“To understand the wolf, you must put on the skin of a wolf and look through its eyes”.
For young Australian adventurer Tim Cope, this was the journey of a lifetime – travelling 10,000kms alone on horseback across the Eurasian steppe through Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine and Hungary.
From the former Mongol capital Karakorum to the Danube, Tim retraced the path of the first nomads and followed the route taken by legendary Genghis Khan as he forged his great empire. Over three and a half gruelling years, and guided by an old Kazakh wisdom – “to understand the wolf, you must put on the skin of a wolf and look through its eyes” – Tim lived just as the ancient nomads did.
When he set out with his fearless dog Tigon as a companion there was no certainty – no backup from a camera crew, no escape route – and he could barely ride a horse. Ahead lay wolf-infested plateaux, the glaciated Altai Mountains, minus fifty degree temperatures on the ‘starving steppe’, scorching heat in the Kazakh desert, violent clashes between sedentary and nomadic societies and the deep forests and treacherous peals of the Carpathians. He would also suffer the greatest tragedy of his life. To cope he would have to draw on everything he learnt from the nomads.
The extreme challenges gave Tim empathy and insight into the nomadic way of life, and as a young man growing up; the journey became a personal rite of passage. Along the way, just as the nomads did, Tim sought refuge with local families, who welcomed him with open arms, traditional nomad hospitality and taught him the ways of the steppe.
At the end of his journey, Tim arrived on the Danube having achieved the first crossing of the steppe in modern times.