When I first met Rupert Isaacson, one of the things the struck me most was his tremendous energy and zest. He has the capacity to infuse joy into a room with a combination of humour, wisdom and compassion that makes it easy to get caught up in his enthusiasm and keen to understand more about him and the things that he’s passionate about.
His life story is one that traverses a lot of territory. A journalist for the British and American press from the early 1990s, he has also published several guidebooks to Africa and India, and is the author of three non-fictional memoirs: The Healing Land (a New York Times Notable Book), which tells the story of his family in Africa, and of his own time spent living with the Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert; The Horse Boy (a New York Times and Sunday Times bestseller), which tells the story of his journey across Mongolia on horseback with his autistic son Rowan; and The Long Ride Home, which tells of the three subsequent healing journeys he and his son made to Africa, Australia and the Navajo Reservation, as well as his discovery of how horses can help autism and special needs in general.
Rupert, through Horse Boy foundation, offers scholarships and services to autism families and professionals. With New Trails Learning Systems he spreads the methods that have helped Rowan so immensely: Horse Boy Method (addressing autism and other neuro-psychiatric issues with the help of horses), Movement Method (academics through movement at home or in school for mainstream and special education), ATHENA (addressing trauma through horse trainings), and finally Long Ride Home (a program for higher levels of equitation and self-care (emotional, spiritual and personal development) for horsey people.
A career in human rights runs parallel to all this; In 2004 Rupert founded the Indigenous Land Rights Fund, which helps hunting and gathering tribes gain legal title to their ancestral land and which helped the Bushmen of Botswana win the largest land claim in African history in 2006.
In this episode, we discuss:
- The concept of vitality and what it means to live a full and vital life
- How our history and mythology informs our current experience (and how we can use this knowledge to our benefit)
- Belonging, purpose and connection
You can find out more or get in touch with Rupert via his websites:
What’s more, Rupert and I will shortly be teaching an online workshop together on the subject of vitality. If you want to learn more about that or sign up for the workshop, you can do so here.