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...
"I want to be more like him", I said to Walter as we sat together on the bed upstairs in the house we had just entered owned by the people we had just met.
We had knocked on the door about 15 minutes earlier and Mr. Wimberg answered with a big smile.
"Hi!" he said. "Oh the dog. Get back, Charlie." He cheerfully struggled to hold back the big chocolate lab that was excitedly trying to come and greet us.
Walter put his hand out, "Hi, I'm Walter."
Mr. Wimberg happily took his hand and said, "Hi! I'm Jim."
It didn't seem as if Jim knew exactly why we were there though...
"Did Christian call you today?", Walter asked.
"No", Jim said, his smile never fading.
"Do you know who we are?", I asked with an "oh no, I'm so sorry we're barging in on you" face.
"No", he said, "but that's okay!"
"Oh!", I said, "Well, I'm riding my horse across the country from California and we're stopping in this town for the night and..."
"What!? Really? You've ridden your horse all the way here??! Come on in! Come on in!", he said.
What had happened is we had run in to Mr. Wimberg's son, Christian, by coincidence in Chester yesterday. Walter and I had gone to a cafe in town and Christian happened to walk by the window we were sitting on the other side of.
"Wait, that's Christian." Walter said looking out the window.
He was just telling me about Christian and how he had contacted him to see if he knew anyone in the area that we could stay with. Christian and Walter had worked together years back when Walter lived in Canaan, NH. Minutes later, lo and behold, Christian walked by.
Christian came inside for a bit to visit and told us he had made some phone calls for us and had a place set up for the horse. We could stay just a couple houses down at his parents' house.
The thing is, Christian had told his mom and his mom forgot to tell his dad so when we went to the door, Mr. Wimberg didn't know who we were!
"You know", he said, "I bet he told his mother. She probably forgot to tell me, that's all. She'll be home soon."
We chatted for a bit and then his wife, Ginger, walked in with energy beaming out of her.
She looked at us with the same smile her husband had given us at the door.
"Hi", I said (a little nervous that she wouldn't know who we were either), "Do you know who we are?"
"Oh! Ha ha ha ha!! Yes! Yes, I know! Ha ha ha ha ha! I forgot to tell you! I'm sorry!" She said this as she leaned in and shook her husband playfully. "I had written it down and thought to myself 'I'll have to tell Jim about this', but I forgot!"
Right away, she took us upstairs with all of the love and energy of a child on Christmas morning and had us pick a room to sleep in tonight. She also told us to stay as long as we wanted and that Jim would make breakfast in the morning.
"We had a man show up once and he was just going to stay a night and he ended up staying a year! And it was wonderful!!", she said.
After about 15 minutes of being with the lovely couple they headed out to take their dog for a walk.
"We'll be back in about an hour! Help yourselves to anything!"
And so here we are filled with the energy only another human being can infuse in a couple's home we just met. Arabian Horse World Magazine so simply and perfectly wrote in one of their articles about this ride, "Open roads, open hearts". That's exactly what this ride has been about-the open road and the open hearts-together the two can take you anywhere you want to go. (Along with a fit and willing Arabian horse!)
I said I wanted to be more like him because he answered the door and he never once had the, "Yes, who are you? Can I help you? What do you need?" look. He was open, happy, content, willing, and without question. That is the lesson of this ride. That is the way to be. Fearless.