By Stephanie Rebman
The Internet is pretty good to Are Morch.
He was introduced to his wife online and he runs a hotel blogging business. He is also able to network and help another of his passions, horses.
But it was a journey to land Morch, 51, in west Tupelo from his hometown in the northern part of Norway. A friend of his who moved to the United States for love introduced Morch to Pat Newby online and there was a “click.” They met in 1998, traveled back and forth between continents and married in 1999. After living in Florida and South Carolina, the Morches headed to Tupelo in 2008 to be closer to Pat’s parents in Ripley.
Currently, Morch is self-employed as a hotel blogger and also works on a contract basis with the Social Security Administration.
“The beauty of it is you can do it from Tupelo,” he said. “The beauty of living inside the city with 10 acres for an affordable price – you can’t beat that. I can have horses inside the city and make a difference inside the city.”
Morch uses networking and social media to make hotels appealing, no matter the client’s generation.
“Because of the economy, things are changing for hotels,” he said. “What we see is a lot of hotels seeking out new ways to advertise and market services.”
He studies trends, collaborates with bloggers and hotels and partners with vendors.
“A lot of people tend to make last-minute reservations” on their tablets, smartphones and other handheld technology, he said. Morch finds a way to make hotels more accessible to gadget-users and makes hotels more aware of patterns and habits of the consumer.
“I help them get visibility through my networks,” he said.
Working from home gives him the chance to keep an eye on his three rescue dogs and four rescue horses. He supported Have A Heart Horse Rescue when it was operating in the region and now helps the nonprofit Mississippi Horses, and encourages others to do the same.
“Abused and neglected horses are the sweetest horses you can have,” he said. “They show they know they’re in a better place through affection.”
And he is a firm advocate of educating people about horse ownership and has a few ideas up his sleeve to remind people “it’s a privilege to have a horse.”
“When you take on the responsibility of a horse, you need to provide it with food, shelter and care,” he said. “If you can’t provide that, it’s not either or you have to do it. A horse is a big responsibility and parents shouldn’t give into children just because they want it.
“From my perspective, I think people need to be educated. I’d love to see animal care in the school system from an early age. They need to understand animals also need to be cared for, that when they get tired of it or don’t like it anymore, you can’t just drop it off on the street, beat it or choose not to feed it. It doesn’t work like that.”
The Morches are contemplating the idea of a “horse motel” where rescue horses can have a place to live and they would develop it as an educational center for children and their parents. It could be like a summer camp setting where people come learn how to properly care for a horse and the Morches can teach “the values.”
Growing up in Europe, Morch and his dad traveled frequently and stayed at many bed and breakfasts and most of them had a horse stall where he would help out in the mornings. He said getting back to that concept would teach a new generation how to care for animals and bring back memories for him.
He does miss the mountains of Europe, but Tupelo is home … and he enjoys the weather.
“I was born in nine months of winter and three months of bad skiing,” he jokes.