“Robyn Davidson” quotes I love… but who is Robyn?

“And there are new kinds of nomads, not people who are at home everywhere, but who are at home nowhere. I was one of them ”
― Robyn Davidson, Desert Places

This quote caught my attention right away. I knew I had to watch the film until the very end… no falling asleep like I often do when we begin a film as late as when it’s time for most folks to call it a day, especially on week nights. Robyn is a nomad first, a writer later — that’s how I view her. This is an opinion I’ve formed last night after watching just this single film, “Tracks”, based on her own book, “Tracks: A Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback”.

It was not as much the cinematography, nor some fantasy depicted on celluloid… it was this young girl’s arduous journey that was utterly fascinating. No one urged Robyn to embark upon this long trek… an idea that was preposterous in itself. Was it the turmoil within her that spurred her into seeking camels, training them to accompany her across the desert — miles and miles and miles of land that would eventually lead her to the Indian Ocean. Yes, she had chalked out her route, and with a compass that her father – an explorer (or gold digger) – gifted her before she left Alice Springs, a town located in the geographic heart of the continent, Down Under, she set afoot on her journey.

Referred to as “The Camel Lady” by those who saw her walking with Diggity, her best friend – her dog, (you guessed right) and a train of four camels lugging all she would need along the way, she went on and on relentless… Dookie, Bub, Zeleika, and Goliath followed her. Somewhere along the line her trek was sponsored by The National Geographic Magazine – no less. She disliked the idea – intensely – but finally relented, accepting their assistance, and Rick Smolan’s attention — albeit, sparingly. She wanted to be alone. Period. She did not set off on this journey for money, and nor did she seek fame. But those who seek not, shall receive.

Robyn Davidson — I looked her up this morning – and voilà, what do I find? An accomplished author in her own right, for some time she was in a relationship with Salman Rushdie… really! My guess is it must have been during the time he was writing The Satanic Verses, but before his book was published in 1988. Just my wild guess… no doubt, Robyn’s trek across the wilderness of the outback had been long completed in the late 1970s – in fact, during the most part of 1977 – nine months in all. She had been there, done that, and then some… shot wild camel bulls, traversed through land of the indigenous Australians (but respecting their ‘secret’ rites and rituals) – but not without ‘Eddie’, her Warakurna guide and companion for many hundred miles.

“FOR THE NEXT TWO DAYS Eddie and I walked together, we played charades trying to communicate and fell into fits of hysteria at each other’s antics. We stalked rabbits and missed, picked bush foods and generally had a good time. He was sheer pleasure to be with, exuding all those qualities typical of old Aboriginal people — strength, warmth, self-possession, wit, and a kind of rootedness, a substantiality that immediately commanded respect.”
― Robyn Davidson, Tracks: One Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1,700 Miles of Australian Outback

People, if there’s even a little of the Bohemian in you, a dash of daring, or the armchair curiosity to see the grit and gumption of this ‘dynamo’, here’s a film you must watch. Mia Wasikowska, who plays the lead role of the adult Robyn will keep you glued to the edge of your seat, while she gazes at the stars above, laying on her sleeping gear in the wilderness of Australia.

Yes, “Tracks” (2013)  brings drama, adventure and the zest to tread into the unknown… all at once, in your living room.

“I could not get used to the idea of there being classes of people inherently inferior to oneself, to whom one could be as odiously condescending or downright brutal as one likes, yet with whom one lived as intimately as family.”
― Robyn Davidson, Desert Places

“… It is better to proceed with one’s duty in the service of others than wallow in the pain attachments bring”
― Robyn Davidson, Desert Places

“To be free one needs constant and unrelenting vigilance over one’s weaknesses. A vigilance which requires a moral energy most of us are incapable of manufacturing. We relax back into the moulds of habit. They are secure, they bind us and keep us contained at the expense of freedom. To break the moulds, to be heedless of the seductions of security is an impossible struggle, but one of the few that count. To be free is to learn, to test yourself constantly, to gamble. It is not safe. I had learnt to use my fears as stepping stones rather than stumbling blocks, and best of all I had learnt to laugh.”
― Robyn Davidson, Tracks: One Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1,700 Miles of Australian Outback

“Because if you are fragmented and uncertain it is terrifying to find the boundaries of yourself melt. Survival in a desert, then, requires that you lose this fragmentation, and fast. It is not a mystical experience, or rather, it is dangerous to attach these sorts of words to it.”
― Robyn Davidson, Tracks: One Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1,700 Miles of Australian Outback


 

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