I often pondered this question whilst listening to Jose Gozales – Stay Alive whilst in transit through South America. The line that resonated with me was “Do whatever just to stay alive”.
The last time I felt truly alive was actually today. It was our first day in Patagonia and after a morning of touring a cave, we arrived at our accommodation, a farmland in front of fjords and snow-capped mountains. It was beautifully remote and only accessible by boat or private dirt road.
After a delicious lunch of an assortment of barbecued meats, we put on our Velcro leather riding gaiters, helmet and hopped onto a horse. Mine was chestnut coloured. She was plump, but really quick and she always wanted to be leader of the pack.
I’ve been horse riding three times prior but this experience was completely different. We went through rough forested terrain with tall grass, thick prickly bushes and lichen covered low hanging trees. It was difficult to navigate the horse through this wild and hilly landscape and often I would whack into branches as I was so high up on the horse. The ground was wet and muddy from rain and our horses kept slipping, one horse even fell over.
Despite the stunning backdrop, my highlight was the riding. It was the first time I’ve ridden a horse at a high speed. Usually the horses are quite tame and walk/trot the whole trail, but my horse was to have none of that. At one point it was lagging a bit behind the group so I gave my horse a gentle kick and she ran in full bolt. It was exhilarating and at times terrifying. Being such a large worker horse, it was a lot easier to ride her and I was able to move my body in coordination with her gallops. I egged her on to keep running and felt such elation as we bounded through the terrain.
I remember the cold blasts of wind on my face, the sound of thudding as my horse sprinted downhill with bare hooves through the mud and grass and my heart leaping from my chest with each gallop. I was cold, wet and dirty, but I felt transcendent and free. I have never felt more alive than riding that horse today.
So I ask, do you remember the last time you felt alive?
Photo: Taken at our farm stay in Patagonia, unfortunately didn’t get any photos whilst riding