When EL was first created, it was just Turuu and Jess as a driver and guide. It was easier then as it meant we could micromanage. But we wanted to put more back into Mongolia. We did not want to outsource the logistics of our trips to drivers and guides working the tourism circuit. Instead, we have worked on nurturing our own local operations and provide long-term training, support and employment opportunities to those that want the opportunity to aim to be the best they can be thus supporting them in their aim. This has led to the formation of our small but great team.
We are not an ever-
Mongolia is our home and we genuinely know and love the country and are willing and eager to learn, develop and strengthen based on feedback from our guests and from all we work with.
We know each of our drivers and their families personally. They are not modern city men, they are more of the traditional ‘strong & silent’ type but if you take the time to get to know them, you’ll see why we employ them. As well as handling the challenges of the Mongolian roads and making delicious Mongolian barbecues, they are supremely talented at the Mongolian skill of ‘mongolchlokh’ – improvising the Mongol way. It’s a joy to watch. They are great, all-round men and extremely proud of their country. We are immensely proud to know them.
When we started working in western Mongolia, we drove the 1700km from Ulaanbaatar multiple times to go and meet and to build up a friendship with local Kazakh families that were interested in working in partnership with us. One such family was Jako and Baurjan – a young couple with four young children who we were keen to support and who have become our Kazakh fixers. Their home in Ulgii is always warmly open to all our EL guests and to the EL team.
Our female Mongolian trip assistants are dynamic women who are searching for an opportunity to learn and develop. Some are starting out on their career road and therefore the future of Mongolia. Some of them are teachers and lecturers and they’re inspiring the future of Mongolia. Most are mums and we give them as much flexibility and support as we can. They sincerely love their home country, love their job and genuinely care about our guests.
Jess and Turuu met when Jess arrived into Mongolia in 2006 as a tour leader for a UK based adventure tour company. On the creation of Eternal Landscapes, with little business history or experience, we have slowly bootstrapped our way up. We kept our day jobs. We ate ramen noodles. Jess’ base in Ulaanbaatar was a US$ 6 per night dorm bed in a room with five other people. Jess has learnt how to blog. Turuu has learnt the fine art of small talk and together, we have slowly built Eternal Landscapes.