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First Step of the Journey

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Lydia shoeing horses

Part 1 – Let go

Last summer I attended a guide school in the Canadian mountains to become a horseback tour guide. At least that‘s what I thought I was signing up for. Of course, I got a good training involving a lot of practical skills such as packing and shoeing horses,all skills required for leading a pack trip, learning about the flora and fauna around the area and so on. At the end, I was able to lead multiple day horseback riding pack trips with guests from all over the world and guide them safely through the Canadian wild.

And yet: These 2 months of training were everything I anticipated, but also so much more. It was an extremely challenging time for me, but in a way that I‘ve never expected it. Sure, my work as a vet got me used to hard and long days in the clinic with tricky cases, to deal with a lot of stress, frustration and grief as well as challenging owners. I had just gone through an incredibly hard time, not only work-wise but also in my private life. So I thought nothing can challenge me that much anymore.
I was wrong…

I was not prepared for what was waiting for me at Chilcotin Holidays. I thought it would be the perfect distraction from my problems at home. I would have soon learned that I could not run away from them but actually found the perfect place to face them…


Part 2 – Listen

What does it mean to face your problems? For me it was just a look behind the curtain. One I have made up myself. Partly to protect myself. Partly because I was a lazy human being. Never looking for fights. Always trying not to cause any troubles. Even if that meant that I gave up myself just to please somebody else.

I was so close to believing all the stories and lies I told myself everyday.

I nearly got lost in them.

Maybe you can fool yourself. But that doesn’t count much in the wild. Responsibility is taken, not given.
So I took the responsibility for my own life lifted the curtain and asked myself questions I normally would avoid.

Simply because I couldn’t deal with the shit that came out of it (…and let me tell you: it was pain, loads of pain, anger and embarrassment…but also some little whispered clear answers)
After all this digging and crying and fighting, one thing appeared very clear to me:

Nobody judges me as hard as I do!

And with that in mind, first, I learned to be ok with myself.

And that meant learning to accept myself for who I am.

Tough shit!!

Starting step by step to hear my little inner voice again.
This little voice, which was drowned so much over the previous couple of years that I was afraid I had lost it.

It was still soft and confused. Still didn’t know where it should lead me. But at least it told me that this very first step was in the right direction.


Part 3 – Act

It is true what they say. The outside world reacts to your inside world.
With accepting myself every day a little more. With the decision not to live in the past nor the future, but enjoy the present, people reacted to the way I pro-acted. They opened and shared their stories. First I was a student. But I also became a friend, a helper, a teacher and a mentor. We encouraged each other and braided a strong band. Everyone in the community of Chilcotin Holidays helped me in their own unique way (most of them not even knowing) to sort myself again…to find my path.
In the end of that path I became a leader. A leader of others as well but, first and foremost, the leader of my life.

It was the very first step of my travels and also the very first step towards a self accepting journey.
Now that my journey finally ended…at least for now…I am looking back gratefully. I am so thankful for this foundation and this support I’ve got from the very beginning. Loving souls who accompanied me. Standing by my side during all the hard and good times. People who changed my mindset completely and helped me appreciate this wonderful time. But I am also thankful to myself. That I took advantage of this chance and became ‘the captain over my ship’ again.

Self determination!

A luxury,

A privilege,

And for me the only way to become happy.


Lydia, Austria
April 2020