Trip of a Lifetime
Amy Hogan | March 14, 2017
In August 2016, I went on Wild Women Expedition’s Iceland Golden Circle Horseback Riding Adventure. It was an experience unlike anything I had ever had in my life. It pushed my limits physically, emotionally and mentally. The message playing in my head over and over throughout the entire trip was “Oh my goodness I can’t believe I’m here, I can’t believe I’m actually doing this!”
If you are reading this thinking “I’d love to go on one of the Wild Women trips but I’m afraid I won’t be able to do it,” “I’m scared,” or “I’ve never done anything like this before” then keep reading because I’m writing this for YOU.
In December 2015, my days were spent sitting in my cubicle at my government job. I had been there for 12 years and man, was I bored! Countless days I sat there thinking “I feel like I’m wasting away,” “I wish I was hiking in the woods or paddling in my kayak right now,” “Is this all there is to life?” All I knew in those moments was that I was feeling so empty and desperately needed something to look forward to—an adventure. After an online search I came across the web page for the Iceland riding trip. I don’t even remember what I typed into the search engine, but I know now that I was meant to find that trip. As soon as I read the description, I knew it was for me. The wild landscape, affectionate horses, sleeping in mountain huts; reading it made me feel so excited and happy.
I had always wanted to go to Iceland and I loved horses; it sounded so majestic. I wanted to sign up right then and there, but fear creeped in and besides, it was 6 months away. “Surely I have time to decide, there’s no way it’s going to be fully booked in the next few weeks”, I justified. I checked the website every day for the next few weeks. One day there was 10 spots left, then 3 spots left, and then 0 spots left! It was sold out! I was crushed. How could I have let this dream get away? The fear took over and I let it win.
Before I tell you how this story unfolds, I want to share with you that I had been working with a life coach during the last few months of 2015. (She came into my life one day and since that moment my life has completely changed). I was working with her because I was feeling so unfulfilled; here I was in my mid-30’s, and I had the job, the man, the house, but I still wasn’t happy. What was wrong with me? When I saw the trip was booked, I called my coach right away.
While talking to her, I decided to email WWE’s Director, Jennifer Haddow, to see if, by chance, there was a spot left. Jennifer got back to me right away and told me there was one spot left and if I pay my deposit that day they would hold the spot for me. In that moment, I started to freak out and panic. Then dread came over me as I told myself “I guess I have to go now because there is a spot for me”.
I see now that I didn’t “have” to go at all, I could have easily said no thank you. It’s a choice, everything is a choice. Do you want to sit in your cubicle or do you want to gallop on the black sand beach? I paid my deposit and I was in. I took 3 riding lessons before August, packed up my gear and headed to Iceland. After the first day of riding, I had my doubts. Maybe I wasn’t ready for this, maybe I couldn’t do it.
The support I got from the guides and the other women on the trip was amazing, and I couldn’t have done it without them. Every time I got boosted onto a horse, I would tell myself that “I didn’t come all this way to NOT finish this trip.” If I needed help, I would ask for it, I was not going to have a meltdown, and I definitely was not going home. After 10 days of riding, I saw the Valley of the Horses that is only accessible on horseback, experienced sideways pounding rain in the mountains, rode along the edge of cliffs, travelled through marshlands, and galloped on the black sand beach.
Thinking of it all now brings tears to my eyes; I did it and it was the most magical trip of my life. I felt like I was permanently in fear and outside of my comfort zone for those 10 days. The love, support and encouragement I got from the guides and every single woman on that trip is something I take with me every day. It has brought overwhelming courage to my life. The month before I left for Iceland, I quit my job and started my own coaching business.
As I rode through the Icelandic mountains, I thought to myself “I did it, I’m actually here, I made this happen, I am powerful.” Life has never been the same.