Work, work, work…

Some of the staff and I on a cool day!
Some of the staff and I on a cool day!

Or lack thereof, sometimes. By the time I leave Lake Khovsgal on the 14th, I will have spent 17 days here. It was a little longer than planned, but I was offered a great opportunity, so it was worth the stay and it allowed me to keep under budget. With that said, I’m getting excited to leave. The weather is changing and it’s getting much cooler, it’s below 40 F at night. Taking a shower is a chilling experience (even with hot water), and it takes longer for the laundry to air dry. Additionally, as fun as it is to be the unofficial liaison to the English speaking guests, I don’t have a whole lot to do here. I like helping out in the kitchen, but it’s been busy and I don’t like to get in the way so I usually find other things to do. I’ve spent a lot of time with some of the guests, we’ve gone on hikes, shared meals and wine, played card games, and sometimes it’s sad to say goodbye. I always find myself thinking about the people I’ve met on the road.

On a journey like this, everyday is a learning experience- whether about life, or yourself, and sometimes both. I’ve learned I definitely have to do work of some sort. I can’t be idle. Sometimes I space out the few tasks I have so I don’t get everything done in one day. Some days are more busy, but on slow days, I walk over to the other camp to work on English lessons with my first host or simply find something to do. I like having tasks, even if they are simple, such as cleaning the ger or even doing my laundry. I’m curious to see how I will feel with future hosts. What kind of “work” will I have? Will working in an area related to nutrition be more fulfilling? I mean, I like this, don’t get me wrong, but there’s only so much I can do here and ultimately, I have no independence. I love the food served in the restaurant and even some of the staff meals are not bad, but a part of me wants to cook my own meal. Here, we are isolated. There are few shops and they only have basic food items and goods available. There aren’t any vegetables, fruit, or sources of protein available, not even eggs, so it’s not like I can just whip up something for myself when things are slow.

A store in the small village of Khatghal. I unexpectedly went into the little town one afternoon.
A store in the small village of Khatghal. I unexpectedly went into the little town one afternoon.

I’m sure these feelings will be recurring but so far, the experiences and benefits of living this lifestyle outweighs those aspects of life. I know the big city is not for me and I didn’t feel the need to stay in Beijing, but being too isolated also has its downsides. Something in the middle would be ideal, or at least being in an area that has some basics available, like fruit and vegetables, would be nice.

I made this bountiful tuna and veggie salad as soon as I got back to Ulan Bator and went to a grocery store!
I made this bountiful tuna and veggie salad as soon as I got back to Ulan Bator and went to a grocery store!

Being here has been rewarding and educational on so many levels. While I’m not really a marketing director of any sort, I hope I’ve helped generate some interest for the business, or at least, some “likes” on FaceBook! I went from working in a kitchen whose three main cooks made meals to feed over 3,600 people daily to a kitchen that flows smoothly without running water or electricity! While the quantity of meals is less, the quality is outstanding and watching everybody work is fascinating. I will also keep this type of location in mind when choosing future hosts. How isolated do I want to be and for how long? How much independence do I need? I know I will miss things here- the owner, she calls me her sister, the friendly staff who always smile even though I feel like they must be sick of me, my breakfast- an egg on a slice of toast with cheese and sometimes salami or even bacon, and the lake, it’s beauty still captures me! BUT, it’s time to move on and the next place will bring new people, experiences, and memories. Thank you Nature’s Door! Maybe I’ll see you again next summer! ???

Feel free to check out their FaceBook page: Nature’s Door. https://www.facebook.com/Natures-door-258275827573441/

Author: Tiffany Batsakis

Registered Dietitian
Fitness Fanatic
World Traveler
Food Lover
Weimaraner Owner

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