I write from my new bedroom at a horse riding lodge in Malaysia, which will be my home for the next four months. It’s been a crazy few weeks of travelling since I last wrote, and I can’t wait to share all my stories and pictures. In the meantime, I thought I’d tell you a little bit about the genesis of my current adventure.
After resigning from my job, I took some time off to think about and plan where I wanted to travel and what I wanted to do with the time I had created for myself. I went through a variety of phases, but for a significant period I thought it would be a good idea to obtain a qualification that would allow me to teach English; a sure fire way of securing work abroad. After completing a TEFL course, I started applying for jobs, mostly in China, and got some preliminary offers from across South East Asia, and even some in Europe. I expected I would be delighted that my plans were coming together at last, but instead I felt unsettled and uninspired. Suddenly my long awaited adventure felt like a stressful challenge, and I would have to commit myself to a new year long challenge. I was filled with dread.
In a fit of desperation I put my mind and my Googling fingers to the task of coming up with another way to sustain my travels abroad, and fast. Within a few days I was corresponding with a horse riding resort in Malaysia about the possibility of my employment as a working rider at the resort, and the very day that I left South Africa for three weeks of backpacking in Tanzania, I booked my flight to Singapore.
And so here I am, at a fairly small, niche holiday resort in Malaysia with about 30 hotel rooms and as many horses. My job, while I’m here, is to exercise the horses and give riding lessons to the guests. Having grown up in a riding school, and having spent most of my life around horses, both as a rider and as the daughter of an instructor, I feel very at home at a stable yard, but it’s amazing how starkly different it is from the corporate space I found myself in last year. It’s almost like my professional career and my riding activities occupy completely separate worlds. It’s nice to be living in this one for a little while again, and hopefully one day I will manage to get them to coincide.
Here I am at the Junior South African Championships at the age of 18 on a horse called Spring Derby