Some might disagree, but I think I have the world’s best job. I get to travel to the most attractive places on the planet…sample new cultures…and meet new people with radically different lifestyles to my own—and find common ground with them.
During my former career with the CIA, I worked in countries like Iran, the Congo, France and Germany. But when I retired some 42 years ago, I wanted to do something that would allow me to continue to travel. I have loved horses ever since I first started riding in early childhood and I wanted to do something that would incorporate these two great passions in my life. But how could I combine horse riding and travel into a viable business?
Then it hit me…horseback riding tours.
So, I began taking riders at my ranch in Wyoming. Next, I branched out into taking ranch guests on winter horse safaris in Kenya where my wife was raised. Today, we sell riding vacations in 30 countries.
Of course, this wasn’t just a way of making money. My business has given me the opportunity to do over a hundred fascinating tours. I’ve galloped with the zebra in Kenya’s Masai country…rode from palace to palace in Rajasthan…climbed from Chile to Argentina on horseback…and crossed the sand dunes on the edges of the Sahara.
On horseback, one has the time to travel in depth in the old sense of the word. It’s different from just sweeping by in a tourist bus for a superficial view little better than TV. Also, some of the places we go can only be reached on horseback or on foot so they are completely out of bounds for your average tourist. I’ve visited villages in Rajasthan where the young children had never seen Europeans before.
Horse travel is perfect for those with a feel for history. I find a special appeal in clattering across a draw bridge over a moat in France to enter a castle courtyard as did the knights of old. A tourist in a bus could hardly get the same feel for the past as a rider does.
This is a small, niche business but for me and my family the market is big enough for us to get a good income. It’s the lifestyle that comes with it which really counts. We eat well, we drink well, we associate with great people, we travel frequently and we take good care of our horses.
I’m a strong believer in the idea that travel broadens the mind. I love the saying from our home-grown Marc Twain, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow mindedness.” It hits the nail so beautifully on the head. But you have to really travel…and not by faceless tourist bus.
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