I recently graduated from college and I am unsure what my next move in life is. Traveling across the state on my bicycle has given me plenty of time to think. I take in my surroundings. I notice how the birds are communicating with one another. I notice how trees help bring shade to our earth; How the clouds create patterns across the sky. All of these things serve a purpose, whether it is small or big. Recently, I have been trying to figure out my purpose in this world.

I have met several people along this cycling tour who are living a purposeful life. Leah Pinkner is a ranch apprentice on Shane Moe’s ranch near Twodot, Montana. Under an apple tree near a pasture filled with pigs, Leah told me about her journey to becoming an apprentice rancher. She changed careers from being a plant biologist to taking her skills to the ground (literally) to focus on regenerative ranching. When contemplating whether or not she should take the leap of following her dreams to become a rancher, she said she asked herself, “What is going to make me happy?”

Leah has used her skills as a biologist to experiment with different techniques on the ranch. With her husband Jesse, who is also an apprentice, she has added specific tools to help improve the use of the land on Moe’s ranch. She and Jesse have started their own side business, Honest Harvest, adding chickens, pigs, a greenhouse and vermiculture application to the ranch. Leah explained the techniques and scientific reasoning behind each of these practices. She helped me understand that although all of these things are really cool, they take hard work and planning.

I witnessed her in her element and saw how wholesome and grounding it was for her. She is living her dreams and is doing something that fills her cup. She is making a difference within the small community of the Moe ranch.

Leah studied biology, I studied public health. I decided on public health because I knew I wanted to make a difference in the health realm. I am not afraid of hard work, dedication, or persevering to take a new route. I just finished my degree in college. I am still figuring out where I stand in the public health field and what road to follow career wise. I am unsure of what the future holds for me, but I am hoping to find a purpose in my life. So I ask myself, “Can I find a place where I can make a difference that makes me happy, too?”

One Reply to “Riding in Search of a Purpose by Alex Donaldson”

  • Good to hear your thoughts and explorations about your future and finding purpose. I worked as a Public Health Nurse and loved the diversity that combining community and health work provided. Good luck with your search.

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