Connie G's Reviews > Tracks: A Woman's Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback

Tracks by Robyn Davidson
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really liked it
bookshelves: australia, non-fiction, travel, autobiography-memoir

Robyn Davidson was a young woman who had a dream of traveling with camels through the bush of the northern and western areas of Australia. She arrived in Alice Springs with her dog and six dollars, hoping to find work and learn to train camels. After two years she still did not have the funds to start on her trek, so she signed a contract with "National Geographic" to allow a photographer to spend a few days with her several times during the trip.

Davidson was a hard working, tenacious woman who loved the camels and her dog. She felt that she enjoyed being around animals more than people. It did occasionally make me cringe when she had to discipline the animals to keep them in line, but the camels were tricky, intelligent, and stubborn. The "camel lady" set off from Alice Springs and traveled six months through the Aboriginal Reserve areas and the desert, westward to the Indian Ocean.

Davidson tended to overreact to the presence of Rick Smolan, the camera man. The trip would not have been possible without the National Geographic sponsorship. He was also very helpful obtaining water and food for the camels so she could continue across the desert. She wanted the trip to be a personal journey, and had a hard time compromising during the three times Smolan drove out into the desert to photograph. By the end of the trip, she valued his friendship.

In addition to her interesting travel story, she also wrote about the sexism and racism that was present in 1970s Australia. She was especially concerned about the treatment of the Aborigines who had been rounded up into special areas (similar to the way the Native Americans were treated in North America). My favorite part of the book was when she walked with an older Pitjantjara man for several weeks, gaining a close connection with the environment. Davidson was a daring, gutsy woman who set a goal, and although she was not the most organized person, she reached it. I enjoyed this colorful memoir set in the bush of Australia.
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Reading Progress

September 19, 2014 – Shelved
September 19, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
September 19, 2014 – Shelved as: australia
September 19, 2014 – Shelved as: non-fiction
September 19, 2014 – Shelved as: travel
September 19, 2014 – Shelved as: autobiography-memoir
June 6, 2015 – Started Reading
June 9, 2015 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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Howard I'm a great fan of travel books, but this one took more courage than most to complete. Just dealing with camels, hugely necessary for travel in a hot, dry environment, but one of the orneriest creatures on the planet, would be enough to deter me.

In viewing the cover I sure hope she packed sunscreen. But probably not since it was the 1970s.

Superb review, BTW.


Connie G Howard wrote: "I'm a great fan of travel books, but this one took more courage than most to complete. Just dealing with camels, hugely necessary for travel in a hot, dry environment, but one of the orneriest cre..."

Thanks for your kind comments, Howard. I really enjoyed the book, especially the parts about the camels and the Aborigines. My sister and niece rode camels for a short distance when they were in port during a Mediterranean cruise, and said it was a very rocky ride as the camels swayed back and forth.

Robyn Davidson had the fear that her camels would run away from her in the desert when they were approached by feral camels. If they left her, her water supply in the camels' packs was also gone. Health issues could also have been very dangerous. You're right that it took a lot of courage to cross the desert by herself.


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