Robyn Davidson’s book is one of those things that challenges you because it describes something that is so utterly alien. And there’s more than a few reasons why, on the surface, I thought there would be little to relate to when I began reading her account of a trek across nearly two thousand miles of Australian desert. For instance:
- Despite the fact that I have lived my entire life in Australia, I have never seen more than a few patches of desert through a car window.
- My tolerance for hot weather peaks at about twenty degrees Celsius.
- I have a deathly fear of anything that clicks or slithers.
- I have never, nor do I ever intend to, sleep in a ‘tent’.
- Cleanliness is an issue with me; so much so that I am prone to anxiety attacks if I don’t shower at least once a day.
- Since the fourth grade, when we learnt about the dangers of melanoma, I react to sunlight in the same way that your average teenage vampire does: by slapping on three layers of skin-concealing shirts and scurrying into the welcoming shade of the nearest building/tree/bus shelter, arms held above my head like it’s raining locusts.