Horseback Riding as a Metaphor for Life

The horseback riding group
The horseback riding group

If you wish to be expressed, if you wish to live in your purpose, if you wish to Love and be Loved to the fullest – then become friends with uncertainty. See your life as an experiment in uncertainty. See your life as a giant dare to The Divine – you weren’t made to fall. You weren’t made to fail. You were made to learn. To Love and to pick yourself back up. Erase failure from your vocabulary. It was a lesson. Erase self-doubt from your mind. You have no idea how amazing and powerful you are when you are connected to your Source. Step into uncertainty today and a little bit every day. This is how an epic life is lived. ~ Mastin Kipp, The Daily Love

The past year and a half has been one of great loss and change. With moving forward comes an increased awareness of who you are and who you want to become.

Chocolate and me
Chocolate and me

I give beyond means and love endlessly. I share more of myself with others than I receive in return. I am also very cautious and controlled. I thrive on excellence to the extent that I am an overachiever and a perfectionist. However, in my recent personal journey, I have been letting go more: throwing caution to the wind, being more spontaneous, and learning that perfectionism is a hindrance to success, not a help.

View of the Andes on the way to the ranch
View of the Andes on the way to the ranch

Therefore, when I had the opportunity for a horseback riding adventure at La Quebrada del Cóndor in the Potrerillos area of the Andes, Villa Tupungato, on my recent trip to Mendoza, Argentina with Uncorking Argentina, I had mixed emotions. The former me and the new me were battling for control. Should I say no or should I let go? Then I thought, “When will I ever have this opportunity again? DO IT!” My heart won over my head, but it was not without doubt and hesitation.

The ranch
The ranch

You see, I’ve only ridden horses twice in my life: once when I was a fearless kid and once when I was an adult. The adult experience was traumatic because out of the blue, the horse backed me into some thorny bushes and tried to throw me off its back. The guide didn’t help, so my boyfriend struggled to get me off the horse in time. That was 16 years ago.

My horse, Chocolate
My horse, Chocolate

As we drove to the ranch, I became more and more nervous and uncomfortable. In this moment, I thought about my favorite website, The Daily Love, and how readers are taught that success comes when you are most uncomfortable. I forged ahead with my decision. “Uncomfortable is good,” I repeated to myself. I was almost numb as one of the guides put chaps on my legs. The time came for me to get on my horse, Chocolate (pronounced choh-koh-lah-teh in Spanish), and again, I needed the assistance of Eduardo, one of the guides. Finally we were off on a three-hour journey through the Cordón del Plata. The ride was unparalleled and will remain one of the top five experiences of my life, a combination of exhilaration, fear, trust, adrenaline, natural beauty, and the human and animal connection.

Cori, me, and one of our amazing guides
Horseback riding in the Andes, Mendoza, Argentina

At one point, we decided to head up to one of the highest peaks. The horses balked as it was the path least taken, just like we humans often do when confronted with change. The route was treacherous because of snow melt and mud. The horses stopped dead in their tracks with a few colliding into each other. A few of us were stuck on the side of the slippery slope. I closed my eyes and conceded my fate to faith and trust. At this moment, Eduardo appeared and led each of us and our horses to safer ground. Like life at its lowest point, there’s nowhere to go but up if you just let go, breathe, trust, and allow faith lead you back to light and joy.

The view from 3000 meters (approx 10,000 feet)
The view from 3000 meters (approx 10,000 feet)

We continued our journey without further incident. We made it to an elevation of about 3000 meters (approximately 10,000 feet) and we all felt like we were on top of the world, both literally and figuratively. The ride back to the ranch was downhill and easy in every sense of the word. I felt blissful and calm as I let go even more and gave my complete trust to Chocolate, Juan Martín, and Eduardo.

The asado
The asado

Upon our return, we had a grand celebration with a scrumptious asado (Argentine barbecue) prepared by Cato, one of the owners, and his team. I had no idea that my emotional, mental, and physical journey would make me so hungry and thirsty for food, drink, and adventure.

Mendoza, Argentina, here I come!

My fortune from February 26, 2013
My fortune from February 26, 2013 (Yes, I believe!)

It’s hard to believe that it’s been over a year ago when my then world began to crash and burn, having both lost a career and a long-term relationship out of the blue. I vowed to use travel as my solace towards leading a purposeful life and to fight my sorrow and loss with new experiences.

I began my literal and figurative journey, which has not been without bumps in the road, but overall has been more than imagined in many ways. I have discovered support from sources I didn’t know I had and unexpected doors of opportunity have been opened. I am truly thankful for those who have offered me comfort, employment, friendship during the most challenging period of my life.

In late August, I was sitting in a chair getting a pedicure when an e-mail came through from Uncorking Argentina inviting me to travel to Mendoza, Argentina as part of a FAM journalists’ and travel professionals’ tour because of my writing for Plum Deluxe. It was surreal. I never imagined in my wildest dreams I would ever visit Argentina or anywhere in South America. Even though I had to provide my own airfare, I knew inside that I had to seize the opportunity. I applied and was accepted.

Next week I begin this amazing trip. Since so many of you have supported me in so many ways, I wanted to share the itinerary with you. I hope you will stay tuned, as I will be bringing you along with me in my heart and soul.

On Tuesday, October 8th, 

Our driver is going to be waiting for you at the airport.

Carolyn and Molly are going to meet you at Cordillera, Vinos y Fuegos Resto for the tasting class at 5:30 pm.

(Address: Belgrano 1028, Mendoza City)-

After the tasting class you are going to enjoy a great cooking class at the same place. (My first cooking class!)

On Wednesday, October 9th,

Our driver and Molly are going to pick you up from the NH Hotel at 9 am. Start your wine tour in Lujan de Cuyo area.

First visit and taste at Domaine St Diego Winery, continue to Renacer Winery for more wines, finally enjoy a great wine pairing lunch at Casarena Winery.

Back to the hotel in the afternoon.

On Thursday, October 10th,

Our mountain guide and Molly are going to pick you up from the NH Hotel at 8:30 am. They are going to take you to Potrerillos area.

There you are going to have the option to have a great trekking or horseback riding experience.

After that relish with a traditional asado lunch.

Back to the hotel in the afternoon.

*I will be tasting and tweeting live for #MerlotMe and #VAWineChat with wines from Boxwood Winery*

On Friday, October 11th,

Our driver and Molly are going to pick you up from the NH Hotel at 10:15 am. Start your wine tour in Valle de Uco area.

First visit and taste at Pulenta Estate Winery, continue to La Azul Winery where you are going to have a great wine pairing lunch, later enjoy visiting and tasting at Gimenez Riili Winery.

After that, the “The Vines” people are going to be happy to show you their great project.

Check in at Alpasion Lodge.

You are going to have dinner at Alpasion that night.

On Saturday, October 12th,

Check out and meet our driver at 9 am.

He is going to take you to meet Carolyn and Molly at Maria Antonieta Resto. There you are going to have a farewell snack before part of the group has the transfer out to the airport.