When people think of Mongolia, they mostly think of open plains and grassland steppes where the nomads roam free. To some extent it is true. Mongolia is one of the least densely populated countries in the world. However, since the 1990s Mongolia has slowly been transitioning into a more urbanized way country.
There are major stereotypes about Mongolia being a nomadic country that is not so developed, but since the mining boom in 2011, Mongolia has been developing at a rapid rate. To suggest that Mongolia today is still the same as 20-30 years ago from the 20th century would be a false statement. The way of life in Mongolia is changing as we speak.
BUT, there are still thousands of nomads or people who opt to live a simpler nomadic lifestyle out in the countryside. In some ways, they live a more comfortable life than the former nomads who decided to move into the city.
What Does It Take To Be A Nomad
As a former nomad myself, you definitely need a strong fortitude of emotional discipline. The weather can get extremely cold or extremely hot depending on some years. Some summers can be arid and dry, whereas the winters are cold-blizzard-like. It’s not easy living a lifestyle that is still very vulnerable to weather and the environment.
People who show interest in Mongolian culture and the traditional way of life mostly tend to be people sick of the modern lifestyle that’s plugged into everything. Or perhaps people who are more in tune with nature and a simpler way of life. The nomadic lifestyle definitely is more about living in the now and giving up the luxuries of modern-day life.
You Have To Make Sacrifices
You won’t have the luxury of showering every day, buying groceries for your own pleasure; even eating different kinds of foods. The nomad diet is pretty simple. A lot of meats, potatoes, and flour. Though the meals are organic and delicious, you might get tired of eating the same thing over and over again.
With the help of renewable energy, a lot of nomads today have a television hooked up via a satellite. Some have generators that produce electricity, so you can find refrigerators here and there, but anything beyond that is asking for too much.
Modern-day electronics don’t jive so well with a nomad lifestyle, so most of what you have right now won’t serve many purposes if you do decide to become a nomad.
A Typical Day As a Nomad
This will mostly depend on the kind of nomad. There are the hardcore nomads living pretty much off the grid with minimal contact with society and civilization. And then there are the nomads who focus more on tourism and providing hospitality to foreigners.
Where these nomads decide to live also influences their day-to-day life. However, if we are talking in general, nomadic culture is still gender-oriented. The men take care of the more physically demanding tasks while the women focus more on managing the household.
Usual chores for men are herding the flock of animals, slaughtering livestock, breaking down wild horses, construction, and manual labor. Women on the other hand are in charge of preparing food, milking animals, and tending to the livestock. Nomads are hardy people physically and mentally very strong.
Should You Become A Nomad?
Assuming you become a Mongolian citizen and renounce your old citizenship, becoming a nomad in Mongolia is not for everyone. While you may enjoy the experience of being a nomad for a week or two during tours around the countryside via a travel agency, if you are not serious about it, it will take a toll on your body once you live for a month, a year, a decade, etc.
You will have to unlearn everything you’ve been taught about life and give up most of what you know about modern-day life. That means computers, hot showers, baths, candy, and many other modern-day inventions.
Becoming a nomad is not just a way of life, but also a way of thought. You learn to be one with the land and in tune with mother nature. It’s about letting go of the expectations of society and becoming comfortable living independently on your own and survive.