30 Second Snapshot
Name: Jakob von Plessen
Your home base: Buenos Aires
Aside from a passport, the three items you always travel with: Leatherman, Tums and a credit card.
Your perfect meal on the road – what and where: An Asado… anywhere in Argentina!
The best thing you’ve read in the last 6 months: “Life on the Edge”, the biography of my friend, mentor and boss, Tristan Voorspuy.
Your travel soundtrack: Alabama Shakes, “Always Alright”.
The one place you’ve been that you think everyone should visit, and why: Patagonia because you can feel and hear the Earth move.
The one place you’ll always return to, no matter how many times: Home, where my horses are.
The one Never-Have-I-Ever destination that you hope to visit, and why: Alaska for the bears.
The one thing that most surprised you on your last trip: We went to Brazil for a beach holiday and it turns out my daughter is terrified of the sea.
Austrian by name, Argentinian by nature, meet Jakob von Plessen, a charismatic modern-day gaucho and horse whisperer. Home is El Boqueron, a sleepy estancia deep in Argentina’s Pampas, where guests come for a stopover en route to Patagonia and end up staying for days, drawn to the tranquil pace of gaucho life and hooked on the daily routine of polo playing, poolside lounging and evening asados. Jakob spends his time between the Pampas, preparing his horses for their yearly relocation down south, and Patagonia, where guests can join him on a riding safari and remarkable adventure exploring the Patagonian peaks, sleeping in luxury camps along the way. Having spent many years as a guide in Kenya’s Maasai Mara, as well as some hairy moments on horseback, we caught up with Jakob to be inspired by his adventures so far and to find out what’s next.
What did your “This is What I’m Going to Do” moment look like?
That only happened when I found myself bed-bound for three months after busting myself in a riding accident and not knowing if I was going to be able to ride again. I guess touching rock bottom gave me motivation.
How would you describe a typical day?
Up early, mate (the national drink of Argentina) and rounding up the horses for tacking, packing and off on a full day riding through the mountains.
What is your favourite part of what you do?
Just watching my horses work, seeing them in good condition and drinks around the campfire.
Having lived in Argentina all your life, how have you seen the country change and flourish?
Well that is a controversial question since it has been a bit regressive in my opinion. It’s a beautiful country but politically and economically very unstable.
As an avid traveller, other than Argentina, where in the world inspires you?
I lived in Kenya for almost 15 years. I have experienced my happiest and saddest moments there. Living on the edge makes you feel very alive.
If you weren’t leading safaris in Patagonia what would you be doing?
Leading them in Kenya.
Finally, where have you set your sights on next?
Not full time but I would love to return to Kenya one day and I fantasise sometimes of setting up somewhere completely different. Norway looks stunning. Georgia maybe. I am Austrian so we have been joking with friends about setting up JakoJodel in the Alps.
Photo credits: Michael Turek