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Life Transitions: From the Ranch to Exotic Lands

Life Transitions: From the Ranch to Exotic Lands

Culture, Life Abroad, Travel

My students giggled, some of them laughed hysterically and made comments in Spanish as I draw a picture on the board of the uterus of a cow. As I describe the arm and shoulder length glove I make a face as I pantomime the smell and experience of putting my arm up the business end of said cow to get her pregnant; a process known as artificial insemination for which I hold a certificate issued by Northeast Oklahoma A & M College. “Oh teacher!” they exclaim. Some of them are just shocked. Others have been out in the country and understand what farm and ranch life is like.
Later I take a moment to reflect, it sure is a long way from my old life training horses and hustling sheep to my current career teaching English in South America. Sometimes I feel like that old life is so far in the past it’s like a dream that happened where I wake up and wonder if it was just my imagination.
Less than ten years ago I was going to college for Farm and Ranch Management. I had horses, a dog and too many responsibilities to even imagine that I could travel across country much less across the world. My life revolved around small towns, horses, old fashioned country values and the occasional rodeo or state fair.
However the one thing we can count on is that things change and so do people. I have traded my cowboy boots for flip flops and my horses for a bicycle. Instead of a ranch out in the country I live in an apartment in the city. A country music singer once said: “you can take girl out of the country but you cannot take the country out of the girl. And in some weird way it completely fits with my life here in central Colombia. I take weekend excursions to farms, occasionally I go on a horseback ride and I still know the difference between a cow and a bull no matter what language it is identified in. I don’t get squeamish at animals being butchered in the street or the occasional horse cart in the city. I am not afraid of camping or getting dirty. And most importantly I still believe in the cowboy code of values where you shut any gate you open, don’t squat with your spurs on and to always be ready and willing to help a neighbor.
Being a cowboy or cowgirl is more than just working on a ranch, owning a horse and wearing a cowboy hat. The spirit is an immortal idea, a knowledge of right and wrong no matter the situation. It’s a spirit of dedication, a way of life and a blessing from God.
I will always wax a bit poetic and feel that longing for my old lifestyle, even as I embrace the adventures and challenges of my current lifestyle. And one day I will return to a small ranch of my own and retire in the embrace and glory of nature somewhere out in the sticks where city life will become a distant memory.

About the author

English Teacher, Freelancer, Chocolate Entrepreneur and Traveler!!


  1. alojamiento rural terres de l'ebre
    October 2, 2013 at 10:49 am

    No habia vuelto a leer tu sitio web por un tiempo, porque me pareció que era denso, pero los últimos posts son de buena calidad, así que supongo que voy a añadirte a mi lista de blogs cotidiana. Te lo mereces amigo. 🙂


    • openmindedtraveler
      October 2, 2013 at 11:15 am

      Vale, gracias!

    • mary Donaldson
      October 9, 2013 at 12:38 am

      I really enjoyed this article because it seems like I succeeded in raising you with some practical ideas and now your out there doing the things you enjoy. Also you are embracing all the changes you have had to go through to get where you are today which is an accomplishment. I am proud of you and wait to see what you try next on your life’s adventure.

  2. casa rural en la rioja
    October 3, 2013 at 9:09 am

    Me ha encantado vuestro articulo y me ha sabido a poco pero ya sabeis lo que dice el dicho “si lo bueno es breve es dos veces bueno”. Me gustara volver a leeros de nuevo.

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