Horsing around the World, Literally: A how-to guide

What if you could quit your job and work as a riding instructor in St. Maarten or a horseback safari guide in Africa? Rebecca Berry makes these possibilities seem WAY too feasible.

From Rebecca:

Unless you are Olympic bound, which few of us are, or just revoltingly rich, which again I doubt few of us are, the dream of being able to ride in different countries is just that–a dream. But don’t despair because there is a way and it is actually cheaper to travel with horses, than without. And, yes, I used the words cheaper and horses in the same sentence. However, there is a catch or two, or three, but they are little and I am almost positive most people will not have a problem with any of them. The first catch is that you will not be taking your own horse with you on this trip. The second is that you must be willing to work hard, and the third is to have an open mind–and I mean open.

Admittedly, I am not an actual expert on this subject, but I have traveled a fair amount and almost every trip has involved horses in some way. I have been to Germany, supporting a friend while she purchased a horse. In St. Maarten, I taught a few riding lessons each morning in exchange for a free stay at a resort and the use of a car. In Zambia, I worked on a horse safari for three months in the Kafue National Park. In Kenya I could be found teaching riding lessons in exchange for room and board for another three months, and in England I helped a family in need that happened to own event horses. All that I know is all that I have learned.

Putting the horses to bed in their lion-proof barn in Zambia.

5 things you need to know to help you get there. Wherever there is.

1. Having the absolute desire to want to go: It does not matter whether you are leaving for an Eat, Pray, Love reason or merely escaping the tedium of life, it only matters that come hell or high water you are going. This will help you find jobs and give you courage.

2. Having confidence: This does not mean that you have to think you are skinny and pretty before you leave; it means you have to have enough of a backbone to get it done. Third world countries tend to be a little different then North America, and it is probably best not to be found cowering in a corner.

3. Ready to take a risk: The people that said they would pick you up from such and such an airport may in fact forget. Have a plan B and understand that you will get it sorted.

4. Desire for adventure: Keep an open mind and relish every moment. You may find yourself living in a tent with a plethora of killer animals lurking in the dark. Remember that you are not totally alone and as everyone else is still alive–I dare say you will remain that way as well.

5. Have the ability to keep your mouth shut and your ears open: The way people work with their horses will vary greatly from how you do it at home. You need not insult anybody when you are five hours away from the nearest airport.

Teaching in the Kenyan bush.

Frequently asked questions:

 1. How did you find the jobs? Trolling the internet, and having friends that happen to have friends that know someone.

2. Weren’t you scared? I was scared of all the animals in Africa, yes, but in general I wasn’t scared at all.

3. Why did you go alone? My mom always told me it is better to travel alone because you meet more people that way.

4. Why did you want to go? I will shamefully admit my reason was more of an Eat, Pray, Love type of reason.

5. Why did you want to work when you traveled? I like to work and travel at the same time because it gives a more intimate feel for the place. I befriend locals and for a short period of time almost feel like one myself. Also, I am very cheap.

6. How much did it cost you? Mostly just the airfare, but it is great to have some spending money as well.

Watching the elephants in the distance.

Thank you so much, Rebecca for filling me with the urge to quit my job and move to Africa. If I’m still here tomorrow, though, you can look forward to “Horsing Around the World, v. 2.o” in which Rebecca recounts her African adventure.

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