About the book
Riding Into The Wind is a most unusual and passionate story by two rebellious student activists (Students for a Democratic Society, Harvard Tocsin, The College Peace Union) who become expatriates during the Vietnam War and after the assassinations of JFK and his brother Robert, to roam the world on horseback.
They sell everything they own, sever all ties, burn all bridges and rule books, declaring themselves Citizens Of The World: their adamant credo of Never Go Back becomes the core of an emerging philosophy of living totally in the here and now. They work as volunteers in a Venezuelan barrio building a school; they join a gypsy caravan in northern Spain, then work their way to South America on a German ferryboat before starting out on the longest horseback odyssey in history: 22,000 miles through 14 countries in almost five years.
This innovative work of creative nonfiction is told in two voices, so the dramatic story of these "lovers in each happening of their hearts" moves on several dimensions as they encounter all the extremes of triumph and tragedy. Part travel adventure, part vision quest, part social and political commentary, it cuts cross-country geographically and cross-genre literarily. It is also the story of two courageous radicals from the turbulent 1960s and 70s totally in love with each other and with life.
A very intense read! Truly, their life is their message!
"A compelling story, well worth the ride! Their 32,000-kilometer trek on horseback is most astonishing! Personal and extreme!"
- Toronto Globe And Mail
"Shakes the lethargy out of you! Rips up the rules and dares all to keep up! A new literary genre!"
- Adventure Books Equestrian Titles
"I found this book by chance one day when casually meandering through reviews and links at Amazon. How strange to discover such a profoundly moving book in such a manner! It is easily one of the best books I've read in the past 10 years, yet I almost missed it entirely. My copy is now littered with "footprints" as I marked passage after passage of wisdom that the Foote's acquired and shared, such as this: "Years of travelling, always wary, taught us that all you control is your own reaction. And that is how you can control a situation." But the book shares much more than wisdom acquired on the trail. It also shares the pain and joy and intensity of an incredible journey."
- Amazon Review
The sub-title of this book is 'On Horseback Out of Patagonia, A Life Journey.' The book chronicles the deeply personal and very unique life journey of Elly & Nathan Foote with four horses and a dog from the end of South America to Texas in the early nineteen seventies. Descriptions of people and places abound, but this is more than a travelogue; it is a story of overcoming obstacles and having the courage to open oneself to a world of new experiences, both very good and unthinkably bad. Take the opportunity to live this journey vicariously with Elly & Nathan, and share the thoughts and emotions that they had along the way. In the end, you may be glad that you played it safe and never undertook such a life changing journey of your own, or it may just make you wish that you had. Either way, your mind will be broadened by sharing their experiences, and you will be glad that you took the trip, if only by reading this book.
- Amazon Review
This soul stirring book is like none other I have read. And the authors are like no one else I have met. This audacious young couple sets out to rewrite the way we look at ourselves, the world and the journey we are all travelling. They redraw the maps we are used to following. They tear up the rule books and then write their own. They sell everything they own, sever all ties, burn all the bridges(their motto: "Never Go Back!"), and stake out new territory in the Here And Now. Then they scoup you up out of that comfortable armchair and take you along with them across the Patagonian wastelands, over top-of-the-world Andean passes, through impenetrable jungles, across raging rivers, and into other realms of thought and action and revelation you would never have ventured into otherwise. As I read, I could feel my world spinning, then turning upsidedown. Then I was in a totally different orbit, a different space, from which I could see myself, others around me, and the little blue planet Earth we live on, in a startling new way. Suddenly it was so much more than a horseback odyssey I was on: it became the universal journey we are all traveling. Nothing has ever inspired me more.Give it a read! I guarantee you'll never be the same and you'll thank the authors for shaking you up.
- Amazon Review
For young Harvard graduate Nathan Foote and his Swedish-born wife Elly de Broen Foote, their love of life and love of each other, their four heroic horses (Caicique, India, Maracas and Pampero), two great dogs (Chaco, Andin) considerable hospitality from a variety of characters they meet on their many-thousand mile journey, and lots of pluck and good luck in tight squeezes enabled them to travel from Puerto Santa Cruz near the southern tip of Argentina, northward through six Latin American countries, all the way to Laredo, Texas in 1969, 1970 and 1971.
This young couple's long, slow, arduous, perilous, edifying and intriguing trip was not a business venture, publicity stunt nor dare but rather a marvelous expression of their personal values of peaceful, simple living. In Nathan's words: "Along with Gandhi, I say, 'My life is my message.' " From beginning to end, the straight-line distance of this trip is about 6,000 miles. However, with much meandering and backtracking according to dictates of the amazing terrain, they probably traveled twice that distance. Without odometer or GPS they estimated distance by time in the saddle at a steady pace, which they recorded daily in diaries. This feat of horsemanship ranks with that of Swiss Aimé Félix Tschiffley, who rode from Buenos Aires to New York City in 1925-1928 ("Tschiffely's Ride"); Argentinian Ana Beker, who rode from Buenos Aires to Ottawa, Canada in 1950-1954 ("The Courage to Ride"); and 63-year-old Messanie Wilkins who rode from Minot, Maine to Redding, California and back in 1955 ("The Last of the Saddle Tramps").
Just as the authors' odyssey had no commercial aim, fixed time-table, direct itinerary or sophisticated, modern equipment, this self-published book is not literary; it meanders somewhat; and it has a spotty chronology. The book lacks a comprehensive map of the trek, though it does have two maps of regions in Argentina. An index and a list of illustrations would be useful for re-reading and sharing passages with others. It has 92 excellent illustrations, including double-page pencil drawings by daughter Conchita Maria for each of the 20 chapters, 13 B & W photos, and a center section of 59 lovely color photos.
Elly Foote is the principal author and photographer; but she quotes generously from husband Nathan's diary. Throughout the book, she uses 140 Spanish words and phrases, "like spices," which she lists with an English translation at the end. In addition to the adventures in Argentina, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Mexico, Elly includes glimpses of her and Nathan's earlier time in Europe and Venezuela and their subsequent career as ranchers, loggers, and breeders and trainers of Belgian draft horses in British Colombia, Canada.
I read this book from cover to cover on the day that it arrived. Though not an animal lover, I grew to admire the horses and dogs as well as the authors of this book and most of the characters they met during their Latin American odyssey. How I wish that I could have taken the actual journey with them!!! By writing this book they have generously and vividly shared their example of brave, out-of-the-box living and the delicious fruit of that choice. What is life about? The answer is "Riding Into the Wind."
- Amazon Review