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January 07, 2008



Your various journeys (cultural, spiritual, and via truck, horse, and bicycle!) sound fascinating though no doubt difficult at times.

I have heard about various religious denominations in the US (notably Baptists and Unitarians) sending aid or mission trips to Romania too. It seems as if one was in your part of the country too, but I don't remember the details. One church also sent a mission trip to Italy. When I expressed surprise that Christian missionaries were going to Italy, the student who was telling me about it said, but they're Catholic there! I guess many people have little respect for denominations other than their own.

I'm very interested in visiting you to see the beautiful landscapes that you tempt us into with your photography and the rural way of life that has disappeared in so many other places, but I don't know when it may be possible for various reasons (financial, scheduling, other commitments, etc.). When the time seems right, I'll let you know.

Local breeds of horses are also very interesting to me. So far I have experienced Black Canadians, Welsh cobs, Haflingers, and in France local crosses and all have seemed well adapted to their environments and the work that they do.


You really do need to write a book. Your life and stories are fascinating.

So much rich material here. I am very intrigued by the religious factions for several reasons, one completely personal. I found a Romanian student to help my father take care of my mother a few years ago when Mama first had Alzheimer's. This Romanian supposedly had medical training in Romania and was a doctor, but her degree didn't count here so she was back in school to get a different degree in the U.S. She was brought over by a Baptist church. Although I believe she is sincerely a Christian, she was also a con artist in a way. She lived with my parents for free, got a car out of them as well as a loan, (most of which she repaid), and did very little for them. When they moved out from under her, she found another Baptist family in a different part of the state and moved in with them! Last time I saw her she was driving a new Volvo.... I will never understand if there was any connection between her skill at exploiting religious people and the circumstances with the churches you describe in Romania, but .... well. I'll leave it unsaid.

I'm also very interested in your path through the monastery.

You go where I don't have the nerve to go. I love reading your stories and seeing your photos.

If your equi-tourism business isn't thriving, it's only because you're hidden. You tell a powerful story and give a tantalizing description of a part of the world I never thought I would want to visit and now feel like I must. Your plans for the future are very appealing, too. Ride and learn.

I could go on and on. Having your own horses to pick up your hay and firewood? You must be very resourceful and adaptable to go from the London Subway to narrow tracks to the hayfields....

Thank you for your story. More, more!


A wonderful and fascinating story. Thank you for having the courage to live it and then to share it with us!


I didn't always feel brave at the time!

There seems to be a time of life for travelling, when one is not only ready to travel but needs to travel in order to find meaning and fulfilment. The utter extremes may be men like Jack Kerouac, T E Lawrence and Bruce Chatwin. So more is not necessarily a good thing, not always. They came to bad ends: I hope not to.

All your encouraging thoughts are really appreciated. Really, I will write a book, there is so much of a story to be told about life in this special place.


With all the wonderful photographs you take, you should also produce a picture book for children. School libraries have lots of books about the daily lives of kids in different parts of the world, but so far I haven't seen one about rural Romania.

Simply Marvelous

Amazing how the events transpired for you to be in the heart of Romania.

It is incredible how your life has changed and the way you have become a profound voice for a way of life that the rest of us know little to nothing about.

I study the photographs and realize how lucky all of us are to be taken into such a different world.

Personally, I have a love affair with draft horses, and am now beginning to recognize them in your pictures as my friends.

It is my fantasy to work with drafts. Something I probably will never do and, therefore, especially enjoy seeing and reading about your work with them.

I appreciate your explanations as to how life today fits with their history and the events of the more immediate political past in this country.

A book from you is a must, a movie would be even better, but I'd love to see a TV series.

Keep writing.

Victoria Cummings

What an amazing journey you have had, and how lucky to have found a place on this earth that feels like home! One thing that the US doesn't have is the sense of history that you have in Europe. Doing things the way they were done for hundreds of years is a gift compared to the ever-changing landscape where most of us live. Your horses that are pure breds- the Hutls (sp? and Arabians are treasures - they carry the wisdom of their ancestors too.


To everyone: I am really touched by the way that you are so interested in our way of life in this unknown country. With such encouragement, I shall do my best to keep on writing and photographing.

Ariella: I'd like to produce a picture book for children. That's a good idea. I wonder how to find a publisher who might be interested?

Marvel: Today I spoke to an author who is putting me in touch with a reliable agent. So I shall need to get on and write a book synopsis and a sample chapter. I've been on TV in several countries. Every time a new Dracula movie appears, someone wants to film here because Bram Stoker's Borgo Pass is nearby. I wonder how to attract a film maker to shoot a documentary about the horses and lifestyle?

Victoria: The Hutul especially is a horse very well adapted to these mountains. They seem to contain a built-in wisdom that preserves them in this terrain. One has to remember how they think when out riding. Often they spot potential natural hazards quicker than people.

I Gallop On

Hi Julian, I'm catching up on your blog once again. ;-) Getting a breath of fresh air from your wonderful writing. What an interesting journey you're having.

Yep, maybe I'll get to work with draft horses one of these days. If nothing else, I can plow up the little garden my husband is planning this spring.



Hi Julian and Danielle.
I'm on your site since 10.30 in the morning reading anything I could, it's 17.00 and I can't stop reading... I'm amazed how a foreigner can see, feel and put in words the life and real heart of Romania. What is also amazing is that I find myself in the same situation you described. I'm a psychologist, working in sales wright now, hating the job lately and wondering what am I doing here... I'm leaving in the nice, large city of Cluj-Napoca for 15 years, but I shiver every time I hear a bird singing, I smell wood fire smoke, I see green grass. Every day I'm running home (an apartment surrounded by cement walls) so that I don't get stuck into traffic, I don't go clubing or shopping, for me going out means going out of Cluj into the nature (plenty of possibilities around Cluj), once a week going horse riding (in a small place surrounded now by big buildings and others under construction :( and getting out in nature every time possible. After leaving like this for 15 years I finally had the revelation of people who are not peasant and still making a living by living in a village (what I dream since I was little and spending all the 4 months of the school holidays in my grandparents village). One year ago I got in touch with horses at a beautiful farm. With my psychology background, my interest in helping people living more significant lives, and my love for nature and animals (especially horses) I kept thinking back in my mind that there has to be a way to put these 3 together and make a nice living out of it. Since then I kept looking and visiting farms in searching for a place and people where I can learn more about these 3. Based on reading most of the articles on your blog I hope I found that place and people...
Can't wait to visit you, hopefully next Saturday.
Simona from Cluj-Napoca.

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