Eastern Siberia and Mongolia – September, 2015 (Part One)
A motorcycle tour in Eastern Siberia and Northern Mongolia. 16 days and 8 riders. A few months ago, I was asked to lead the group for Ayres Adventures, and I knew right then it would be a trip to remember forever, to use the old cliche. What I just didn’t know back then is if I would remember it for all the right reasons, as this was going to be a trip full of firsts: the first time I was visiting that part of the world, to begin with; the first time Ayres was partnering with a local tour company specialized in the Siberian Altai region (and Mongolia as well); the first time I would be fully responsible for the tour success, having to work with a Russian crew I knew close to nothing about; the first time I would ride with guests in mostly dirt and rocky roads, with long parts of full-scale desert and deep sand to make things even more interesting. All these firsts had the usual effect on me, which is to say I almost couldn’t contain my excitement and desire to have the tour beginning already.
I’m attracted by the unknown, always have been, and even though I reserved some of my thoughts for all the things that could go wrong, I couldn’t help feeling that it would be simply extraordinary in all senses. I was right, and it was more than extraordinary. It was life-changing, even if not in a grand scale or marked by big, larger-than-life events. On the contrary, it was the sum of the small daily experiences that made it all so unique, and by the end of the journey, as I was flying back home feeling extremely happy (and a bit tired, as you don’t sleep much in situations full of firsts), I realized the trip had a tremendous impact on me. Much bigger than I could’ve anticipated.
There is no sense in trying to describe these experiences on a personal photo blog. What I saw and lived in these short 16 days is simply too much to write about in a place dedicated to images. I may be able to try and get it all on text someday, but the small sample of images I’m posting now may help one understand a little bit of what I just described quite emotionally. The faces, the places and the moments are forever engraved in my mind, and the photos are the proof I lived it all. The riding was absolutely fantastic too, of course, so much in fact that the next tour is already scheduled for 2016… I’m glad to share this little sample of images, hoping that this will prove to be the first of many visits to one of the most beautiful and primitive areas in the world.