Sunday, June 18, 2017

Tracks ~ by Robyn Davidson

Tracks: One Woman's Journey Across 1,700 Miles of Australian Outback ~ by Robyn Davidson, 1982, 2012, memoir (Australia), 8/10
The story of one woman’s solo adventure across the Australian outback, accompanied by her faithful dog Diggity and four unpredictable camels.  Robyn Davidson was twenty-seven when she started out from Alice Springs, a dodgy town at the frontier of the vast Australian desert.  She was intent on walking the 1,700 miles of desolate landscape between Alice Springs and the Indian Ocean, a personal pilgrimage.  This is the story of her journey and the love-hate relationships she develops along the way ― with the Red Center of Australia, with aboriginal culture, with a handsome photographer, and especially with her lovable and cranky camels:  Bub, Dookie, Zeleika, and Goliath.
In that cover photo above, the little camel behind the larger three is Goliath, Zeleika's baby.  Diggity dog is bringing up the end of the line.  I wish I'd found this map before I started reading the book.  Robyn, who walked most of the way while leading the camels, pondered some deep things on this journey:
"In different places, survival requires different things, based on the environment.  Capacity for survival may be the ability to be changed by environment" (p. 192).

"The good Lord in his infinite wisdom gave us three things to make life bearable ― hope, jokes and dogs, but the greatest of these was dogs" (p. 207).

"When we stopped at midday, I always sat the camels down under some shade for an hour's rest.  They deserved it, welcomed it, and would sit gazing off into the distance chewing their cuds, engrossed in deep camel speculation about the meaning of life" (p. 212).
Finally, here she is at the end of the journey, in the ocean with one of the camels.  Can you read the words at the bottom of the picture?  "How do you say farewell to camels that have crossed a desert with you?  I found no right way except to take them for one last swim in the ocean before leaving them with..."  Here's the rest of that thought:  She left the camels with Jan and David Thomson of Woodleigh station (p. 247).
"The camels were thunderstruck at the sight of that ocean.  They had never seen so much water.  Globs of foam raced up the beach and tickled their feet so that they jumped along on all fours ― Bub nearly sent me flying.  They would stop, turn to stare at it, leap sideways, look at one another with their noses all pointed and ridiculous, then stare at it again, then leap forward again" (p. 250).

"Jan and David arrived with the truck and I loaded my now plump and cheeky beasties on it and took them back to their retirement home" (p. 252).


Helen's Book Blog said...

That's an amazing journey! I love the idea of camels frolicking in the waves!

Unknown said...

Her story truly is encouraging for the common person.
I wonder if she ever visited her camels again?