The theme of this week’s photo challenge is being optimistic. What could be more optimistic than youth, whether that is a young girl from Mongolia, or the young camel that she cares for? Seeing young people who are willing to take a risk (by sharing their day with a foreigner), nurturing (she was so proud to show off her camel!) and connected to nature has to give you hope for the future! It is common to stay with families when you travel around rural Mongolia. Many families are always excited to have guests, though a handful have done it so many times that they seem a bit blasé. One of the highlights of my trip in Mongolia was spending a day with this particular family, who had no experience with tourists before they met us. Their motorcycle broke down at the side of the road, and our driver stopped to help them. To repay us for our time (and our driver’s labour) they invited us to their nearby home to use their cooking facilities, meet their children and see their animals. It was the most authentic, and most memorable, part of my seven-week trip last summer.