Do you struggle to return to domestic life after such an epic adventure?
Yes, I think the adjustment to life in Australia has definitely been harder than learning to ride a horse and learning about cultures during the journey. For me, the way through that has been to work out what lessons I learned from the experience can be applied here in Australia. Doing presentations, writing the book, making the documentary film have all been ways in which I have made those experiences meaningful to others, but also made sense of them myself.
These days I find that I can shift from life here in Australia, to life in Mongolia and adventure in the same way that a bilingual person shifts from language to language - with a lot of practice!
How do you manage to live between two worlds - one as an adventurer in remote parts of the world, and the flip side living in Australia and tour guiding for westerners?
I have answered some of your question in the above response from Lauren. However, I think there is something interesting to add. During my journey, there were often the dual experiences of being on the one hand isolated in wild terrain, but then also inundated with people when I stayed with families in villages or nomad communities. When I guide trips for people in remote Mongolia these days, those experiences are social trips, kind of like long format storytelling. My personal adventuring is more like going back out to seek my own fresh and new experiences in isolation. So if you can see what I am getting at - I have become adjusted to a pattern of moving between roles and moving between isolation, and engagement with people. When I guide a trip, I don't seek or expect solitude of isolation, and I find the engagement very rewarding, and when I am out on my own adventures, I don't expect engagement, and I thrive in isolation.
How did Tim treat his inner voice/demons when times got tough?
I have always found that the inner voice/demons are worst when I am stewing on something but not being proactive about moving forward. Even on the worst mornings of riding through the starving steppe in Kazakhstan when it was -40, it felt so much better to be up and facing the world, taking hoofsteps forwards, rather than lying in my tent and filled with thoughts of uncertainty. In COVID times now, I look for what things that are under my control, things that I can be pro-active with. I find that this calms the nerves and quietens the inner demons.
Great storytelling. Are your adventures primarily motivated to share with others (books/films), or more personal?
This is an interesting question. I have loved writing since I was eleven or twelve years old. When I discovered a passion for adventure in my late teens, I was able to marry up both passions. For me writing (and later filming and speaking) has always been joined at the hip with adventure. I write primarily for myself, and the trips are mostly personal and driven by curiosity. The first draft of a book is for me a process of externalising and analysing my thoughts and feelings, and distilling the things I learned. Drafts from there on are for sharing with others. I am lucky that I have been able to make a career from writing and film and adventure, but I would still do this even if it were not for storytelling to the masses.