Son-Kul’s Remedy to Travellers Apathy

The nomadic life experience and jaw-dropping beauty of the 3,000 m. high plateau in Kyrgyzstan, at lake Son-Kul, is the perfect cure to boost travellers wanderlust.

When you travel for a long time, it might happen that everything starts to feel kind of already seen: just another church, just another beach, just another hike… marvel becomes the rarer the more you have seen and done “stuff” all around the world.

Horses galloping towards my Yurt Camp at sunset in Son-Kul

It seems that time has the power to slowly suck the joy out of travel experiences with the risk of making the once enthusiastic wanderer fall into a bothersome traveller apathy.

I met many long term travellers speaking to me in such terms, and I might have lingered on the idea myself in a few occasions: What? Another Buddhist temple? No thanks! 

So, I started to work on remedies, otherwise the whole concept of backpacking the world would lose its deeper meaning, wouldn’t it?

The younger boy of the family where I have stayed for a couple of nights, he looks already a little man 😉

In the absence of a work or any other kind of projects to stick to, my tips for the world traveller against wanderlust apathy are very simple:

1) Look for nature

Nature never ceases to amaze me, be it wildlife in a jungle, a boat ride on a river, or a hard trek on some beautiful mountains. Nature always pays back the efforts one makes to go and discover it with one’s own eyes, nature is a marvel.

The visible stars on a Son-Kul night, and Jupiter right there in the middle 🙂

2) Mingle with locals

The language barrier is often an issue, true. But whenever possible, I do homestays and mingle with locals. I accept invitation for dinner by curious people who want to exchange a couple of words (when it doesn’t seem dodgy of course) or I proactively ask questions about local life.

In other words, I try to get out of my comfort zone, even when communication is complicated. These experiences are always different and have always become a dear memory of my visit to any country.

It was so interesting to observe how this nomadic family interacts with the animals they take care of – horses, cows, paultry… Everybody helps, even the young kids, often running after the herd while riding donkeys. In this photo, their mother gets some milk from a mare. Fermented horse milk is basic in the nomads’ diet and an experience itself to taste.

3) Change your surroundings

I have been for a while at the tropics, I look for mountains. I have spent a long time in dry and desert areas, I look for waterfalls and rivers. I have been volunteering in a farm or remote area, I look for the chaos and cultural life of a big city. Variety is key to avoid boredom, and with the variety of landscapes often comes a variety of cultures.

Moi in the Yurt at Son-Kul. By the end of my trip in Kyrghyzstan, I will have stayed several times in Yurts.

But why am I writing all this in a post dedicated to the Son-Kul lake in Kyrgyzstan?

Because this place is so amazingly jaw-dropping beautiful that would pull anybody out of traveller apathy, and it so happens that it matches all three points above, at least it did for me.

Horses are definitely part of the nomads’ life in Kyrghyzstan and horse riding for a few hours around Son-Kul is an absolute must. Any family can provide horses to ride.

The vastness of the surrounding nature left me absolutely speechless; life in a yurt with the nomads was a memorable experience; and this is definitely a place like I have never seen before, despite a year and a half of wanderings in the whole of Asia.

Kyrgyzstan keeps marvelling, and my thirst for marvel is far from being satisfied.

That’s 500 words, let’s go!


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