My name is Savannah Figueroa. I am 22 years old, originally from Flagstaff, Arizona.
With me is Ryan Barteau, he has been at Date Creek Ranch since he was 5 years old.
We are your grass-farmers.
On the ranch in total is; Kimberley Knight and Stefan Wolf owners & managers of Date Creek Ranch. Paulino, ranch-hand and genuine can-do-it-all type of man.
(For more on the ranch)visit our History here.
There is one major thing I want you to know about us; We love our animals. I can sit out everyday laughing and easily live in the moment with each of animals. When the pigs are under the apple trees, I’ve been known to spend hours out there; giving belly rubs and making sure everyone is happy.
This is the routine around here; Always know what is going on with the animals. Running nose? Cough? Her ears hanging a little low today? Sit, watch…They will always share with you.
The other side of I want to share with you?
We LOVE to travel. Seriously.
Ryan and I met through his sister, Amberley (you’ve met her if you’ve picked up beef!) when we worked at Black Bear together.
We decided to take a trip, I truly think you can learn a lot about your companion through traveling; South America.
We bought tickets one-way to Bogota, Colombia. Return date: Eh, whenever we are ready.
That is really where it all began, where I felt like there was a purpose for me.
Imagine it: 18 years old, dropped out of community college, quit work and hit the road with the love of my life.
4 and some months later, we returned. Forever changed.
Backpacking through South America was one of the most confusing, intense, life-altering & educational time of my life.
From waking up at 3am to hike 45 min, to get to the entrance of Machu Picchu “Inca Trail” — Just to learn that you need to buy your entrance ticket IN TOWN, another 45 min away.
We took a local cargo boat up the Rio Negro, to join the Amazon River. This was no ordinary boat - El Papillon was a force to be reckoned with. 80+ people packed on hammocks stacked 3 high, could still fit more. We watched in awe when they loaded up 3 Brahman bulls, a couple cows & over a ton of Plantain onto that same boat. Mind-blown.
The best part of this week? Showering on the boat: Toss you bucket out the window, pull up water, dump, repeat.
That is what I cannot get enough of and why we always hit the road again;
There is no 'one way' to do anything.
We are always learning new ways of thinking, which gives us a beautiful perspective of the world...
On our ranch we have a LOT of room to graze our animals, in the Philippines…Not so much. No problem; put a stake in the ground and a collar on your cow.
Side Note: We lived off of roughly 25-35$ USD per day (2 people) - It is easy to live simply.
Since that early trip in 2015 we have made it our goal to travel for some time at least twice a year (summer/winter) when the work load cools down and things start to slow.
Now, we do not stay in resorts or hotels; we stay at hostels, ride the local buses and make most of our own meals. (Have you ever had Alpaca?)
We hit Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina & Chile on that trip, with a stop-over in Jamaica.
Our priorities are, in order: The ranch. Traveling.
As such, we live a simple life at home, saving money for the next big adventure.
When we are not working through dawn to dusk, we are on the road. Backpack filled and passport ready.
We work hard to bring you the very best beef, pork, chicken & lamb...
AND when summer rolls around, we can take a serious break.
Since then we have traveled Thailand, Singapore, Laos, Philippines, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Ireland, Norway, Netherlands, Greece, Holland, most of the south/mid West USA, Canada etc.
Our hope for the coming New Year is to celebrate in Spain and Portugal.
Why am I sharing this with you?
Well, why not? Isn't it important to know the folks raising/growing your food?
To know that they are real people?
Adapting, learning, progressing…Constantly being on the move. Backpacking on a budget can teach you a whole lot of things that were never talked about in school.
That was it, that was the change my life needed.
I am a survivor of BED, a form of eating disorder. I am also a ‘recovering-vegetarian’ as well. (Ha-Ha) So this trip really pushed my thought process. Food wasn't an issue, because you could literally see the garden and animals they sourced their food from. Eating in the comfort of a locals home, a small restaurant, it was simple.
Eat to nourish your body.
Breaking away from our American culture taught me so many things; The most important being:
MOST PEOPLE ARE GOOD.
Some of the most sincere and generous people I have met came from the poorest communities. It isn't about wealth, status or career...It is about being a decent human being. I think that right now, we need to hold that close to our hearts. The world is shifting, changing and so are we.
We cannot allow material things to shadow the truths of our souls...The person we want to be, the life we want to live, the things we want to do.