Two farm boys have the time of their lives, help others
Most parents want their children to be prepared for life’s challenges. If your kids have grown up or worked on a farm, the values and work ethic they acquire will give them a definite advantage in any pursuit they choose.
This was evident as 25-year-olds Carl Jensen and Jesse Ford returned this summer from a 19,000-mile motorcycle trip from their hometown of Genesee, Idaho, to the Lapataia Bay at the tip of Argentina in South America, a journey that took almost six months.
They have always been friends and what you might call adventure hounds. Jensen grew up on a family farm and Ford worked on a family farm throughout high school. Upon graduating, they went their separate ways to different universities, studying different subjects, but each of them found a way to travel abroad.
Jensen spent eight months in Cambodia teaching English and working on a farm. Ford traveled all over Africa and Europe, particularly Spain, where he became fluent in Spanish.
"We both wanted to study abroad," Jensen says. "I think that when you live in a small town, you are always searching for more to experience. So you leave and you grow and learn, and then you come back. Both of us have been away and back—we can’t help but return."
A passion for travel. Even while they are gone, they keep a close connection to home. While on their most recent trip, Jensen wrote a blog that was published in the Lewiston (Idaho) Tribune each week to keep the people at home informed of their progress. Upon their return, they gave presentations on their adventures to raise money for scholarships for schools in Cambodia and Belize.
When asked about their philanthropic efforts, Jensen replies, "Even if you start with the intention of having an adventure, it always ends up that you connect with somebody or some experience on your travels. For us that happened multiple times, like going to a local funeral or visiting where Jesse’s uncle volunteered 20 years ago."
Both admit that their background in a small rural town and their roots in agriculture were what bonded them to the people they met along the way. "When you’re so similar, but with different opportunities, you want to help people fill in that gap. That’s why we focus on schools and education, and I think that is something we’ll both keep working with in the future," Jensen says.
What’s ahead for these two young men? Jensen is currently attending the University of California, Davis, where he’s studying international ag development. He wants to follow a career path in Extension, working with smallholder farmers, and return eventually to the family farm. Ford is already back at the family farm where he worked during high school and hopes to return to school in a year for a master’s degree in exercise physiology.
The story of Jensen and Ford reminds us to never underestimate the influence we have on our children or others on the farm—and that food and farming is a universal connection around the world.
To see additional photos of Jensen and Ford’s trip from Genesee, Idaho, to Bay of Lapataia, Argentina, visit www.FarmJournal.com/motorcycle_trip
You can e-mail Pam Fretwell at firstname.lastname@example.org.