Lots and lots of people are starting to get into the nomadic lifestyle, we all want to explore the world, its different cultures, landscapes and adventures! Office jobs are not in high demand anymore, we want to be free, we want to make enough money to make ends meet, but not in an office! In this blog I will tell you a little bit about how I got where I am today and how I started Hooves Around The World. As “How do I get a job like yours?!” is probably the question I get asked most, let me tell you.
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When I was still in high school, my friends and I quite often went on city trips, to the Dutch islands and randomly taking the train to places just to see what’s out there. My first big trip however, was as an exchange student to China when I was 16 years old. It was a great experience and I wanted more! I finished high school a year later and took a gap year (or 4…) to travel through Africa. I was on a very tight budget but had lots of time, so I hitchhiked, traveled by bus or local taxi, stayed in hostels in far away villages, and made best friends with some of the locals I met and stayed with on the way. I loved this authentic way of traveling, I almost never saw another tourist, and learnt a lot about the culture and people of each of the countries I visited. In between travels I worked in South Africa, which I will tell you more about below! I am in love with Africa, her people and her nature and will keep returning for the rest of my life. However, I still honestly had not seen anything in Europe. After a few years had passed traveling in Africa, I had managed to save up some money so that I had a bigger budget for traveling in Europe. Here, a friend and I did several road trips across the continent, we loved it!
Also read: Horse riding in France during our road trip!
Horse and work experience for me go hand in hand, as I’ve almost exclusively worked with horses since I got my first job. First, let me tell you a little bit about how I managed to expand my budget to travel Europe. I can imagine loads of you are really wanting to get out there and travel, but your budget doesn’t allow it yet. I do highly recommend picking a cheap country or continent for your first trip abroad as it makes such a big difference to visit Jakarta or Paris… What I did to save up money was to work loads whenever I was in the Netherlands, and then go back to South Africa where cost of living is very low. This allowed me to save up most of the money I earned in the Netherlands. This is to say the least a privilege, as we were not all born in countries such as the Netherlands. So, you can also take your skills to the internet! There are incredible amounts of websites where you can find remote work. If you are fluent in two languages, you can be a translator, if you love to scroll through instagram, you can apply to be a social media manager. Whatever your talent, skills or interests are, you can apply for online and remote jobs. Try to save as much money as you can for a flight to a country with a low cost of living so you can save more and travel around!
I personally worked at lots of stables and did vast amounts of mucking out for the last 10 years, both in the Netherlands and in South Africa. I also worked in supermarkets, housekeeping, restaurants and bars and did seasonal berry picking. I did whatever helped me to pursue my passion of horses and travel. My favourite jobs were of course the horse related ones, those would always be my main job and the others would be side jobs with less hours. Like I said, I mucked out stables, but after gaining more experience I managed livery yards with over 50 horses, a Quarter Horse stud and a horse farm with over 100 horses. These were all incredible experiences that taught me a lot and allowed me to grow and learn more about horses and riding.
For as long as I can remember, I know how to ride a horse. I for the life of me cannot remember getting on a horse and not knowing what to do, even when I was very little. I grew up in the countryside and we had all sorts of animals around. Dogs, cats, lots of cattle, and quite a few horses. I grew up riding a little black Shetland mare around the fields, and she taught me how to sit a buck very well. After the little Shetland, I rode at a riding school for a little bit and eventually convinced my parents that I needed a pony called Branca. She was a menace to society, a big pony at 14.1 hands, and a Welsh x Haflinger cross. The perfect pony for a 9 year old girl that knows how to stay on very well, but doesn’t truly know how to ride at all. She taught me most of what I know and we actually made it quite far in dressage. I think she must have bucked me off over a hundred times in the 7 years I had her, and I still love her to bits! Having to switch over to horses was horrible, all I wanted was to keep riding my Branca, but she was getting old and I was getting too big. I was allowed to ride my mom's horse Zappy, and I did not like him at all. However, it didn't take long before Zappy had worked his charms on me and we became a team. We made it to the international dressage level, learnt how to show jump, and picked up cross country in just a couple years! Unfortunately my mom ended up selling him when I went to Africa more often, but I still go see him regularly to watch him carefully take a 15 year old little jumper over the XC jumps. In Africa, I worked as a guide and horse trainer, which didn’t involve much dressage.
I had to get used to the ‘wild’ riding style where nothing mattered but it didn't take me long to start neck reining and smoking cigarettes during canters over the plains… This is where I fell in love with adventure riding, whether it be long distance, in extreme terrain or with big animals, I loved it all!
When covid hit in 2020, I got stuck in the Netherlands, and realised that the gap year I had been taking since mid 2016 was not going to end. I loved traveling too much, and horse riding in Africa was the only thing on my mind constantly. I was learning more every day by experiencing cultures and meeting new people than from a year in high school. All I knew was that I was stuck in the Netherlands and that I missed the horses and Africa so much, I had to do something, so I started writing! On a Wordpress website, about my travels, where I had been and giving tips to people that wanted to go in case anyone would ever read the website. Turns out, people started reading my blog! I couldn’t believe it when I saw that my website had 10 (!) visitors, so I started to learn a little bit more about blogging (which might have been a bit premature with my visitors number). I saw that it was possible to turn your blog into a business, which for me meant to write about my passions and tell stories about my adventures and get money for it - perfect! Now, 10 visitors was definitely not enough to earn money with the blog, but the website is growing now and I can’t wait to see how far Hooves Around The World goes!
The most important part of Hooves to me is being able to find the most incredible trips in the world, and making sure others get to experience what I’ve been so lucky to experience too.
Please do not hesitate to contact me here or on instagram with any questions you might have or if you would like my help on getting started with your own lifestyle change! If you want to book a consultation please do reach out, I am happy to help you with finding a good job, becoming a blogger or figuring out another way to work on the road.
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