Saturday, 8 March 2014


D and I scored a couple of free tickets to watch the Australian movie Tracks the other day.

Based in the 1970s, the movie tells the true story of Robyn Davidson, who travels 2700 kilometres across the harsh Australian desert from Alice Springs to the Indian Ocean, accompanied only by four camels and one dog. She gets the help of an Aboriginal elder for a leg of her trip, and a National Geographic photographer drops in at different times of her trip to document her journey for the magazine (she contacted them to obtain funding for her trip), but for the most part, Robyn is largely alone.

It's a pretty tough trek, across dry, barren land where the only way of knowing which way to go is with the help of a compass. But it's gorgeous country—wild, dangerous and vast. Having a deep insight on the nature of humans and their tendency towards the insignificant and even towards violence and intolerance, Robyn is insistent on going alone, preferring the company of her loyal dog and four camels (including a really adorable baby one!).

To a certain extent, I can understand Robyn's motivation for her trip. As the promo piece says, "Sometimes we have to detach from the world to feel connected to it". Maybe it's from watching one too many episodes of Living With the Amish, but I have been increasingly getting the sense of living in a really crowded world. I don't necessarily mean it from an overpopulation perspective, but more of a mental and spiritual kind of sense.

Case in point, I'm currently sitting in the living room, watching a rerun of The Mask, sitting next to D, each with a laptop on our laps. I'm not sure why I'm still here, as I really do feel bombarded by the television with its shouty advertisements and movie trailers (we usually watch recorded shows and skip through ads).

Robyn escaped the world in the 1970s, before the internet and social media boom. She needed it then, and I do wonder if we need it even more so now. We are more connected than ever before, and yet disconnected all at the same time. Our minds are constantly on what's happening in cyberspace that I feel sometimes we miss what's happening right before our very eyes. We are constantly told that we need more, want more and have to buy more. The irony of it is that by writing this entry, I'm creating yet another message in the world that we most likely do not need.

Perhaps therein lies the charm of disconnecting and cutting off from the world and from people. To go into the wild and experience life in its rawest from. Maybe that's why I feel so refreshed after a camping trip, where computers and mobile phones are left behind and we spend time connecting with each other and the world around us.

Of course, there is no way I'm going to do a Robyn and embark on a 190-day trek across the desert (not including the months prior spent learning about training camels and living in the wild). I'm too soft for that. Not to mention the fact that I would actually miss human company. But it serves as a good reminder about the things in life that do matter, the ones unrelated to being plugged in.

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