Editor’s Note: Below is a note we received from Rebecca Page, Business Manager from Initiative, who won our Plan It to Win It contest.Ā Her dream vacation – a trip to Mongolia to visit a child she has been sponsoring for the past 5 years – is truly inspiring.Ā
A huge thank you to MediaMind for an absolutely amazing holiday. In July 2012, I was lucky enough to win the Smart Planning Dream it. Plan it. Win it. vacation contest. My destination of choice was Mongolia, a country I have always been fascinated with for so many reasons – its nomadic traditions, history, vastness of land and colour! Also I have sponsored a child in Mongolia for the last 5 years (through World Vision), and it has always been my wish to visit her. Never in my wildest dreams did I think it would happen! And all the more special because my mum and I travelled together, mother/daughter bonding at its best!Ā Ā
Ā How to sum this trip up? The team at World Vision Mongolia absolutely welcomed us with open arms. From picking us up at the airport, to taking us to the Zavkhan mountains, to schools where little children sang for us, to visiting hospitals, to having the community play music and dance and welcome us, it was so special. Visiting nomadic families who cooked us lunch in their gers (felt-lined tents), was something I will never forget ā mutton and mareās milk was the traditional meal, and the hospitality of these families to complete strangers was incredible. And the absolutely highlight, meeting my beautiful sponsor child Dolgor and her family! It was a great afternoon, firstly with lunch, followed by the children singing and dancing for us, some basketball (Dolgor and I won!) and a trip to the mountains, with some of Dolgorās best friends coming too! The language barrier didnāt matter, her smiles and excitement were wonderful to see. It was an emotional experience and we were quite teary when it was time to leave.
The landscape was beautiful. We stayed in the province of Zavkhan, located in western Mongolia. Although cold (it was about -20 degrees), the sky was the bluest I have ever seen. Relaxing on a yak trek after a day of horse trekking through the country side with not another person in site, passing camels, cattle, goats with eagles soaring above.. I couldnāt help but have my camera out all the time! Not to mention the colours of the outfits (particularly the traditional Mongolian costume) as well as inside the gers and the extremely cute children all rugged up. A tip if you visit Mongolia ā make sure you have spare memory cards!
Ā On the way back to Australia we also stopped in Beijing for 5 days and visited all the major sites ā the Forbidden City, Great Wall, Summer Palace, Tiananmen Square, Temple of Heaven, Ming Tombs, Hutongs, Lama Temple, Silk Market, Olympics Sites, Panjiayuan Market.. site and sensory overload! As well as shopping up a storm on WĆ”ngfĒjĒng st and much more.
An incredible holiday and again a big thank you to MediaMind for an unforgettable experience that I will treasure always. Thank you!