Walking the Gobi
One morning early in 2012, I set out from Tiananmen Square at the heart of Beijing with a £5 pair of shoes and a lightweight backpack. Six weeks and almost 1,000 miles later, I limped into Sukhbaatar Square in Mongolia's Capital, Ulaan Baatar. I had survived snowstorms, sandstorms, fierce desert heat, dehydration, and a brawl in a Chinese karaoke bar. But I had also experienced peace, space, serenity, loneliness and kind hospitality in both China and Mongolia. This remains my most simple and one of my favourite adventures.
I was regularly taken in by herders living in one of the world's harshest environments with scorching summers and unspeakably cold winters. These hardy, isolated nomads are in a perpetual struggle for their own survival and the survival of their livestock which can be depleted by as much as half after particularly brutal winters. Their way of life is one honed over thousands of years of existence and their existence remains little changed in that time.
The story of this journey is recounted in the book On Roads That Echo
A timed seven-minute talk at a London charity event