Best Job Ever: Living With Mongolian Nomads

Chris Bashinelli Mongolian wrestling

What’s it like to live among Mongolian nomads when you’ve spent most of your life in New York City? As host of the National Geographic Channel show Bridge the Gap: Mongolia, Chris Bashinelli in on a quest to find out. During his one-month, thousand-mile journey across Mongolia, the National Geographic grantee hoped to learn how nomadic culture is adapting to an ever changing and modernizing world. “Mongolia is one of the oldest, if not the older, nomadic cultures on Earth. The idea of a nomad is changing by the minute and might be completely different in ten or twenty years from now, if it even still exists,” he says.

Bashinelli also sought to immerse himself in a culture he believed to be fiercely community-oriented, as he sees his own culture becoming more and more plugged-in, which makes it easier to isolate oneself inside what he calls a “technology bubble.” Bashinelli elaborates: “Technology has done wonders for us, but it’s a double-edged sword. It is very easy for us to become completely absorbed in our own world. The average human being looks at their phone more than a 150 times a day. It’s easy to be disconnected from other human beings. I had this idea that in Mongolia, that just in the way that society is structured, it brings out some really wonderful qualities in the human spirit. People are, in a way, forced to work together to survive.”

Upon his arrival in Mongolia, Bashinelli’s hosts spared no time introducing him to the arduous and physical work that a nomadic lifestyle necessitates, leaving Bashinelli with little doubt that he’s hardly cut out for nomadic living in the long term. But just what constitutes difficult work is all a matter of perspective, as Bashinelli soon realized.

“A moment that stuck out to me very strongly —> Read More