Gobi Gua Undur was created between the partnership of Jess of Eternal Landscapes Mongolia and Turuu – her Mongolian business partner.
Gobi Gua Undur is their 100% Mongolian company – physically and culturall – with the emphasis on promoting a greater travel approach to benefit everyone involved, leading to a more positive and personal style of experience for all concerned. As a business working in tourism we have a responsibility to help combat problems including those created by tourism itself. We believe that our philosophy helps create positive social change in Mongolia.
We are not an ever-expanding group of travel professionals. Just ordinary people trying our best to do something we love. We are a small team of Mongolian drivers (‘The Boys’ including Turuu) and trip assistants (‘The Girls’) working with a network of rural families who are genuine friends of ours.
Mongolia has made a home in my heart for the last 13 years and although I’m not a natural business woman, my love of Mongolia is genuine and so is my belief in EL.
Turuu is my business partner. He has an ‘old soul’ and a deep respect for Mongolia as well as a natural talent for driving, mechanics and improvisation. But, he also has a natural talent for heading a small team. Admittedly, he is at his happiest when faced with the freedom of the open road but he is also remarkably adept at being the second in command via mobile phone from a windswept campsite somewhere in Mongolia!
The EL Drivers
I know each of our EL drivers personally. They are not necessarily modern city men – they are of the traditional ‘strong and silent’ type but if you take the time to get to know them, you’ll see why I 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 what they do best – improvisation.
Yes, their English is limited but their role is to handle the Mongolian roads and not to converse fluently in a multitude of languages. They are great, all-around men. I am immensely proud to know them.
Onroo cares deeply about the EL team, about EL, about his Furgon and about the success of his tours. He spent the last few years living and working in Sweden but returned to his homeland. One of his favourite words is ‘catastrophe’ (said in a Swedish accent!).
Ganba is a gentle soul, a font of all wisdom and knowledge and our very own kind giant. His Furgon is his ‘home away from home’ and he always makes sure you offer the warmth of Mongolian hospitality even when on the bumpiest road.
Although Nymaa’s English is limited, just through his presence, he helps to enhance our guests’ experience of Mongolia. He is observant and attentive – looking out for wildlife, searching out the best picnic spots. My favourite words by Nymaa are ‘don’t you worry Boss.’
We employ Sandag for his vast experience and knowledge and we love him for his loyalty. He used to work as a driver for a mayor and as a result will always have the cleanest Furgon in town!
Bayaraa is never far from his collection of hats – his selection of berets are my particular favourite. He is affectionate and thoughtful as well as being EL’s own comic (his impression of a Chinese traffic policeman is much loved by me) with a weakness for karaoke.
The old traditions of rural Mongolia run deep with Hasaa. He is a delightfully kind man with a wicked grin and a stunning singing voice that stops you in your tracks. His hometown is in the middle Gobi and when passing through he just loves to show off his new young family to whom he is devoted.
We love him for his brilliant sense of humour and the size of his smile. In his own unique style and hybrid Mongolian – English language he will make sure your stay in Mongolia is warm and welcoming.
Baatar is part of our Erdenedalai family – our ‘flexible’ driver – covering transfers, whether they are from the airport to your hotel or further afield. His English is limited but he loves being part of any EL experience.
Lkhagva is our transfer and city driver. He’ll be there, waiting for you with his big smile and his tentative English. No job is too big or too small and although young, he’s a dedicated member of the EL family.
EL’s Trip Assistants and Office Staff (x2!)
My ‘girls’ are dynamic young women who are searching for an opportunity to train and develop –
I am lucky enough to be in a position to run my own business and, as a female, it is important to me to use my skills and influence to improve the prospects for other women. Part of my business philosophy is to provide training and development opportunities to Mongolian women.
However, we don’t source the best guides that work the tourism circuit and that already have guaranteed work with other companies. Instead, we provide opportunities to those that other companies won’t take as they don’t fit the stereotype or have the professional qualifications.
If you want to discuss Mongolia’s economic policy then we’re probably not for you. But, if you want to spend time with someone who sincerely loves their home country, loves their job and genuinely care about you as our guests then we are for you.
Selenge works full-time at the International School of Ulaanbataar but in the summer holiday months she leads one or two of our trips. We spend many happy hours eating toast, drinking tea and discussing Mongolia together.
Tuya is a teacher. Outside of school term she is a loyal and hardworking member of our team. Her focus in life is to be a role model – for her young family, for her school children and for the younger less experienced members of the Eternal Landscapes family as well.
A mum of two, Tomoko is a secondary school teacher. Her first major was in tourism and by working or EL she combines her two passions – children’s development and tourism. She is driven by her love of connecting others with the country she is so proud of.
Odnoo is a qualified English teacher – also from Erdenedalai where she lives with her young son. She works in tourism is so that she can develop her skills and language and pass this new knowledge on to her young students.
Enkhee’s genuine respect and love for rural Mongolia is an essential ingredient in her work with EL. She is a new mum and has taken on a new position we have created for her as office manager.
Zumbee is what the philosophy of EL is all about. She is studying to be a GP but is keen to work in tourism to help improve her life skills and prospects when she graduates. Zumbee can be a little quiet to begin with but find a little quiet time and sit down with her. She is a truly delightful young woman.
Pujee is from Khovd Province in western Mongolia. She is a teacher in Ulaanbaatar but grew up in the countryside with her grandmother until she was 12 and although young, has a grounding in Mongolia’s traditional way of life.
It’s possible you’ll never actually get to meet Mygaa but she’s an essential cog in the wheel of Eternal Landscapes. Always there behind the scenes – sorting the tour funds and the arrival and departure transfers. She deserves to be on this page as she’s an integral part of my team.
From the most eastern province of Mongolia, Mishka has been teaching English for over 15 years. She likes to work in tourism because it helps to improve her language skills to pass on to her students. And for the life experience and adventures that it provides. As she says ‘so thanks a lot dear Jess.’
Jako is our Kazakh fixer – together with her husband Baurjan. She’s been a part of the EL family for many years and we love her for her loyalty, kindness and her big heart. They both have a fantastic working relationship with the Kazakh families we work with.
Amaraa is originally from Bayankhongor Province – she is a dedicated mother of three and a qualified Mongolian and English teacher now based in UB. She is driven by her goal for her children to become well-educated and warm-hearted people.
Bayaraa was born in Tov Aimag – born and raised in the countryside with a deep love of horses. One reason I love having Bayaraa on the EL team is her dedication not just to her work as a trip assistant but her dedication to the whole ethos of EL – our people, work and philosophy.