Chinguun paused at the top of the hill. The view opened up into empty whiteness: frozen river, snow-crusted mountains, icy tufted grass. He stood for a moment in silent contemplation. Then he shifted his weight and ripped an epic fart. I felt a brief warmth, followed by a clinging stink. Whatever our relationship might have been, the romance was definitely gone. I wanted off this damn horse.
Chinguun wasn’t thrilled with me either. He’d been a willful pain in the ass from the start, ignoring my directions and running away from the group. I’d ratted him out to the ride leader, and she grabbed his reins and pulled him to the front—the naughty kid who has to hold the teacher’s hand in the hallway. In my experience this child is always named Chinguun. He will also always be vengeful.
And so it proved. After several failed escape attempts, Chinguun resorted to the butt bazooka to express his frustration. Equally powerless, all I could do was hold my breath and try to enjoy the view through watering eyes. It wasn’t comfortable, but metaphors rarely are.
I felt Chinguun’s hips list left again and instinctively held my breath.
We haven’t posted in a while. There are lots reasons, but Mongolia is not one of them. We’ve hardly even seen Mongolia yet. That flatulent pony ride last March was my first time outside the city of Ulaanbaatar. Sam didn’t make it out until two months later.
Our enthusiasm was killed off by a mix of illness, cabin fever, and circumstance. I don’t think we’re alone in feeling stressed and uninspired lately. The state of the world—never an uplifting topic—has been particularly iffy these past months. While I maintain that good always outweighs bad, I have to admit that the immediate landscape smells like farts. It is hard to appreciate any greater beauty when riding around in a bubble of stink.
The state of travel blogging hasn’t uplifted my spirits either. There are some amazing writers out there, but their voices are getting downed out in a clickbait frenzy. Frankly, if I see one more “How I quit job to travel—and you can too!” post I’m going to barf in a cupboard. That’s not what travel (or travel writing) should be about. The world needs a lot of things right now, and one of them is more storytellers.
So we’re back. Not on a strict schedule; we’ll tell you stories as they crop up. Now that it’s summer, things have started to get interesting around here, so you can expect to hear from us a bunch in the next few months. I may even get on a horse again, though not without an instructor. And a can of air freshener.