Tim Cope Quotes

  1. My three-year ride by horse from Mongolia to Hungary was the most difficult, most revealing, and interesting of any of my travels. Travelling by horse, you’re far more engaged and dependent on the land and other people than by any other means.
  2. For me, adventures are a vehicle for travelling deep into the fabric of society, coming to know the environmental conditions that shape people’s lives and viewing the present in the context of history.
  3. In Khazak culture, historically, if any traveller comes riding from a long way, there is an obligation to take him into your home. For the first three days, the host doesn’t even have the right to ask his name, his destination or his business.
  4. From the rugged cliffs of Cape Liptrap peninsula jutting bravely into the swells of Bass Strait, the coast arcs southeast, hugging the waters of Waratah Bay with sweeping flat lines of fine pale sand and knotty scrub.
  5. I think the nomads really give us inspiration about how we can live in harmony with our environment.
  6. Although we had been led to believe our mission was suicidal, Russia’s intrigue was irresistible. Almost twice the size of Australia, it spans 11 time zones from the Baltic to the Pacific.
  7. Finding shelter with nomads in the desert during summer was a matter of survival for me and my animals.
  8. When you come out of the storms and sub-zero temperatures into a tiny yurt, there’s a sense that family love and care is the most important thing in the world.
  9. The Khoton people are a small minority group of Mongolians renowned for living a traditional nomad life in the remote slopes and valleys of the Kharkhiraa-Turgen mountain range.
  10. Many times, I thought the sat-phone was just a hindrance because it can become a crutch. You can call someone in Australia or Europe and talk about what you’re going through, but it doesn’t actually help. Sat-phones and GPS can’t show you where the grass or the wells are.
  11. We can see every square metre of the planet on Google Earth. But there is no substitute for that sensory experience of going out into the world and discovering things for yourself.
  12. In wider spaces, people bearing historical grudges with each other were separated by the muting qualities of distance.
  13. Had I not stepped into the saddle in the first place, entire cultures, histories, and most importantly, profound connections with people and animals whom I now counted as my friends would have otherwise passed by, invisible.
  14. I have brought many artifacts back with me from the steppe. My favourite is a 90-year-old Kazakh saddle decorated with silverwork in traditional motifs. It symbolises the deep relationship between man and horse on the Eurasian Steppe.
  15. In the initial stages of my journey, I was trying to travel too fast by horse by sticking to a ‘five days on and two off’ schedule. On the steppe, time is not measured by days, weeks or hours but the fall of the seasons and condition of the animals.
  16. Reflective of the deep sense of gratitude and respect Mongolians reserved for wolves, there was a belief that only through wolves could the spirit of a deceased human be set free to go to Heaven.
  17. In Mongolia, the nomads always told me that wolves were the most dangerous things on the steppe, and I didn’t believe them at first.
  18. In Kazakhstan, once you’re someone’s guest, it’s really hard to get away – everyone wants you to stay. They believe that if you invite a guest, luck will fly into your house.
  19. If you take the time to visit rural regions, where horsemen ride by and yurts are set up in summer meadows, you will come to know that the Kazak culture lives on.
  20. Steve Fossett and I would share a common belief that it is possible and good to challenge yourself to the extreme.
  21. Gradually, I came to know my horses intimately. You go through every mood they experience and come to view the world much like a horse.
  22. Earth was not built to serve the needs of humans.
  23. For the traveller, Kazakhstan offers more than just a staging post for the Silk Road, as is often perceived, and there is more than just steppe.
  24. My dream was to ride a horse from Mongolia to Hungary, 10,000 km across the great Eurasian Steppe, and in doing so, come to understand the nomadic cultures that have presided there for thousands of years.
  25. When you hear that howl alone at night in the forest, it’s one of the most frightening sounds you’ll ever hear.
  26. I wanted to know what it would be like to get on a horse and ride all the way west to Europe and take a look back at my own culture through the eyes of a nomad.
  27. I have dreamt of being an author since the age of 14, and writing about my experiences has always been a part of digesting an experience and sharing it with others.
  28. Perhaps most important for nomads was the belief in the symbiosis that existed between wolf and humans on the steppe. Wolves were an integral part of keeping the balance of nature, ensuring that plagues of rabbits and rodents didn’t break out, which in turn protected the all-important pasture for the nomads’ herds.
  29. Bakhchisaray was formerly the capital of the Crimean khanate and once an important crossroad of the Silk Road, where traders met from across the Black Sea, the steppes of Central Asia, Russia, and eastern Europe.
  30. A single camel can carry around 300 kilograms. Using camels for hauling during migration is becoming a rarity in Mongolia, where mechanized transport is gradually replacing traditional means.
  31. In two and a half years’ trekking across central Asia, I’d become attuned to the late autumn conditions when the hazards of winter can blow in under the cover of darkness.
  32. Meeting Australian mountaineer and author Tim Macartney-Snape when I was 16 in 1994 had a big impact on me. His ascent of Everest from sea to summit captured my imagination.
  33. It’s hard to find a place where you’re out of earshot of some kind of noise.
  34. Ultimately, it’s a sense of camaraderie and friendship with local people that is core to my journeys.
  35. I love the Altai Mountains. Crimea, despite all the conflict, is a remarkable place historically, culturally and physically. The mountains drop down into the sea. Porpoises swim in the shallows. Horses gallop through the grass. There are huge rocks, castles, caves.
  36. I don’t think patience is something that any of us grow up with in a large dose. It’s a world of instant gratification.
  37. Much of my journey in Kazakhstan was about understanding the legacy of the Soviet times and finding out what remained of nomadic.
  38. Exchanging gifts is an important thing in the steppe culture, a way for them to feel you have become a part of their lives.
  39. In 1736, Bakhchisaray had been burned to the ground by the Russians, and when Catherine II’s army completed the conquest of the peninsula in 1783, the last khan, Sahin Giray, took refuge in Turkey, where he was eventually executed.
  40. I think in our society we too often choose the people we associate with based on our own hasty judgments.
  41. If you want to make the most of travel to Russia, it is better to leave tight plans and preconceptions behind and just enjoy the journey.
  42. Learning of my father’s passing at age 55 not only shattered the world, far from home, that had become my reality, but catapulted my childhood and relationship with family – which had felt like another lifetime – into the present.
  43. What drew me to Kazakhstan was a curiosity to learn about life in this ‘middle earth’ of steppe between the endless forests of Russia in the north and the world’s greatest mountain chains to the south.
  44. I am struck by the wild character of this land and, as the Kazak herders often do, I have the urge to sing.

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