What I Was Reading – Tracks by Robyn Davidson


I’m going to start a new thing where I let you guys know of any awesome books I’ve been reading while I’ve been away. I’m trying to stick to Australian type books, adventure books or travel books. I have a long list of to-be-reads and I’m slowly ticking them off the list!

So this is the first one, Tracks by Robyn Davidson.

This is amazing story of a young woman in the 1970’s who decided to uproot her life in Brisbane, and moved to Alice Springs in order to ride her camels across the desert. Crazy, no? Back in the 70’s it was even crazier – to think that a woman could do this, on her own (and with the help of her awesome dog, Diggity)! Meeting many indigenous peoples and tribes along the way, Robyn endures battling off wild male camels and fighting through insanity, the heat and sun.

National Geographic caught wind of her endeavour, and sought to photograph her on her journey, which she begrudgingly allowed. The story of her, her four camels – Dookie, Bub, Zeleika and baby Goliath – and Diggity trekking across 1,700 miles of Australian outback traveled far and wide due to National Geographic, and she soon became a one-woman sensation.

Robyn wrote this book two years after she finished her trek across the great Australian desert, and it was decided that it would not be edited at all. The story she tells is raw, emotional, sometimes over-bearing, honest and demands to be felt. It’s as if you’re right beside her – sometimes in her own head – as she works with these amazing beasts she calls friends, making tracks across the desert one day at a time.

Rick Smolan photographed her journey across the outback, meeting up with her several times by car. Some of the amazing photos he took are below.

 “As I look back on the trip now, as I try to sort out fact from fiction, try to remember how I felt at that particular time, or during that particular incident, try to relive those memories that have been buried so deep, and distorted so ruthlessly, there is one clear fact that emerges from the quagmire. The trip was easy. It was no more dangerous than crossing the street, or driving to the beach, or eating peanuts. The two important things that I did learn were that you are as powerful and strong as you allow yourself to be, and that the most difficult part of any endeavor is taking the first step, making the first decision. And I knew even then that I would forget them time and time again and would have to go back and repeat those words that had become meaningless and try to remember. I knew even then that, instead of remembering the truth of it, I would lapse into a useless nostalgia. Camel trips, as I suspected all a long, and as I was about to have confirmed, do not begin or end, they merely change form.”
― Robyn DavidsonTracks: A Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback

This is an amazing story that I think anyone traveling to, or through, Australia should read. It made me want, more than anything else, to travel to Alice Springs, to sleep under the stars in the Australian outback, and to meet the indigenous peoples of Australia. It made me feel, and think, and to think again.

What was the last book you’ve read? Would you recommend it to someone to read on the road? Let me know in the comments below!


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