On March 1st, 2010, my friend Walter and I set off on an adventure with my Arabian horse, Sojourner. I rode Soj across America and Walter drove our little truck (with no trailer). The trip began in Los Angeles, California and successfully ended in Bath, New Hampshire 8 months and 14 days later. It was a 3,700 mile ride.

We rode in celebration of family and as an outreach to those dealing with divorce-related depression.

This ride tells a tale of love in many forms - through the people we meet along the way, our connection with the horse, with the land, and with each other.

As this blog goes on it gets more and more in depth with tons of photos and experiences. Snuggle in with a cup of tea and read this like a book. I have switched the blog around so it reads start to finish so you don't have to read backward (except the first entry).

Here is our story...



(photo by Walter, Concho, AZ

...am I riding?

I spoke with a journalist here in St. John’s, AZ this morning, and he asked where this whole idea all came from. He said there is a comfort level that most people live in and that it is not normal, really, to break that. We go to grammar school, many of us go to college or get a job, we buy a house, a car...we kind of have a general map drawn out for us from when we are born of where to go. We are even given a name to answer to.
We live. We die.

I guess that’s just it. We live. We die.

There is an Ani Difranco line that says, "I was blessed with a birth and a death, and I guess I just want some say in between."

I don’t know where desires come from. Does anyone? We all have our individual thoughts, dreams, desires, views, goals, ideas, etc. that just come and form like a painting on canvas. Strokes and time and strokes and time to make a picture.

This ride is something I felt when I was little. I wasn’t influenced yet and didn’t know what was cool or wasn’t cool, I just wanted to ride. I have always looked out the window and watched a horse and I have always loved the land. It’s funny because it’s a mix of wanting to be with this one animal for miles and miles and really study him and know him, alone and quiet with the earth, but another part of it, and equally as strong, are the stories gathered from the people along the way.

I have never desired an escape or to run away. I have had a beautiful upbringing and I have a beautiful family. This ride isn’t about my escape from my tortured life after my parents divorce. That’s not it at all. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

The divorce was so incredibly hard to go through, but my focus is not on the sadness it caused and this ride is not a search for answers. It’s more of a desire to express what I believe to be the most fulfilling part of life, each other. By this I mean our stories, our families, our heartaches and our cured hearts, our desires to connect, our reasons for being here.

The amazing part of the whole divorce is that it was indeed the hardest time in my and probably my siblings and parents life to date, but we got through it. It’s not that I am upset and sad and want to get away and want an answer and there’s got to be more and there’s got to be more and there’s got to be more. That’s just not what I feel inside at all. This isn’t about escape, it’s about appreciation, challenge, desires, people, changes, laughter, love, family, unknowing, dreams, power, and the simple fact that we live and we die and there is a whole lot to do in between and the options are endless and there is no time limit or age limit or one way or stopping point.

It’s about the power that is in family (blood or not, people) that gives you the strength to never give up and it’s about the power of a dream and the importance of following it. Where does it all come from? What is the goal? I don’t really know. A little note didn’t come attached to my dream to sing, my dream to ride, my dream to live the way I live to explain why these things pop into my head. They just came and I followed.

I don’t think my way is the way and everyone should go jump on a horse (although it’s a pretty awesome time), but I do think there needs to be a return to the land, a return to using more of what our bodies have to offer, and a return to evening conversations around the kitchen table after dinner.

It’s really hard for me to put this all into words. I don’t always feel that I’m able to verbally express myself exactly the way I mean. For me, this just feels right. There is something between Soj and I. Walter too. There is a connection that comes from being with each other day in and day out and from depending on one another. We physically exhaust ourselves, but we eat well and breathe fresh air, we’re outside all the time, morning and night, and are both far stronger than when we started.

It’s a lot of work. I’m up very early to feed Soj so he has time to eat before I tack up. Tacking up is a task in itself because his legs have to be wrapped with sheep’s wool so the boots don’t rub, his hooves picked and sometimes filed a bit, then this whole process happens in reverse at the end of the day. I walk a good deal of the day beside Soj (not because it makes any difference to him, but because I like to be down by him and my legs get just as tired in the saddle), sometimes it’s really cold, sometimes it’s really hot, there are dangers and annoyances and we ride into camp or our hosts house sleepy, but really content. Everyday we meet someone amazing and see land, plants, flowers, sunsets and sunrises, bugs, snakes and animals we never would have seen otherwise.

Walter has an equally heavy work load mapping out the road ahead, setting up lunch for me and Soj, filling up water buckets over and over again, setting up the tent and the highline for Soj while I untack, feed, and cook dinner. He is documenting every day through photographs, he packs and unpacks the truck constantly, drives ahead to meet the people we are staying with before Soj and I get there....on and on, etc. etc.
We try to take one day off twice a week. On our days off I update this blog, edit pictures and videos, and work on leather orders. Walter spends the entire day editing pictures and helps me cut the leather hides. We do any grocery shopping we need to do, hand wash our clothes (unless we are hosted and have a washer), clean out the truck, and mail out orders.

I’m working harder probably than I ever have, but it feels amazing and I love every minute. It is hard for me to truly get across the feeling of having Soj with us every second. Walter feels it too. Sojourner is part of everything and he is so connected and calm with us now that he kind of just goes with the flow with whatever is going on so it’s never too stressful to make sure he’s comfortable. If we’re there, he’s okay…and I guess the same goes for us…because he’s there, we’re okay.

There’s not a whole lot of rhyme or reason to a lot of the things we do as humans. I mean, none of it makes a whole lot of sense, but there’s a constant theme of family and love and I really think it’s what we all care most about. I just want to get a little piece of that from people all over this country and put it all together.

It seems to me, that at the heart of every person is someone else.


  1. One of the most appealing aspects of this adventure for me is its uplifting nature. The fact that you are focusing so much attention on joy, happiness, and what connects us. Something as simple as your little peal of delight when the shoe shine man in your video is describing family really fills up the heart.

    I do a lot of vicarious adventuring. Some trips I follow are made by people who want to see places, and those are fun. A lot of these quests are taken by people who are (often unconsciously) trying to fill a void left by difficult relationships. Examples include Krakauer's "Into the Wild", "Into Thin Air", and Kira Salak's "Four Corners". They're riveting stories (I almost literally could not put down "Into Thin Air"), but I wouldn't describe them as uplifting. An adventure that focuses on affirming what is good and on following dreams is a delight.

    Our connections to the earth, and time spent in quiet contemplation or gentle conversation with others are sorely tested these days. We're connected all kinds of ways, but at wicked fast speeds with so much volume (numbers of e-mails, text messages, web pages, etc.) that we sort of skim across the surface like a skipped rock. You're helping us see what it's like to slow down and let the rock settle, both with your connection to Soj and to Walter and other people. It's pretty cool!

    Thanks as always.
    Travel Safe!

  2. Linny,

    That was absolutely beautiful and I love the last line. You have a wonderful gift of sharing your insights and experiences.

    I admire you daily (Soj and Walter too) for the amount of dedication it takes to prepare and ride every day, and then still have the energy to genuinely engage with others and the commitment to share it with us in words and photographs.

    I've never followed anything before, like actors, athletes, bands- anything. I have to admit I feel a little like a junky of sorts- checking in on you guys daily, and looking forward to any new posts or photos.

    Thanks so much!

  3. Thank you so much for these beautiful comments. They made me really happy. :) I have to get on the road now. I'm really behind, but these great comments will give me a little boost of energy to get where I need to go today!!!
    Love, Lin

  4. great insights as always, Linny. Glad you guys are doing well through the snow and cold! I'm off to the trailhead with my Foxtrotter to see how many miles my leg can handle (broke it last November), I will be thinking of you as I have my peaceful time in the saddle!

  5. In the morning, instead of turning on the news or reading the paper, I sit down & read what you have to say. I feel that you can teach me more & remind me of the kind of life I love to live.
    I'm a friend of Sam's (as in your cousin =) I think I may have told you that before) but anyways, just wanted to let you know, in case you didnt, shes in Mexico right now on a lil vacay =) And having a amazing time I'm sure!
    Hugs n Love to all...

  6. Hi Linny,
    I know you are on the trail now and will not get this message for a while but thought I'd post it before I forget.... it's an almost senior thing.
    While in the bank the other day, a friend, Ed, was standing next to me, admiring your purse that I (un)obtrusively placed in front of his face. First I need to introduce Ed O'Brian (a good Irish lad). Ed migrated to Mendocino back in the 60's, along with all the other artists, hippies and back to the land young people. He opened up a leather shop, Compass Rose, and proceeded to supply all the paraphernalia that any self respecting hippie may require; pipe holders, belts, guitar straps, hats, vests, purses, even shirts and leggings. He is a true artist in his field and after 40 years, you can still find him with his pony tail pulled behind his head, either in his shop or responding to fire calls as a volunteer fireman.
    Back to the bank; Ed's eyes light up when he sees the purse you made me.
    "Ed, take a look at this purse. Kinda takes you back in time, eh? I think I have one of your old purses in my attic. You know the ones you made with the whale clasp during the "Whale Wars" with Japan? Look at this, here's the church steeple and the buildings on Main St."
    "This is amazing. Your friend is really talented. Where did she get the purse?"
    "She made it."
    "How long ago?"
    "Well, this was a Christmas present, so I suppose sometime in November or December."
    "You mean this year? No one does this kind of quality work anymore. I thought she found an old purse and painted it. When she comes back to Mendocino, I want to meet her. This is really beautiful."
    Of course, I then had to tell him all about your cross country adventure. He was quite intrigued and asked for your blog site. I think you have another convert to the cause. Most people who hear what you are doing are fascinated and ask for your site. I should make up some cards to pass out. Would save me a lot of time looking for a piece of paper and pen.
    So as you can see, I'm paving the road for your return to California. You now have a place to live, an attic to write your book and a shop to make leather magic. Soj will have lots of pasture, a barn to escape the rain and all the apples he can eat. I'll keep working out the details until you can't say no.
    As always, you have my heart and love.

  7. It is a very remote area!! We have recieved only one phone call since Saturday morning, and just a few text messages. Today Linny rides to a very comfortable place for her, Walter, and Soj to rest. She will have a prvate room AND Internet service, so there will be Blog updates soon!!

  8. Food for thought -- on Why You Ride...

    On a headstone I saw it said

    Mary Oliver
    March 23, 1900- June 1, 1999

    Just remember that it's not the beginning and end date that matters, it's what we do with the "dash (-)" inbetween.

    Ride on cowgirl!