Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Long Rider Completes Epic Journey From Canada to Brazil on Horseback

It has been a couple of months since we last checked in with the progress of long rider Filipe Masetti Leite. At that time, he had just arrived back to his home country of Brazil, after spending two years on horseback riding from Calgary. The end of his journey was in sight, but he still had a long way to go, plenty of bureaucratic red tape to navigate, and some other commitments to his schedule. But in that moment, Filipe was happy. He was inching closer to home, and he was in Brazil in time for the World Cup. Now, more than five months later, we can report that he is officially home, and the journey has ended.

For those who don't know Filipe's story, he graduated college in Canada, and was preparing to head back to Brazil. But, he didn't just want to launch directly into a normal career, but instead wanted to have a grand adventure before he settled down. As a child, his father had read him the classic equestrian adventure story Tshiffhly's Ride, the true account of Aime Tschiffely's journey from Buenos Aires to New York City, that covered more than 10,000 miles back in 1925. That story had stuck with him, and the spark of an idea began to form in his head. What if he made a similar journey back to his home in São Paulo?

Getting his adventure off the ground was not easy. Filipe had to remain persistent, even as potential sponsors continually closed the door on him. But eventually his tenacious attitude began to pay off, and two quarter horses were donated to his cause. He also received a contract from OutWildTV to tell the story of his journey, which provided some funding to get him going. It all came together just a few months before he had planned to hit the trail, setting in motion one of the great equestrian expeditions of all time.

All told, Filipe's journey took more than two-and-a-half years to complete, and covered over 16,000 km (9941 miles). That puts him on par with his hero, Aime Tschiffely, who inspired him to begin this adventure in the first place.

Back home, Filipe is now working on a book about his ride, and has become somewhat of a celebrity. He reports in his last blog post that he has hit the motivational speaking circuit, and has appeared in a commercial for Burger King. Reading his words, it sounds like he is happy to be home, and close to friends and family, although he is already missing the open trail, and a nomadic lifestyle. Something tells me we haven't heard the last of Filipe Masetti Leite, and that we just might see another long distance journey on horseback out of him in the future.

Congratulations to Filipe on completing this amazing expedition, and thanks to my friend CuChullaine for sharing his story along the way.

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