In this update: Documentary, Presentations, Where are the horses?, Bring Tigon home!, Books, Back to Mongolia and Russia!, Discovery Film
As you know, Tigon, myself, Ogonyok, Taskonir, and Kok took our last steps in September last year in Opusztaser near the Danube river in Hungary. In December after spending time in Romania and Ukraine with my brother Jonathan and mum, Anne, and time in London and Washington for press obligations and the Nat Geo adventure awards, I finally said goodbye to my horses and arrived in Australia.
I will never forget the evening that I arrived at home, and finally laid my backpack to rest. Waking up to the sound of Rosella’s and the early summer sun I was overcome with relief and a great sense of appreciation to be at home. My passport was tucked away into a drawer somewhere, and piece-by-piece the contents of my life became scattered about the family home- mementos from three an a half years and hundreds of people I had met. Later my boxes arrived in a shipment from Hungary with saddles, blankets, and tens of books. Many of these items now dangle around my bedroom, still rich with the aroma of my equine pals! Only Tigon remains to be reunited with me in Australia.
I have been very grateful to be home spending time with my mum, and siblings, in particular enjoying home cooked meals, although it has taken some adjusting, eating at the table and not from the cooking pot.
In this update: Documentary, Presentations, Where are the horses?, Bring Tigon home!, Books, Back to Mongolia and Russia!, Discovery FilmAfter a long silence I thought it time to keep you up to date with how life has been going since the journey in the saddle ended, and the one out of the saddle began.
The Documentary Series
After a family Christmas it wasn’t long before I was off again, this time to Byron Bay to begin work on the documentary about my journey with editor and friend Mike Balson. Mike worked on Off the Rails eight years ago, and is able to track and grasp the reality of the experiences I encountered. With enormous help from my youngest brother Cameron, all 120 hours of footage were captured and logged on hard drives and there began a process that has been continuing ever since: the evolving of ‘In the Steppes of Nomads’ which will be a three hour series, hopefully for the ABC and National Geographic. I will keep you posted on any updates I can as this progresses. Presentations Where are the horses? Bring Tigon Home! The Book(s)
One of the major problems of getting Tigon back to Australia is the cost which is far higher than I had ever imagined costing at least $10,000. If anyone is interested in helping to sponsor this travelling canine please don’t hesitate to contact me. I would be happy to figure any such sponsor into an arrangement which would include credits in the books, film, on the website, and of course a lick from Tigon when he arrives!
I will keep you posted on the progress of this as it comes to light.
Back to Mongolia and Russia
I had expected this to be a year of being deskbound writing the book, but so many other challenges and opportunities have since cropped up. Recently I was asked if I would like to guide a group of trekkers with World Expeditions to Mongolia’s far west, and to the Altai in Southern Siberia. So although I had not imagined doing so, I have dusted off the passport and will be heading off again on the 4th of July, returning on the 19th of August. This will be a chance among other things to return to Mongolia where I began the journey and meet the people who helped set me sailing on the first hoofsteps of this expedition.
PresentationsAt the same time as working on the film I began to do build some presentations about my journey. They began as talks for Odyssey Travel in Melbourne and Sydney then as motivational presentations for schools in Geelong and Cheltenham, and have since included an NAB conference, Teachers conference in Bendigo, Department of Education teacher’s award night in Benalla, and most recently a talk for the Townsville Youth Council. Using film and scanned transparency images I am able to re-live the journey in a way that for me is still raw and exciting to tell. (Thanks to Fuji Film I had over 150 rolls of transparency film to sift through in addition to all of my digital images). I have discovered that no matter whether it is grade six children, or adults, there is something about the existence out on the Eurasian steppe that is relevant to everyone- perhaps because life in a way is distilled out on the steppe. The problems that nomad herders have to face without the invent of our modern technology are no different to those that we encounter every day. For any school (primary or secondary), business, conference, etc looking for a guest speaker you are more than welcome to contact my speaking agent ‘Saxtons’ on +61 (0)3 9811 3500. Email Sandra Rogerson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where are the horses?As you may know, I handed over the horses at the end of my journey to the children of the Tiszadob children’s home in Hungary. Before I left Hungary I visited them at their new home in the luch green grounds of the 19th century castle which is the feature of the children’s home. They were already looking fattened up, rested, and have more than ample grain, hay, and fresh pasture. The local football field has been encircled with a specially set up fence as their running yard, and the Children’s home has bought and been donated some riding equipment. They have set up a riding school for the children, and the director later told me that the new punishment for children at the orphanage was ‘being banned from a riding lesson.’ If the horses effected my life so much, I am sure they will effect the children as well and bring so much more of a sense of meaning to their lives. Every few weeks I receive photos from the children’s home, some of which you can see here (see below).
Bring Tigon Home!More importantly than my fate, you are all probably what has happened to Tigon, my fearless dog that travelled with me for so long. Well, pending lengthy quarantine periods, paperwork, and permits, he will hopefully be coming to Australia this year. At the moment he is living on Janos Loska’s farm with about 100 horses and free acreage where he can race and run as far as he likes. Janos called to tell me a couple of tales. One evening Janos received a phone call from a horse rider who had ridden from his far. “Janos, I am 50km from your farm, Tigon is still following me…and he has brought all the farm dogs with him!” the man told. Janos had to send a car out to collect them all. Not long after this Tigon spent half a day chasing a horse float from the farm as well. He is certainly the eternal traveller and it is hard to imagine what he thinks might have happened to his caravan of horses and clumsy Australian owner Tim.
The Book(s)Gradually I am beginning work on both a narrative for adults, and a children’s book that will be half pawed by Tigon, half by me. This will be a long and difficult process, like sitting back in the saddle on day one all over again, but something I am dedicated to.