When twenty-two-year-old Maya Treuheit heard her dad was going on an adventure, she asked to go along.
At the end of May, the day after she finishes classes, they’ll leave British Columbia (BC) for Mongolia and the Gobi Discovery Tour. Maya will be in a dune buggy, her dad on a motorcycle.
“I adore both of my parents more than anything in the world. It didn’t even matter where he was going. It was the experience with my ‘adventure buddy’ I wanted.”
Growing up, Maya and her parents did a lot of family camping and road trips. Two years ago she and her dad back-packed for a week on the West Coast Trail in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Seventy-five rigorous kilometers follow ancient paths used by First Nations for trade and travel.
Maya’s finishing her third year of a four-year program in Women and Gender studies at Quest University, a private university in Squamish, BC.
“The program at Quest allowed me the freedom to explore all subject areas before having to decide what it is I am passionate about. And it’s easier, to a degree, to change your mind than it might be at a different university.
“I loved the location and the idea of not having to attend huge lecture halls where I’d just become another number on a class list. I wanted to actively participate in my education and learn to think critically. I loved the freedom to design my own major and thesis project.”
Maya intends to travel to Mongolia with an open mind. She’s so busy with her studies, it’s not hard to avoid setting up too many expectations. She did take the time to watch Eagle Huntress, about a young girl who learns to become an eagle hunter. Maya, who’s more comfortable around nature than in the city, “completely fell in love with the landscape, mountains, and the nomadic element.”
Knowing much of this trip was going to be in a lot of isolated areas was an attraction. She’s looking forward to the scenery and the quiet, except for the sound of motorcycles and dune buggies. She enjoys long stretches of time not speaking, writing out her thoughts in silence as a way to work through them.
In spite of trying not to set up expectations, there are a few things she’s looking forward to.
She’s looking forward to meeting the other people on the trip. “You get an eclectic bunch of people on excursions like this.
“Spending quality time with my dad, and seeing him in his element is an opportunity I don’t get very often.
“It will be really exciting to experience this trip as it’s happening.”
“Traveling so far away from home makes me hesitant. It’s so far and different, in the healthy way that one is when you’re that far away.
“I want to make sure I’m being as respectful in a place that is not my home.
“I don’t eat meat, I don’t handle dairy or gluten, but Rene has assured me that won’t be a problem.
“As much as I love adventure and travel, I’m also a homebody. Anything out of my comfort zone, in elements I can’t control and predict, makes me a little uncomfortable.
The expectations Maya has set up are more personal.
“Meeting and spending long stretches of time with people may be uneasy. I expect to learn a lot about myself in that respect and how to interact with other people I don’t know.
“I’m really interested to see the evolution of myself from before to after the trip. It will become an integral part of who I am becoming and can only strengthen me.
“I’m also very excited to meet the others on the trip. I feel like I’m the reverse child, turning into the child wanting to meet the friends of her parents.
Maya plans to journal about the trip, keeping track of how she’s feeling as she goes. “I know it’s easy to misrepresent what’s actually going on so I’m trying very hard not to do that. I don’t want to have unrealistic expectations or sour anything.”
Take good notes Maya, because we can’t wait to talk to you when you come back. Enjoy! It’s going to be an amazing trip!
Photo Credits: Maya Treuheit