extremely honest and beautifully written book where it is obvious
that the author has a deep affinity, not only with the Australian
landscape but also with the Australian psyche.
Robyn's trek from Alice Springs in the centre of Australia to the
Atlantic Ocean on the far west of the continent was 2735.88 kilometres; it was an amazing journey undertaken with only four
camels and a dog for company.
Having walked with one of my sons (no camels or
dog) across part of Western Australia, a distance amounting to about a third
of Robyn's trek, I fully understood her feelings of being one with
the landscape and her all-encompassing need to be on her own. I also
understood her reference to people in well-equipped 4WDs rushing
through areas of singular beauty and yet missing it all because of
focus on the next photo or on
being able to tick off one more thing from a long list of things to
understand the landscape, it is necessary to be able to relate with
it physically. You have to feel the sand and the small rocks and the
prickly bushes; you have to be able to physically touch branches and
grasses and feel the cold creek water numbing your legs. You have to
be able to look around you at a circular horizon, knowing that,
within that space, there is only you and the landscape.
is indisputable that this was something that Robyn really wanted to
spite of the
many hurdles and fears to be overcome.
I felt that she was very aware of the importance of being able to
push ourselves beyond our 'comfort zone'. If we do not challenge
ourselves, mentally, physically and even emotionally, there is a
danger of stagnation.
By surpassing the limitations - the need for
conformity - imposed upon us by society and fear of being different,
we are able to find ourselves. Robyn
does not suggest that everyone should traipse across the desert with
a few camels and a dog, but she does suggest that we dare take that
step beyond conformity.
she writes in the very last paragraph: Camel trips (whatever form
they may take) ‘...
do not begin or end, they merely change form.’
was made into a film with the same name. Hear what Robyn thought of
the film -
an interview with the ABC.