Knowing more or less how to put a pen to paper, I rather naively assumed thought the words of our book would come easily.
Well, they didn’t.
Coming home was an all consuming process- substituting car keys for pocket knives, showers for river washes, work for walking. Truth be told, all that was easy enough- its not as though our BNT travels turned have turned us into socially dysfunctional, dirt-loving Encino-women after all. (Okay, well maybe just a little dirt-loving). And I have so many things to be grateful for, not least the fact that we were able to get our precious equines home safely and without getting into major debt.
But oh, oh, oh how I miss the trail. And its hard to write when, well, you’re a little miserable.
But enough excuses. Thanks to our crowdfunding campaign, I am rather held to account. Which is great, because I reckon I’d still be procrastinating and sitting around on my backside in five years if that wasn’t the case. After all, I have promised people a book and they have paid for it fair and square.
And with that, I’d like to give mention to the official patron of our book. The idea came from Rhys and Hannah of ‘Seaside Donkey’, and I popped it up there on my Kickstarter page as one of the higher-end ‘rewards’, thinking it rather unlikely that someone would actually be interested enough. But, low and behold, they were!
The Official Patron of the Donkey Dreaming Book…
So the lovely patron of the forthcoming Donkey Dreaming book is Linda, who has loved and owned horses for most of her life.
Linda retired in 1999 at the age of 58, and at age 59, met up with some women who wanted to ride horseback across America, about 3000 miles. They estimated it would take them a year. All in their 50s, the four women called the group H. O. N., an acronym for “Hags on Nags”. Two of the girls were going to be full-time riders and one a full-time support vehicle driver, with Linda to be part-time rider and part-time driver.
They trained for a month and started out on their journey. Unfortunately, the full-time support vehicle driver quit the day before they left due to personal reasons. Linda covered as full-time driver but was very unhappy. She was unable to ride her lovely Tennessee Walking Horse due to all the driving, getting water, food etc, for horses, mules & riders, cooking & cleaning. She decided to quit one week into the journey.
The other two women went on without a support vehicle. A few weeks in, one girl had a serious accident where a loose dog attacked her mule, throwing her into a cliff wall and breaking her pelvis. They had to be airlifted out, and it was the end of the journey for all.
“ I read about your wonderful journey with avid interest, hoping you would succeed where I had failed.
Although Linda didn’t complete her trip, I certainly wouldn’t say she ‘failed’. The hardest part of any trek is definitely the beginning, and the courage, fortitude and determination to embark on such a feat surely outweighs that needed to cross the final line.
To illustrate this fact, almost half of my book draft details only our first few months on the trail. That seems to be when all the scariest, most dramatic, most astonishing, interesting things happen!
So thank you Linda, for believing in us and helping to support our dream of getting the bubs home and writing a book, as well as for your inspiring story.
I’m pleased to announce that The Book is finally happening and I’m aiming for a first-draft deadline of June 30. Thanks to all those Kickstarter ‘backers’ who have been patiently tolerating my lack of updates.
Writing has been a journey in itself, almost akin to completing the BNT a second time round. I found myself in tears last week as I wrote about our (unblogged) worst BNT experience, awash with the emotion that came with reliving the stress of that day as well as gratitude that we came through it at all. In a way , writing has been a means of processing things that happened along the way, exploring how I would better handle them a second time around, and reliving the numerous highs of the trip. All for the price of only one trek!
Thanks for reading everyone, and hats off to those trekkers who have just set out for the new BNT season. As Mike Allen writes, “Survive the first month, and you’ll never want to leave! ”