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10 April 2022

Paola Giacomini: “Being a woman helped me. I was never afraid in Mongolia”

Paola Giacomini talks about herself at Fieracavalli - another stop-off along a 9,000 km journey with a message of peace

She left Haragorin in the heart of Mongolia on 10 June 2018 with the intention of reaching Krakow following the footprints of the descendants of Genghis Khan. A truly magical adventure for Paola Giacomini, 40 years old from Caprie, in Val di Susa, accustomed to horseback deeds and feats. From Mongolia to Verona. Her journey took in Fieracavalli where she talked about herself, revealing a profile as a woman full of emotions who feels safe wrapped up in the dark, who is not afraid to face the cold when it’s 35° below zero outside and who shares images of her travels on social media.

Nine thousand kilometres together with Il Dritto and Custode, the two horses she acquired a year before leaving, for company. On several occasions, they also turned out to be two guardian angels, indicating the best place to set up camp, the best way to emerge from a forest destroyed by storms or to reach the nearest village to stock up with the food needed to live independently for a week. A canvas strung up among the trees for shelter and horseshoes in the saddlebags.

Giacomini left nothing to chance. “A journey prepared over the course of ten years. After a first visit to Mongolia in 2007, I went back five more times following the suggestions of friendly people who never discouraged me or made me feel alone. And during the journey, being a woman gave me an advantage, I received extra doses of attention,” she said. A worker on the Bardonecchia ski slopes, Giacomini never let herself be intimidated by language barriers. “Before leaving, I attended an evening course to study Russian. Now I speak it almost fluently. In Mongolia, I started conversations in English but nobody understood me so I decided to communicate in Italian and despite the difficulties I had wonderful chats.” Panoramas and faces and much more besides are etched in her mind.

She published her first impressions in the “sellarepartire.it” blog but added: “I haven’t had the chance to update it very often, in favour of photos on social media.” Il Dritto and Custode accompanied her as far as Fieracavalli, earning much more than just 15 minutes of fame. They will now live with her in Val di Susa. She is worried, though: “It is very humid there and they are not used to it. They have thick coats that would make bears envious. They sweat. I hope they can get used to it.” And the future? Back to work on the ski slopes in the short term… but the horizon is has moved “even further eastwards”.

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