Thursday, 15th October, 2015
- Day 44/298
On my return to Ulaanbaatar I am faced with the sobering realisation that I need to work to fund my travels. My web contract is ready and waiting, but getting inspired is another matter altogether.
I’m not sure if it’s the scant hour’s sleep I had last night, but I am feeling super depressed today.
I try to shake it by going for a brisk walk in the sun.
On the way out the door, I bump into my Italian room mate. He is amped after spending an intense time in the Altai Tavan Bogd National Park. Living his dream. Unlike me.
When I get outside, I almost choke on the smog. There’s a weird vibe and a heavy police presence fills the street at the end of the alleyway.
If that’s not bad enough, the entire city seems to disapprove of my decision to wear knee-length shorts on a sunny day. When I get back to the hostel, the landlady looks at my shorts and frowns, as if to say that I’ve brought shame on her establishment.
I feel yuck and lonely. I’d drink tea and binge on Nutella, except that the electric jug has gone missing. Maybe I’ll work from a cafe once the sun and pollution have subsided.
Maybe it’s my shorts, maybe it’s the pollution. I hope it snows soon. A heavy snowfall would be good for the city.
I talk to the owner and upgrade to a separate room so that I can get my work done in peace.
The room has two single beds, a desk, a heater and a window.
The room is cozy, but the desk is not high enough for my lanky legs and the window looks out to an unsealed back street.
Reflecting on the past week, it starts to sink in that I just shelled out over $400 for a mere five day tour. This travel thing is a lot more expensive than I realised. Even not travelling is expensive. I really need to focus on this web contract, so that I can financially keep travelling. And I need to get it finished, so that I can physically keep travelling. I’m aiming for the end of the month, but it can’t come soon enough.
I sit in my room and try to force my head into the work space. OK, how does this web framework work exactly?
But it’s hard to get inspired here. The window frames a boring jumble of brick, wood and metal. A tired two-storey house, some low key construction and half a shipping container.
But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to concentrate. On the contrary, a mixtape of ambient emotion provides as much distraction as my inner procrastinator can handle. A barking dog. The sounds of vehicles and people trundling up and down the rough alleyway. Impatient honking and a demanding voice on a megaphone. Loud domestics in the hall. Screaming grandchildren in the same hall. My own intermittent yawning, sniffing, quiet expletives and lightbulb moments. And the temple tune.