. Mongolia and China relationship is still a touchy subject for most modern day Mongolians.

Do Mongolians use or learn the traditional script though?

Most middle schools teach the traditional script for a few years and a lot of people would be able to make out the general idea when reading in Mongolian script. Traditional script is still a part of Mongolia’s cultural identity and history, denying it would be a sacrilege to Mongolian ancestors. During holidays, festivals, and exhibitions you will also come across Mongolian script for cultural and aesthetic reasons.

Last update on 2019-06-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Crossing the Mongolia – China Border on a Budget

If you are travelling through either Mongolia or China, it’s always good to know some cheap ways to methods to get around. As a Mongolian traveler who prefers adventurous experiences, I’ve had my fair share of bargaining, negotiating, and finding good deals.

For newcomers to Mongolia, it’s recommended to read this Lonely Planet Guide and to learn the basics of the Mongolian language.

Read recommended gear for backpackers and travelers in Mongolia

Transportation Methods

As of 2017, there are 2 common ways to travel to/from Mongolia and China via land.

A) Trans Siberian Railway

trans siberian railway train ride

For those of you who don’t like the hassle, this is the preferred method of travel. All you need to do is book a ticket from either Ulaanbaatar or Beijing. Although the Mongolian government website is not the best, visit UBTZ.mn for tickets and pricing. Usually it’s 200-300k Tugriks (~100 USD) UB to Beijing one way. ~1200 Yuan (~180 USD) Beijing to UB.

Click here for Ulaanbaatar railway location

Click here for Beijing railway location

You will mostly be spending the next 24 hours confined in a small bunk-bed room that fits 4 people. When crossing the border, Mongolian and Chinese inspectors will check your IDs and on rare occasions, sometimes your luggage. You do have to wait a few hours for the train to change tracks, but it’s the most seamless and effortless way to travel.

I myself even prefer the train to flying. You don’t have to be patted down for security, nor check your luggage. You simply show your ticket and get on the train. There are plenty of people who will be selling drinks and food on stops, although slightly expensive compared to the original price.

Sometimes you meet cool people on the train and share travel stories, food, and good company. It’s something that doesn’t happen often when flying, so for backpackers and adventurous types who don’t want to go through the stressful hassle, book a direct train ticket from either Beijing or Ulaanbaatar.

B) Local Railway / Drive + Bus

Compared to a direct train ride, this method is a lot more annoying, especially if you are traveling with heavy bags and luggage. However, if you are simply traveling with a backpack, it’s comparatively a lot cheaper.

Ulaanbaatar to Erenhot / Erlian

ulaanbaatar main train station

Head to the national railway station. You can either negotiate a price with drivers that are headed towards Zamiin-Uud (border town) or you can book a train ticket to Zamiin-Uud. It usually costs ~35k Tugriks (15 USD)

Drivers usually only take ~8 hours to get to Zamiin Uud from Ulaanbaatar. However, it’s more dangerous and some drivers can be reckless with the speed limit. Trains usually take 12-14 hours.

Beijing to Erenhot / Erlian

muxiyuan bus station beijing

Head to the Muxiyuan bus station and book a ticket to Erlian / Erenhot. You can negotiate a price with 3-rd party vendors outside the bus station. How much it will cost depends on your negotiating skills. Otherwise, official tickets usually cost ~200 Yuans (~ 30 USD)

Make sure you have the writing and pronunciation correctly. I happened to book the wrong ticket and ended up getting lost somewhere in Inner Mongolia.

Finally, How To Actually Cross The Border

Once you are either at Zamiin-Uud train station or Erlian bus station, people will usually ask if you need to cross the border. Be careful of being ripped off if and/or being hassled into uncomfortable situations, some people can be incredibly pushy.

If you like negotiating, you can negotiate the price, but you will ultimately have to choose a driver to cross the border. You are not allowed to walk across the border. You must be transported by a vehicle!

I would advise to mostly go with Mongolian citizens to help you cross the border. Mongolian citizens are able to cross the border with without any visa restrictions, whereas Chinese citizens need a visa. And Mongolians are less likely to rip you off or make you feel uncomfortable.

If you are at the border very early, you will have to wait until 10 AM until it opens.

Zamiin-Uud to Erlian

zamiin uud train station

Once you arrive in Zamiin-Uud, people will ask you if you need to cross the border. Usually it’s 50 Yuan ( ~5 USD) per person to cross and take you to the Erlian bus station.

You will be dropped at the Mongolian border for clearance, picked up again and driven to the Chinese border clearance. Once you pass Chinese border clearance, you can choose to be dropped at the Erlian bus station or somewhere around the city if you prefer.

Once you are at the Erlian bus station, you will be hassled by a lot of vendors who will try to sell you a ticket to Beijing. Tickets are usually 200-300 Yuan (30 USD – 40 USD) depending on your negotiation skills.

Erlian to Zamiin-Uud

erenhot town

After arriving in Erlian, some taxi drivers will ask you if you need to get to the border. If it’s a Mongolian driver, you won’t have much trouble crossing since they are not limited by visa restrictions. They will drive you to the Chinese border clearance, and then the Mongolian border clearance.

If it’s a Chinese national, you will most likely be dropped off at the Chinese border clearance and you will have to find someone else to get you across the Mongolian border. There are plenty of cars passing through, so you won’t have too much trouble. However it is a bit more expensive. Be ready to spend ~10+ USD.

Buses from Ulaanbaatar to Erlian

If you book a bus ticket that goes from Ulaanbaatar to Erlian and back, it’s a bit easier and less hassle to cross the border. You don’t have to negotiate border crossing fees with independent drivers, since it will be direct route. You will have to get off for clearance and such, but you won’t have to waste time worrying about border transit.

This website is in Mongolian, but you could try using Google Translate to make sense of the basics.

Total Estimated Cost

A) Trans Siberian: ~250k (UB to Beijing) or ~450k (Beijing to UB) Tugriks + 20k Tugriks (Food)

B) Local Mongolian Railway: ~35k Tugriks (Zamiin Uud train ticket) + 20k (Food) + 20k (Border crossing) +  90k (Beijing bus ticket) + 20k (Food) = ~185k Tugriks (~80 USD)

C) Overnight Bus: ~55k Tugriks (Bus ticket) + 20k (Food) + 90k (Beijing bus ticket) + 20k (Food) = ~185k Tugriks (~80 USD)

Safe Travels!

Sometimes it’s simply better to pay a little more to make your travel experience more comfortable. Negotiating prices, arguing with locals and being stingy with money is emotionally draining. It’s not where you go, what you see, what you cross off your list, but the experience and the memories you make. Smile! Enjoy your trip!

For aspiring backpackers, check out my list of recommended travel gear for budget travelers.

 

Last update on 2019-06-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Traditional Clothing

Tradtional Mongolian clothing is simply the deel. Depending on the use and purpose of the deel, the material, the style and look can vary.

Check out this cool video about making the Mongolian deel:

Practical Deel

mongolian nomads wearing deel

The deels that nomads wear are mainly for practical purposes. It’s made out of wool and cloth. No fancy stitching or ornaments. The outer layer of the deel is hardy and tough. It doesn’t burn nor get wet quite easily.

The inner layer consists of wool for heat conservation and feels quite comfortable. There are 2-3 “buttons” around the neck area, but the placement and style can vary based on who sewed the deel.

In most cases you wrap yourself with khadag or with a big belt around your hip area, otherwise the deel will just drape over your body.



Decorative Deel

mongolian man and woman wearing the deel

While the deel most nomads wear are moreso for practical use, Mongolians have modernized the style and look of the deel as well for decoration. The material used to make it is usually more expenseive, such as silk or cotton.

You won’t see a lot of Mongolians wearing the decoration deel for everyday purposes, but for holidays, festivals, and other special events, it’s pretty normal to wear one.

Check out Gobi Cashmere. They make the best modern style deels.

Accessories

Accessories for the deel usually include military style boots, or traditional Mongolian boots are pretty big and bulky with a pointy tip.

Cowboy hats, belts, and other personal accessories look good on deels.

Fashion Trend in Mongolia

If you are visiting major cities like Ulaanbaatar, then you most likely will see Mongolians wearing clothes that are pretty modern. Jeans, dress shoes, t-shirt, etc.

Mongolians living in Ulaanbaatar are very trendy and fashionable, because most people in urban environments tend to judge someone’s character based on the clothes they wear. The usual fashion trend in Mongolia is a mix of Western and Korean / Japanese.

It’s pretty common to see teenagers and adults alike to dye their hair blonde, white, and other intresting colors with unique hairstyles. You won’t see Mongolians wearing any trainer sneakers unless they are going for a workout.

Mongolian kids standing in group
My friends and I on a night out.

Suggested Reads: Learn the Mongolian Language – Free eBook

Last update on 2019-06-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Alchemist is by far one of my most favourite books. You can find many important life lessons that you can apply to your own life. The book itself is a story of a young shepherd named Santiago seeking his own personal legend, in other words, his purpose in life. While on his journey he is faced with overbearing obstacles and challenges hidden with a deeper meaning. Here are the things I found most inspiring.

FINDING YOUR PERSONAL LEGEND

The book starts with Santiago, a young Spanish shepherd’s repeated visions of a hidden treasure near the Egyptian pyramids whenever he dozes off while grazing his flock. Sensing there has to be a significant meaning to his visions, he goes to a Gypsy fortune teller for advice, in which he is instructed to go to Egypt to find his “hidden treasure”. The boy is hesitant, but after realizing he’ll never be happy if he doesn’t at least try, he finally decides to go forth in search of his “hidden treasure”.

Hidden treasure chest

We all have a sense of emptiness from time to time, as if we could be living our lives more healthily, or more happily. It’s a feeling you and I both can’t shake away despite our attempts to accept mediocrity of life. The book perfectly describes of the visions we ourselves have from time to time reminding our true passions in life, otherwise referred as “personal legend” in The Alchemist.

NO VALUE WITHOUT SACRIFICE

The boy soon finds himself in a dilemma, a) to play it safe and dibble dabble or b) trade half of his flock of sheep for valuable information. He ultimately decides to trade half his sheep; now he’s really in the game and can’t go back.

There is no value in something unless we sacrifice time, effort, and resources. People appreciate the things they worked hard for to achieve. This could otherwise be referred to as “burning your boats” so that you have no plan B; it’s do or die. It’s an extreme example, but you get the point. Without certain amount of commitment and sacrifice, you won’t keep yourself accountable to finish what you started since you risked little to nothing.

THE PRINCIPLE OF FAVOURABILITY

The principle of favourability, is the stroke of beginners luck we experience in a given instance. If you think back in your life, you might have had success with something you never thought you had any skill in or something that allowed you to pursue what you always wanted, which motivated you to learn more and do more.

Santiago comes across someone willing to buy his remaining sheep for a handsome price so that he could finance his trip to Egypt. He believes it will be smooth sailing, but he is in for so much more. Beginner’s luck doesn’t always last for long though, soon enough you find yourself facing a big block in your progress.

DON’T FALL IN LOVE WITH THE DREAM

A girl daydreaming out a window

After losing everything the boy had due to unfortunate outcome of events, he decides to give up on his personal legend and go home. It was not what he had hoped for, but without money, friends, and resources, he learns that he will never be able to see the pyramids.

He must first however purchase his return ticket and soon finds himself having to work for a Muslim crystal merchant to get home. Santiago is fairly successful and after some time has enough money for his return, but his boss shares a story that sends chills.

Since I won’t be able to capture the beauty of the message in a short summary, here’s the quote from the book.

“When I was young, all I wanted to do was to put together enough money to start this shop. I thought that someday I’d be rich, and could go to Mecca. I began to make some money, but I could never bring myself to leave someone in charge of the shop; the crystals are delicate things.

At the same time, people were passing my shop all the time, heading for Mecca. Some of them were rich pilgrims, traveling in caravans with servants and camels, but most of the people making the pilgrimage were poorer than I. “All who went there were happy at having done so. They placed the symbols of the pilgrimage on the doors of their houses. One of them, a cobbler who made his living mending boots, said that he had traveled for almost a year through the desert, but that he got more tired when he had to walk through the streets of Tangier buying his leather.”

“Well, why don’t you go to Mecca now?” asked the boy. “Because it’s the thought of Mecca that keeps me alive. That’s what helps me face these days that are all the same, these mute crystals on the shelves, and lunch and dinner at that same horrible café. I’m afraid that if my dream is realized, I’ll have no reason to go on living.”

The crystal merchant had always wanted to go to Mecca for his hajj, and his business was just a means for him to finance his trip, but as time went on, it wasn’t long before his personal legend became more like an unattainable dream than a possibility.

How many of you know someone who’s in a similar position as the crystal merchant? Someone who only talks and talks about his or her dreams while never taking any necessary action to make it a reality?

THE CONSPIRING UNIVERSE

WHEN YOU WANT SOMETHING, ALL THE UNIVERSE CONSPIRES IN HELPING YOU TO ACHIEVE IT

I don’t know what your religious background is or whether you believe in the law of attraction but this quote is one of my mantras. Once your beginner’s luck, or principle of favourability runs out, you are faced with a whole different level of challenges, but if you really want something badly enough, you will take chances and opportunities that present themselves, which may ultimately help you get where you want to be in life.

Santiago was a shepherd throughout his whole life, however he just knew he had to find the hidden treasure in Egypt. Though when his luck (prince of favourability) ran out, he still found opportunities and made decisions that helped him head towards the right direction.

MAKE YOUR OWN DECISIONS

In The Alchemist, Paulo Coehlo refers to the greatest tragedy of life as giving up control and letting our lives be run by fate. Making your own decisions sounds easy in theory, but in practice it’s more difficult than we think. Our friends, family, and mentors will always influence us in ways that may ultimately shape how our lives may turn out. That’s why choosing to surround yourself with the right people is of utmost importance.

The boy was given two stones Urim and Thumim by a king in case he did difficulty making any decisions. One representing yes and the other a no. Interestingly he never got the chance to really use the stones, and in situations he wanted to let a piece of stone decide his fate, he was either interrupted or a different thought occurred to him. In the end, he always ended up taking responsibility for his own decisions and actions.

DON’T MAKE YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER YOUR GOAL

Couple in the sunset

Falling in love is one of the greatest joys and pleasures in life, a universal language as the book likes to refer to. I’ve fallen in love many times, from simple infatuations, friendships, short flings, to something more mature; each had its unique lessons and experiences. I, at one point in my life, was willing to give up my dreams, aspirations, and passions in life for love, for “The ONE”. After all, what’s a nobler cause to signify your undying love?

As time went on, I realized a part of me was missing, that I no longer felt like myself anymore. There was a nagging feeling of being unfair to my girlfriend and to myself as I always wanted to travel and not be bound by responsibilities or obligations. It was a feeling that I couldn’t be my best authentic self for her and in life. I found myself sacrificing my friends, my hobbies, and pieces of my “personal legend” to make the relationship work; but the more I tried, the more empty and hollow I felt with no purpose.

It’s not easy letting go of love, especially when both of you want it to work but it just doesn’t. I am always thankful that she had the strength to make the decision to part ways for me. It’s something I couldn’t do as I always fell silent whenever the words made its way to my mouth.

However, do you really wish to know whether you chose the right person to share your life with, or a even a portion of it? Simple answer is if he or she is willing to sacrifice love for you to be happy. Like me, Santiago finds himself head over heels and was willing to give up on Egypt and the pyramids for “The ONE”, but he did not expect his love to share words of true wisdom.

“You have told me about your dreams, about the old king and your treasure. And you’ve told me about omens. So now, I fear nothing, because it was those omens that brought you to me. And I am part of your dream, a part of your Personal Legend, as you call it. That’s why I want you to continue toward your goal. If you have to wait until the war is over, then wait. But if you have to go before then, go on in pursuit of your dream. The dunes are changed by the wind, but the desert never changes. That’s the way it will be with our love for each other. Maktub,” she said. “If I am really a part of your dream, you’ll come back one day.” (p. 97)
Fatima shows her understanding of the boy and of the world by encouraging him to pursue his dream rather than stay with her waiting for the war to end. She believes, as he does, that their destinies have been written, and if they are meant to be together, they will be. Thus there is nothing to fear in separating now, for as the word “maktub” is translated, it is written, and if fate will unveil itself, they will reunite.

In the end, true love is wishing what is best for yourself and your significant other, so that both of you may find your personal legends. Some may share the same ride throughout your whole life, some may change to a different ride, and some may hop on the same ride again. Whatever the outcome, each one of us are on our own journey to find our “hidden treasure”.

THE IRONY OF IT ALL. THE HIDDEN TREASURE

And do you know what the irony of it all is? No, I won’t spoil the fun for you, but I will give you a hint. Santiago does not find the hidden treasure in Egypt, but actually gets beaten and robbed by people who went searching for the same “hidden treasure”.

He returns home to Spain, to where he first had his visions, and with a sudden smirk on his face realizes the irony of it all. I don’t want to spoil it for you 🙂 Grab yours here!

 

 

Last update on 2019-06-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

GROWING UP & NOSTALGIA

It’s a few hours before my flight back home after a month or so of backpacking around the United States. It has been one of the most fulfilling and life enriching experience I have ever had. What started out as a little dabble with adventure turned out to be a life changing experience. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and learning different perspectives from millionaires, broke backpackers, ex-convicts, and internationals from 4 corners of the globe.

As I sit and type this blog here in the hostel kitchen with the subtle 2000s music in the background, each and every song takes me back to a time and space of my younger self. Ohh how things have changed and how time has passed by. It’s hard not to be nostalgic and sad despite the endless possibilities ahead in the future.



THE EPIPHANY

While Rihanna sings about her Umbrella, it’s an odd feeling to realize that as we age, we become desensitized to emotions. We forget what it’s like to love, to feel, to enjoy the moment without having to worry about what’s to come tomorrow. There is just something magical about our younger days despite its ups and downs. It was a simple life with simple people. Just remembering the days of how a 2 Liter soda drink with a few of my best buddies or staying up all night chit chatting gave me more happiness than anything else is surprising, aahhh simple times indeed.

THE WORLD IS BEAUTIFUL

If there is something I learned along this backpacking trip, it is the fact that the connections you have with people are more important than almost all things in life. In the end, we all want to love and feel loved; it doesn’t have to be Romantic love, but genuine unconditional love given and received. But what do we get as soon as we turn on the radio, TV, and Computer? Flood of images about the impending world destruction, unrealistic body expectations we’ll never achieve, reasons why we won’t be happy unless we buy X, Y or Z.

The world is not all sunshine and rainbows, but for the majority of times, people are inherently good natured at heart. People like helping others, people like connecting and bonding; we are a communal species after all. However, why do we close ourselves off to others because we got burned once in the past, leading to our mistrustful attitudes towards people. We stop wanting to receive and give, but the greatest joy in life lies in giving and receiving. The world is a beautiful place if you know where to look.

Last update on 2019-06-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you’re here to read an angry blog post about a racism in America, unfortunately this is quite the opposite. Over the last 5 years here in America, as a Mongolian from Asia, in general, I’ve had a very pleasant experience with people from various backgrounds and cultures. It mainly comes down to your belief system and how open you are to different perspectives and opinions. Some of my friends think I am a liberal since I am an international, but I can be quite the conservative too. Anyways, here’s my story.



Coming to the United States as a Freshman was a truly eye opening experience. I came not only to get my bachelors degree, but to also explore everything about the American culture. As some of you might know, I was going through a phase of culture shock; shooting stars and fireworks for a few months! Fraternities, parties, sports, college life, dating, you name it. Gradually, the newness wore off, but every has been a new learning experience!

The most important lesson I’ve learnt is how you want to view the world and how you want to present yourself. Be proud of who you are and your nationality; a mistake of mine is being embarrassed of my own identity as I didn’t mention my nationality to people as 2nd year rolled around. If you see yourself as someone who has nothing to offer and that the world is out there to get you because you look a certain way, to most extent, that is going to be true. You will fail to see the nice gestures people do for you and focus more so on the negative.

I won’t deny racism exists, but I have been fortunate enough to not have experienced direct insults or aggressive behaviour from strangers or acquaintances because I was Mongolian (I’ve seen more so reversed). Perhaps certain people have treated me differently on a subtle level because I am a foreigner, but I want to focus on the good.

Not so long ago, yesterday, since coming down to Texas, (A racist place according to a few of my friends), people have actually been very generous. A grocery store clerk saved me $2-$3 willingly with a discount, bus drivers have been helpful, and it’s the first time seeing 5-6 peoples of different cultures down in Houston. So stay positive my friends and keep your head up high; there’s a lot of love to go around!

Last update on 2019-06-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Just Another Day

It was a day prior to Halloween. As I headed back home on a train after a long day in the office, thinking what to wear, a short Asian man dressed in hooded coat and jeans with a fancy pair of dress shoes stood next to me. I took a little glimpse and examined the man. His hands seemed rough and flaky, but I could not get a good look at his face nor make out too much of his image.

Shortly thereafter, he asked the directions to where he was headed from an old dark man who stood in front of me. Given the excuse to turn around, I looked back for a few seconds pretending he asked me the question as the true recipient answered it.



The Catalyst

I was shocked and surprised as I gazed into his bloodshot eyes, seemingly chemically burnt or exposed skin, and the ever lonely tooth that was left as he continued to speak to the other man. I quickly tilted my head back as the uneasiness settled in for both the dark man and I. The old dark man tried to be polite, but dismissed any interest in continuing the interaction out of his discomfort and displease with such an unsightly view.

As I stood there embarrassed with my prejudice and bias too, there was a strong sense of urge and a desire to ask that Asian man to sit down for some drinks or food. However, my body trembled as my mouth felt like something had glued it shut, until it was already time for me to de-board, but the man exited the train as well and walked alongside me. As much as my soul cried out to take action and have an encounter that will be remembered until the day I die, my selfish ego told otherwise, and asked why even think of such outrageous shit.

With every stride, he became smaller and smaller until he disappeared as he boarded a bus for his final destination, and there I stood debating whether I should take the final chance to ask him if he would like to get dinner on me, to understand and hear his story about what it’s like to be shunned and treated as an outcast, but there I stood. After an hour since that encounter, I was back at my apartment mulling over my indecision with ever-brewing anger at myself for being such a coward. To shift my focus, I grabbed my phone to check my yahoo emails, but another headline already took my attention “All 224 on-board killed in Sinai plane crash”.

Drowning in Luck

And there it hit me, like a hammer on an anvil, how my habits and surroundings started to mold my actions, how apathy started to settle, but more importantly, how I took my life for granted ever since moving to Chicago. All the moments I told myself “I’ll go to that meet-up tomorrow when I feel like it” “I’ll start swimming again when I have the time” “I’ll talk to that cute girl when I have enough money to take her on a nice date” “I’ll do this or that, when this or that” came rushing in. I grabbed my swim trunks, goggles, and towel to go for a swim after 2 months of excuses, attended the French group meet-up, and held myself accountable to follow through. What did I lose? A piece of paper that supposedly “signifies” our worth. What did I gain? Priceless smiles and encounters with amazing people who realigned me with my purpose to explore and share.

When we’re drifting off our course and purpose in life, the universe gives us a nice kick to the balls or “any pain that’s equivalent for the ladies reading this”, to wake us up. Comfort and complacency are the death to passion, desire, and action. You don’t hurt nor do you feel. “The opposite of love is indifference”

My question to you is, what have you been putting off? 

Last update on 2019-06-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

It’s a quiet Saturday evening. I have a water bottle next to my side and a few sheets of paper. Sheets of paper that give a glimpse into the interests of the newer generation of Mongolian youths.

I have been blessed with higher level education and the opportunity to learn, which many of us take for granted or dream about. As I go through these sheets, I am amazed and inspired to see the diversity of different majors each student wants to pursue here at Albion College.

Almost 5 years ago, when I started thinking of what I wanted to do with my life after high school graduation, a prestigious university or college was all the craze. My parents and teachers, having lived through a socialist era, had a different kind of mindset. Reputation of a school name and hard work got them through life, so they advised me to apply for respectable schools and bigger universities.



Most Mongolians only hear about Harvard, Princeton, etc. Some of my friends applied and got accepted into the Ivy Leagues. It is a great feat and something to praise, but I always wanted to venture into the unknown. Albion College was barely ever mentioned there. I hadn’t even heard of it nor would have ever considered even applying had it not been for Lewis Cardenas, the former Albion College recruiter. I am forever grateful until this day that I applied. My heart has always belonged in a smaller school that challenged me to think, a school that allowed for excellence of education and creativity. The relationships that I have developed with people over the years have been wonderful.

Anyways, enough about my story, but most often in our country, majors in business, economics, and finance are encouraged when studying abroad. As a developing country it makes sense to root for practical majors that will be of use in the future for development. I don’t argue against that, but if that’s all we emphasize on, our country will crumble. What about the scientists? What about the engineers? What about the architects? Teachers? Philosophers and so much more? Where is the encouragement for the younger generation to create and to build? However, I am more than excited to realize there is a shift in paradigm!

As I read through the forms of potential Brits, I see students interested in majoring in:

Biochemistry, Biology, Psychology, Environmental Sciences, Arts, History etc, and this gives me immense joy. I can’t wait to connect with them and guide them through their application process. The future of Mongolia depends on us and the younger generation. We have been fighting hard to remain as an independent nation from China for over 90 years, but if all we can do is business and sell out of our country to foreign influence, we’re headed towards a dark path.

To all my Mongolian brothers and sisters, I say go against the traditional norms and create a path for yourself. Do what you feel is right and purposeful to you and your country. Some will say there are no jobs back home where you are going to be majoring in or how are you going to make money with that degree? But, let me ask you something; something to think about. Why can’t we create those jobs? Why can’t we be the first to open doors for many to come? We need thinkers, builders, innovators; we need a diversity of people majoring in different things with higher degrees of education for the betterment of our country.

All I am asking is for you to consider the possibilities. Be rational to a point; do listen to your teachers, do listen to your family members, do listen to your friends, BUT MOST OF ALL, listen to YOURSELF even more!

What do you want to do?

Last update on 2019-06-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Last update on 2019-06-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API