“You haven’t been to nowhere until you’ve been to Mongolia”

I’ve wanted to visit Mongolia ever since I first read Rolf Potts’ dispatch from the land of Genghis Khan that he wrote for Salon back in 1999. Almost ten years later, Tim Wu, another of my favorite travel writers, is making me fall in love with Mongolia all over again. He’s already posted three dispatches for Slate Magazine, and here are a couple of the highlights so far:

“More than anything in travel, I love the freedom to make my own mistakes, which you might also call independence. We soon figured out what that means in Mongolia: your own jeep and a translator. That, plus the magic formula: the desire to go where no one else goes.”

“After some time driving around the Mongolian countryside, I hit upon a great way to make new friends. It was simple: Draw a line in the dirt, paw the earth a bit, and wrestle to the first fall. Call me primitive, but there’s something about fighting in the dirt that seems to foster a certain kind of companionship.”

“Mongolian men in the countryside spend their time riding horses, killing animals, and breaking firewood. They tend to hold their face in a fixed grimace. At times, it is like a country of Daniel Craig impersonators. Along with parts of Latin America, it’s probably the most macho place I’ve ever been. And so, my Asian brothers, if you ever want to know what the extremes of Eastern manhood look like, forget about Jet Li or even Bruce Lee. It’s Mongolia where Asia gets tough.”

Here’s part 1 of the series. Part 2. Part 3. You’re bored– go read it.