• September 19, 2014

Rick Smolan’s Trek with TRACKS, from Australian Outback to Silver Screen

In 1977 photographer Rick Smolan was traveling in Australia on assignment for Time magazine when he encountered an angry woman in the small town of Alice Springs. Little did he know that 37 years later their story would be dramatized by movie stars.

“I was sent to do a story on Aborigines,” Smolan says. “I walked out of my hotel, and I looked up and saw Robyn washing the windows. I took some pictures and she got really pissed off and started yelling at me: ‘Put your f—–g cameras down!’ I went to explain what I was doing, and she said, ‘Oh, you’re American…What are you, some kind of journalistic parasite here photographing the Aborigines?'”

The woman was Robyn Davidson—the so-called “camel-lady” who undertook a 1,700-mile trek from Alice Springs to the Indian Ocean on foot with four camels and a dog as her companions. “TRACKS” is the movie version of her epic journey and evolving relationship with Smolan.

When Davidson embarked on her ambitious walk across the Australian Outback she didn’t think it was that big of a deal. She didn’t tell anybody why she was going, and she mostly wanted to be left alone. But she also needed money, so Smolan helped introduce her to editors at National Geographic who offered funding in exchange for her story. In turn, 28-year-old Smolan was assigned to photograph her trip for the magazine. Davidson just wished he would go away.

Picture of Robyn Davidson
Davidson said she felt the trip work magic on her in strange and unexpected ways. “When there is no one to remind you what society’s rules are, and there is nothing to keep you linked to that society, you had better be prepared for some startling changes.”
Photograph by Rick Smolan/Against All Odds Productions

“She told me ‘I only want you to come out once,’ and I said ‘No, I have to come a number of times,’” says Smolan. The problem was, although Davidson had been training her camels and preparing for the trip for years, Smolan had no experience in the outback.

“I went to Alice Springs and bought way too much stuff. I was such a rube. I had no idea what I was doing. I wasn’t even a boy scout,” Smolan cheerfully recounted. “My friends in New York thought it was really funny that I was assigned to the outback. I was so completely clueless.”

Picture of Adam Driver
Adam Driver portrays photographer Rick Smolan in the new movie "TRACKS."
Photograph by Matt Nettheim/Courtesy of See-Saw Films

Over Davidson’s nine-month trek, Smolan visited her five times. While she initially resisted his presence, eventually they became friends, then started a brief romance. Smolan didn’t tell his editors about the affair—the relationship would have been frowned upon. But as he continued to document Davidson’s journey he became an inextricable part of her story.

“I had to decide whether my allegiances were with her or the Geographic,” says Smolan. “Even with her fierceness there was something about her that was very vulnerable. I felt very protective of her, even though she didn’t want to be protected. Every time I left her, I wondered if it was the last time I would ever see her again. She could have died out there.”

Picture of Robyn Davidson
Evening temperatures in the desert often dropped below freezing, so a warm fire was a welcome way to end a hard day’s work. After making camp, Robyn Davidson would cook dinner and then listen to teaching tapes that taught her to speak Pitjantjara, the local aboriginal dialect.
Photograph by Rick Smolan/Against All Odds Productions

Along her trek, Davidson suffered multiple hardships, including dehydration, sick camels, the poisoning of her beloved dog, and intrusions by curious people who would simply not leave her alone. At one point, when Smolan heard a rumor that she was lost in the desert, he high-tailed it from Asia to Australia to track her down, unwittingly leading a mob of other frenzied journalists along with him. Davidson was furious.

She eventually made it to the Indian Ocean where she took her camels for a triumphant swim. It was the end of her physical journey, but the beginning of her sharing her story with the world—first in the 1978 National Geographic article, and later in her best-selling memoir called TRACKS.

Picture of Robyn Davidson
After walking almost 1,700 miles across the heart of the Australian Outback, Davidson and her camels arrived at the Indian Ocean. Never having seen a body of water larger than a puddle before, her camels were mesmerized.
Photograph by Rick Smolan/Against All Odds Productions

When the story was published, Davidson told Smolan she hated the photos in the magazine, and she was dissatisfied with the editing of the piece.

“I think she didn’t like the pictures because she thought [they were] my experience, not hers,” says Smolan. “In a way, it’s true, because I was only there for portions of the trip. I wasn’t there for the moments of panic. But now, with the passage of time, Robyn loves the photos.”

Picture of National Georgraphic cover
Rick Smolan’s photo of Robyn Davidson was featured on the cover of the May 1978 issue of National Geographic.

The images from 1977 have a timeless, cinematic quality to them. The light is golden. The camels are dusty. Davidson’s face is streaked with dirt. You can almost smell the campfires, imagine the silence, and conjure both the difficulty and the romance of the trek.

“I used to develop the film myself in Sydney or Melbourne to show her. And the more beautiful I made her look the more she hated them,” Smolan says. “You made me look like a goddamn model,” she told him.

Robyn Davidson photographed in the outback for the original 1977 National Geographic assignment.
Robyn Davidson photographed in 1977 for the original National Geographic assignment.
Photograph by Rick Smolan/Against All Odds Productions

“I got in huge trouble with the Geographic because you weren’t supposed to develop your own film,” he continued. “But one of the challenges was that she didn’t wear clothes a lot and I didn’t want to send pictures of her naked.”

Smolan later published more photos from the trip in his 1992 book From Alice to Ocean. Those images helped set the stage for the film version of “TRACKS,” starring Mia Wasikowska as Davidson, and Adam Driver as Smolan. “They used the book to set the color palate and tone [of the film],” he says.

Robyn Davidson with her dog, Diggity, in 1977. (Left) Actor Mia Wasikowska is seen with the movie-version of Diggity at Ayers Rock in 2014. (Right).
Robyn Davidson with her dog, Diggity, in 1977. (Left) Actor Mia Wasikowska is seen with the movie-version of Diggity at Ayers Rock in 2014. (Right)
Photos by Rick Smolan/Against All Odds Productions.
Picture of Adam Driver and Mia Wasikowska
In the movie "TRACKS" the character of Rick Smolan (played by Adam Driver) photographs a reluctant Robyn Davidson (played by Mia Wasikowska) at Ayers Rock.
Photograph by Matt Nettheim/Courtesy of See-Saw Films

Smolan and Davidson both traveled to Australia to spend time on the set.

“It was very surreal to watch people wearing our clothes, dressed up like us—the whole thing was very surreal. I hadn’t been back there since the trip. It’s completely the same,” says Smolan.

He says he was pleased the filmmakers stayed true to the details of the journey, including the mystery of Davidson’s motivations for her trip, as well as the nuances of their relationship.

“[The movie makes] her coldness and nastiness, and my goofiness, very extreme, but I think they did a good job capturing the friendship. When you go through something like that with someone— something that is so emotionally intense—a friendship lasts a really long time,” Smolan says. “She asked me whether I wondered what would’ve happened if we’d stayed together—and I said we’d probably be divorced and hate each other now.”

Rick Smolan and Adam Driver are seen on the set of "TRACKS." (Left) Robyn Davidson and Mia Wasikowska are pictured together. (Right)
Rick Smolan and Adam Driver are seen on the set of "TRACKS." (Left) Robyn Davidson and Mia Wasikowska are pictured together. (Right)
Photographs by Matt Nettheim/Courtesy of See-Saw Films

Instead, the two have remained friends. Smolan is married with two children, and has published a series of photo books with his wife, Jennifer Erwitt. He reflects that traveling with Davidson—and having to make tough choices about covering and becoming involved in her story—ultimately changed his career.

“[Davidson] asked me after the trip was over, ‘Are you going back to being a prostitute?’ Her point was that I was always going to be a cog in someone else’s machine.”

He says her scorn eventually led him to stop taking assignments and start producing his own photo books, including the wildly successful “Day in the Life” series, which have sold millions of copies worldwide.

He adds that part of the modern day appeal of Davidson’s tale is that it would be almost impossible to do again today. “The reason the filmmakers made the film is because it’s a burden that we can’t ever untether ourselves from civilization now. They are hoping [people] will find the story interesting because it’s about trying to find yourself.”

Picture of Robyn Davidson
Robyn Davidson is pictured with her dog Diggity in the Australian Outback in 1977.
Photograph by Rick Smolan/Against All Odds Productions

Watch Rick Smolan talk live at National Geographic about his experiences in Australia with Robyn Davidson.

Also, hear more from Smolan and Davidson in this video interview from MediaStorm and purchase Inside TRACKS here.

Smolan is co-creator of the best-selling “A Day in the Life” series, which has sold more than three-million copies worldwide. Other projects, among many, include America at Home, America 24/7, The Human Face of Big Data, and The Obama Time Capsule. He is CEO of Against All Odds Productions, and lives in New York with his wife and collaborator Jennifer Erwitt.

There are 109 Comments. Add Yours.

  1. carreviewrelease.com
    June 25, 2016

    Just finished watching this film. So I search a news about Robyn, and here I am now. A little late, because I saw this film in 2016. 🙁

  2. Olga Swarthout
    March 25, 2016

    I love both the beautiful film TRACKS and the National Geographic feature on Robyn Davidson. I can hardly wait to read the book.
    Robyn’s story resonates with me.
    After suffering losses of loved ones, I too am ready to undertake my own trek to the ocean. In this case it will be to Lake Michigan -a place of solace.
    I feel every young woman should see this inspiring film.

  3. Stephanie
    March 6, 2016

    I must agree with some previous comments about the film, the girl looks selfish and she has problem with herself. I feel bad for her dog Diggity and wonder why did she even take her to a dangerous journey. Anyway the film reminds me of how we human love to hold on to things that hurt us, dramatizing them, how we’re addicted to suffering. The girl was broken, but her story could make us rethink our own lives.

  4. lula
    February 16, 2016

    Beautiful movie.

  5. matt
    December 3, 2015

    I’m not sure if the movie is accurate but it portrays this woman as an immature and self-absorbed narcissist who claims her greatest gift in life is her dog who she lets die not in unforeseen circumstances or a sudden event but in a completely avoidable situation that results basically because she’s too lazy, irresponsible and self-absorbed to care for her dog properly. I have no respect whatsoever for the type of person this film portrays this woman as being.

  6. Dave
    November 2, 2015

    As a 12 year old boy I read the story and marveled over the photos. Four years later I left for Australia as a high school exchange student. My experiences there changed my life, and it’s fair to say that I wouldn’t have become so fascinated with the continent and country without having read the article. Across the years I had forgotten Robyn’s story, but it all came back to me as my wife and I watched Tracks last night. Robyn, thank you for making the trip. Robyn and Rick, thank you for the story and the photographs. They changed my life.

  7. Olga
    August 15, 2015

    I had read and was so captured by the story and fotos in NG in 1978 and still have the article. We just saw the film in Italy today and thought it was beautifully done. Robyn Davidson’s personal odyssey is moving and inspiring, and Rick Smolan’s fotos beautiful. Grazie di cuore!

  8. gina
    August 12, 2015

    one willing to take her own life into her hands will not hesitate to take the lives of others. thank you, robyn and rick, for taking mine into yours.

    June 8, 2015

    What a wonderful story, its amazing… The photos have just inspired me …. Thank you for bringing this to life Robyn Davidson and Rick Smolan

  10. Ruth Leliunas
    May 21, 2015

    Read your book years ago in Italy where I now live and loved it and have recently watched the film which made me cry. I was in the Alice in 1976 worked at the the Steak House which probably doesn’t exist any longer and lived in the Hostel then in a house with a girl called Lew and a Young guy who passed away at the age of 24. I was making my way around Australia on my own and the Alice was the last leg of my journey. Doris Lessing is one of my favourite Authors and has taught me many things through her books I’m sorry she passed away but I’m sure she still speaks to us. Sorry I didn’t meet you in 76 but spiritually we saw something rare and beautiful out there. Thank you for sharing your jouney. Love Ruth

  11. Christine McCallister
    May 20, 2015

    Seen the movie 5 times. Now I have Robyn’s Book ‘Tracks’. Pleasure 100%

  12. Emily
    May 6, 2015

    Watched the film twice. It is a beautiful story about a courageous, young woman who chose to follow her dream in spite of the odds against her.

    I can personally relate to her preference for the company of animals to people and the desire to get lost in nature; get away from city noise and the trappings of modern day life.

    Australia is stunning!

  13. Louis Perschke
    May 2, 2015

    Drove a Meyers Manx from Port Hedland, Wilnuna, Carnegie Station, Warburton, Broken Hill and Toowoomba to Brisbane.in 1972. The movie revived a lot of wonderful memories of my five years traveling in Australia especially the gracious hospitality of everyone.

  14. Mark Patterson
    May 1, 2015

    Amazing and beautiful film about an incredible journey and an inspirational lady. You can do so much more than you think.

  15. joyfulsunrise
    April 29, 2015

    Stunning heart warming film ~ emotional and strong ~ suggest after watching read the Nat’l Geographic story…great coming of age film for your daughters and grand daughters ~Robyn is amazingly brave~sensitive~ very in tune with herself

  16. krystal r
    April 29, 2015

    It seemed at first that she was mad at the world and everything in it..but later in the movie she does realize that its hard being alone…no one is happy to be alone forever.. we are not to be alone forever…even the almighty created a son….are we more enlightened then the father…of corse not…

    April 25, 2015


  18. carolyn kirkby
    April 25, 2015

    Watched the film last night and it was stunning. Inspiring and heartwarming. The photography was amazing. Thank you for a beautiful film

  19. Jay Stemple
    April 23, 2015

    Whoever the casting director was for this film needs an award. How spot on could you possibly get?

  20. Dr Diane Gartland
    April 22, 2015

    Awesome film, book and journey; iconic of those of us women of the seventies who eschewed the conventional idea of woman to make the fearless trek through life without husband or children in the name of freedom of self and the wider embrace and love for all humankind

  21. Lily Mae
    April 19, 2015

    A rare gem of a movie, well made and enjoyable. Miss Davidson, you were a courageous young women, I hope you are well, thanks for sharing a piece of your life.

  22. Don
    April 19, 2015

    I loved this movie and Maybe without and maybe without Ricks Smolan’s help Robyn Davidson would not be able to make the journey. Honestly I think she would have done it on her own. Rick gives Robyn credit for his career shift to be freelance and going independent. But Rick after looking at The NOW AND THEN project I cant help but think Robyn is right about the prostitute comment. So much talent completely bought off. You are so much better than that.

    • Perry
      April 20, 2015

      Maybe a man/woman IS an island into him/herself. Maybe people don’t need people.

      • l w c
        April 22, 2015

        There’s no such thing as a “lone wolf”.

        Because lone wolves don’t survive.

  23. Judy Waterman
    April 18, 2015

    I read your book right after it first came out. I lived vicariously through you and your story, but ultimately, your book instigated me to take off on my own journeys. I have always wondered what became of you. Some years after I read Tracks, a small black kitten was born under my bed from a stray I had taken in and I named him Diggity. He lived with me for 19 years. Seeing the movie tonight kind of brought everything full cycle. I felt your aloneness when reading the book and again as I watched the movie tonight, not the Australian desert for me, but the desert of people. Thank you for bringing your trek to me.

  24. Jackie Oleson
    April 18, 2015

    I will forever remember your story, dog and camels. Thank you.

  25. Anthony Padilla
    April 18, 2015

    Very inspiring story. I came across this initially thinking this was a movie version of one of my favorite books “Walk Among Us” I am glad I was mistaken. Thank you for sharing your journey with my wife and I. I admire your perseverance and probably some of your reasoning was fueled by a need to detach. I thank you a thousand times over Robyn!

  26. Douglas Chick
    April 17, 2015

    Stunningly beautiful.

  27. Donna Rose
    April 17, 2015

    She seems to dislike many thing, but has a love for animals. I wished she would have left her dog Diggy behind with friends, or family.lucky for Rick to stay with her during her trip. he must have been so mesmerized that he just couldn’t leave her behind. if he did? she would be gone for sure.

  28. htgardens/Joyce
    April 16, 2015

    An old rare book dealer once told me, “A rare book isn’t hard to find, but a good book is rare”. Tracks is Rare and Awesome. Robyn, thank you very much for the journey through Personal Growth and Australia.

  29. Patty
    April 15, 2015

    I’m concerned that the movie romanticized the event, although I have not read the book. I’m concerned that young women who watch it will think they should be able to do same without proper covering for body and feet. And men will think they should also. Just very romanticized portrayal. I guess I believe people need people, but she didn’t and I’m having a hard time with that. To me it’s more a story of the people who found her and helped her, but they are not the star of the film. She in her skimpy clothing is the star, the one we are to aspire to.

  30. toni
    April 15, 2015

    “Some ask, “Why?”, others ask, “Why not?”

  31. Luis Valle
    April 15, 2015

    Beautiful personal journey, as good a movie as could be made of such.

  32. Jeff Prager
    April 13, 2015

    AWESOME! Just spectacular!

  33. pat chorzempa
    April 12, 2015

    Fabulously filmed, not a boring piece in it.I felt her voyage.
    Thank You.

  34. liz
    April 4, 2015

    want to watch where can i buy dvd

  35. Kathy Snell
    April 3, 2015

    A fantastic story, What a strong woman you are Robyn Davidson, such an inspiration for all women especially Australians.

  36. Xuhua Xiong
    March 15, 2015

    Really good movie and stories.

  37. Tim Shey
    March 4, 2015

    Very good article. That was quite a trip across the Outback. Australia must be a very beautiful place.

  38. Synnøve Angell
    February 24, 2015

    I look very much forward to see the movie

  39. Dianne
    February 16, 2015

    Spent an enjoyable afternoon watching “Tracks”. My late mother loved stories from Australia and likely had the issue of National Geographic in which this story was published.

    What a rich story! Words are not enough. Thank you for making it into a movie.

  40. Clare Sucloy
    February 11, 2015

    2 hours of pure enjoyment, this movie is a must see, the beauty of the landscape, the agony of being alone, the friendship of the natives and endurance of the camels and man’s best friend, is truly amazing.

  41. Susanne
    February 8, 2015

    Just saw the film on Foxtel this past Saturdsy night. Wish I’d seen it on the big screen…. The critic who said that the Australian landscape was like another character was correct. Stunning visual panoramas leave me in awe of this young woman who showed such courage, such resilience, such gritty determination. An inspiration in every respect. I can’t wait now to read Robyn Davidson’s book “Tracks” and hunt down the National Geographic article from the 70s.

  42. Kelli
    February 7, 2015

    So many times when watching movies I feel as though it”s putting holes in my brain,this movie fills the holes.

  43. Egor Bogdanov
    February 5, 2015

    Поразительная история, замечательный фильм. Зовет на новые путешествия к новым приключениям, но я предпочту мото 🙂

  44. Philippa
    January 25, 2015

    I read the book a few years after it came out and thought it was great .
    I remember the National geographic article and photographs and was inspired.
    I was first apprehensive to see the movie because I was afraid it would not live up to what I had read before. I am very glad that I watched the movie and the accompanying additional interviews on the DVD.
    It inspired me to do a google search and find this site.
    Thank you for getting me in touch with this story again.
    So many people do journeys in their life to get in touch with who they are and take time out of their day to day world to do it. Not all of us can do it.
    But thank goodness there are those who do the journey who invite us with them in their re telling of their story.

  45. Karen Deeks
    January 21, 2015

    Inspiring, beautifully portrayed. I particularly liked that they showed certain things ie snake on neck but didn’t overemphasize it. I wish I’d read the book first.

  46. Rick Smolan
    January 20, 2015

    Its a love story, a dog story, a mystery and an epic adventure. http://bit.ly/InsideTracksBook

  47. Oscar Castillo (Tartagal-Salta-Argentina)
    January 19, 2015

    Maravillosa anecdota, sin duda esos 195 días fueron y seran la mejor parte de su vida,… tán poco cuesta… pero cuanto nos cuesta…

  48. BAB
    January 11, 2015

    What happened to the camel after the trip?Did Robyn and Rick develop a relationship.

  49. Bjarne Holm
    January 4, 2015

    I am a lucky man – I still have not seen the movie but am ecstatically looking forward to it after recently having red the book, which totally blowed me away.

  50. Kim Meyer
    January 3, 2015

    I have both books, read Tracks in the 80’s when I owned Camels myself. I have always been in awe of Robyn and what she achieved, the movie was great I have seen it twice and I agree with Robyn’s comments elsewhere Mia did a great job. I see one or two posters just don’t get it, they have probably lived sheltered lives in big cities and have never seen the Outback or Camels for that matter.

  51. louise
    January 3, 2015

    Amazing lady. Inspirational story. Beautiful movie. My heart broke for the little girl who lost her Mum family and best friend Goldie in one hit. So much for a child to indure, no one could experience this much pain without some impact. I was shattered and my face hurt from crying when you had to say goodbye to your loyal dog Digity. And to see the real you at the end of the movie truly moved me. Robyn if you ever read these comments please ignore the negative remarks. These comments come from narrow minded people made of stone
    People who could never do what you have done have no right to judge. I loved your story so much, I cant help but defend it against hurtful comments. We are all different in this world, attack on anyone’s character can never be made from a stranger that has never walked in your shoes. This comes from a Mother of a mute child. I have watched her be judged for years and its very hurtful, she is the kindest soul who would never hurt the smallest creature but people are quick to push her aside because she is different. She does not want to be around people because its hard for her. I identified with your character in the movie because she behaves the same way as your character did for much of the movie. The smallest gestures can have the most powerful meaning. Actions speak louder than words. I cant think of a more powerful action than the journey you made. A truly beautiful story, thankyou so much for bravely sharing it with the world

  52. holly
    December 10, 2014

    Does anyone have Robyn’s email or any contacts?

  53. Tom Valiente
    December 3, 2014

    I read the article in National Geographic when it first came out. I thought the photographs were incredible and the story was moving! It was sad when Robyn`s dog Diggity had to be put down after eating poisoned dingo bait. I also felt her dislike of some of the Australians and their racist attitudes toward the Aborigines. I never got to read the book but I hope to get a chance to see the movie.

  54. Guy Benson
    December 1, 2014

    Je ne croyais pas que je partagerais avec , Robyn , cette aventure avec autant d’intensité …
    Moment de doute , de foi et de volonté déconcertante , de respect inconditionnelle pour ses bêtes qui lui ont permis ce voyage dans tout son accomplissement …
    Rick , le photographe, de son soutien en parallèle Infaillible qui lui a sauvé la vie …

    Quel épopée ce fut !!!
    Quel bon film !!!

  55. Ross Taylor
    November 23, 2014

    Initially I was reluctant to watch this movie thinking it would be this slow boring thing, but as I have travelled the outback I was more interested in seeing the scenery across the country that part of the outback I hadn’t been however from the moment the movies started and in particular once the trek commenced I became riveted. What Robin did showed a lot of courage and fortitude to continue, amazing outback scenery stuff I hadn’t seen before the isolation that Robin endured was breathtaking ! To Mia and Adam you did this movie justice…well done!

  56. Eudald Domènech
    November 22, 2014

    From Alice to Ocean va ser el meu primer CD-Rom i em va canviar la manera com veia els ordinadors. De fet, aquest CD-Rom venia gratuïtament en els Macintosh que estrenaven també els lector de CD-Roms. Ell treball d’en Rick Smolan va estimular la meva carrera ja que em va obrir els ulls i em va mostrar un nou mont, el molt multimèdia. Vaig canviar l’orientació de la meva agencia de publicitat i va esdevenir una de les primeres agencies multimèdia/Internet d’Espanya.

    November 21, 2014


  58. mohamad
    November 19, 2014

    i love her…

  59. Shari Warezak
    October 31, 2014

    What a lovely story.. the history is amazing. Can not wait to see the movie!

  60. andrea payette
    October 28, 2014

    What an amazing story the movie was grwat and thank you Robin for sharing your journey with the world.
    It truly is a treasure.
    Thank you so much

  61. Helen Bromley
    October 28, 2014

    Amazing book and amazing film.Thoroughly enjoyed both and a fantastic image of the beautiful outback of Australia. Having lived at Ayers Rock for 9 years 20 years later than Robyn did her journey her bravery and courage is beyond comprehension – still wonder what made her decide to undertake such a trek.

  62. Alyssa
    October 22, 2014

    Such a great book!! What an inspiring story. I can’t wait to see how they create the film. Is it bad that I JUST wish the Robyn in the film had an Australian accent?

  63. Karen Kefauver
    October 21, 2014

    Anyone know if the original National Geographic story is online? I assume not.. but just in case let me know. Just saw the movie tonight, will read both books! And want to read the NatGeo story, too. Great article here and interesting comments, too.

  64. vikram
    October 19, 2014

    Amazing… Woman and Camel. First time I seen the scene.

  65. Renee
    October 19, 2014

    I get it.

  66. Patricia Stahl
    October 17, 2014

    Hi Fantastic summary. As an Australian though I find it a bit galling to the Original Australians to call Uluru by its settler name, Ayers Rock. Would be great to see this changed in the summary.
    Regards, Patricia

  67. Barak Berkowitz
    October 13, 2014

    Be sure to support Rick’s book on Kickstarter. Not only is it a great project but a great deal for this book with extras. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1543038739/inside-tracks-alone-across-the-outback

  68. Mark Groh
    October 8, 2014

    A friend suggested I watch this film recently. He lives in NSW and would like to drive this territory someday. I watched the film last evening and was very inspired. Excellent journey indeed.

  69. Elizabeth Todd
    October 4, 2014

    Rick is a sensitive and an incredibly creative, perceptive man. Only he could have brought this story to life through his fabulous photography.

  70. Carleen B. Talbot
    October 3, 2014

    Your article opened an entire new world to me, one which I never dreamed existed and one which I could never enter. At 88 years of age, I can only dream of such an adventure!

  71. Jeff Ramsey
    October 2, 2014

    Tracks the film is superb recreation of an amazing journey. Courage and determination. The statement
    about dogs is what touched me the most, Diggity a gem, having to put Diggity down broke my heart, it had to crush Robyn for sure.

  72. Balasundaram Balasanmuganathan
    October 1, 2014

    Like this very much, because no one has did like this so far. Very interesting.

  73. Taoos
    September 30, 2014

    مجھے خواب کی طرح یاد ہے نیشنل جیوگرافک کا یہ شمارہ جس میں اس بہادر خاتون کی کہانی چھاپی گئی تھی۔ میں اسوقت چھوٹا سا تھا۔ آج دوبارہ دیکھا تو بہت اچھا لگا۔

  74. Brian Wessels
    September 29, 2014

    Long ago I had “From Alice to Ocean” on my Macintosh; I believe it must have been promotional data for the full CD and book. I have always remembered the unusual title and how elegantly it was done.

  75. Julia Ashton
    September 29, 2014

    I have kept all my dad’s National Geographics and I remember this issue so clearly when it arrived in the mail. The film is so beautifuly

  76. Michael Davias
    September 29, 2014

    My wife bought me a copy of “From Alice to Ocean” when it was first published. It’s beautiful large format color photos are augmented by a digital version on CD, one of the first such application of the new technology. Marvelously appealing story.

  77. Svitlana
    September 29, 2014

    Amazing story, brave woman. What she put herself through is such a personal, deep experience that it would take only true talent to be able to expose us- the general public, and help us understand and feel her story, her transformation of consciousness. Thank you to the team of people who worked on this project then and now. Deeply touched. Can’t wait to learn more!

  78. Steven Weil
    September 28, 2014

    This is such a wonderful story. A story about life. Honesty and adventure. A beautiful love story .

  79. Jacky
    September 28, 2014

    “From Alice to Ocean” is a great big picture book that probably weighs 4 or 5 pounds and can be picked up cheap online for like under 10 bucks. Big, beautiful photographs. I highly recommend it (kids might like it too) in accompaniment to the “Tracks” book.

  80. Roy Sinclair
    September 28, 2014

    Loved the story first discovered in NG, Read tracks and loved the movie. Wondered why it took so long.

  81. l w calhoun
    September 28, 2014

    Robyn may have thought she would make her trip across the desert and survive alone.

    No one survives alone. She had Rick, the Aborigines, her camels, her dog, et al.

  82. Marie
    September 28, 2014

    Having read the story in 1978 as a young adventure seeking 18 year old girl, I was completely absorbed in the boldness and daring of Robyn Davidson’s journey. Robyn embodied so much of what I thought was available to me out there in the world. I have tried many things and traveled many places before and after reading Robyn’s story but was never the same after having experienced her world through the pages of NG. Not sure I’ll see the movie though…I’d hate to spoil my memory. Thanks though, for making my day!

  83. Nancy Codd
    September 28, 2014

    I enjoyed reading the above and will attempt to get the book from the library.

  84. downunderhanger
    September 28, 2014

    Another great Australian story and reason to thank the original Afghanis who helped open up the centre of Australia to us non Aboriginals with their introduction of Camels. I look forward to the movie and books.

  85. Dave Fisher
    September 28, 2014

    Kate says: “I thought she was just a stupid girl, sooo ill prepared for the journey in Aust’s harsh climate.”

    Exactly why it makes for an intriguing story. This wasn’t a run-of-the-mill guided tourist safari.

    “I found myself disliking her!”

    Well, she was an anti-social loner. That’s probably a large part of the reason she went on the trek.

  86. Dave Fisher
    September 28, 2014

    Just curious why Smolan needs a kickstarter campaign when his books have sold “over three-million copies”. Surely he has enough money to finance the project himself, no?

  87. George Mason
    September 28, 2014

    I know I wasn’t alone when this stunning story appeared in 1977. I was a teacher then, and I got my hands on every copy of the magazine I could and spread them around for my students to see, to read, to feel and to dream. It was the first time I recalled a NG story that was so daringly personal, and her trek, his photos have never left me. I look forward to seeing the movie and reliving those sensations. Thank you all. It’s brilliant.

    September 28, 2014

    My parents had a full collection of National Geographic magazines dating back to the 1920’s & I remember coming across this particular publication when I was a kid & being fascinated with the story- the one thing that stuck in my mind was when she said when making camp in the evening to “always take care of the animals first”; unload their gear and feed them, etc.. It seemed like a wonderful adventure to me. It’s a treat to see the rest of the story involving the circumstances & love interest of photographer all these years later.

  89. Ernst Smit
    September 28, 2014

    We read her book: Fascinating story, especially when you know Australia!

  90. Jeanne
    September 28, 2014

    An amazing body of work, for a young photographer to document this journey and for Robyn to allow us to see what she saw and share in all her experiences, the good and the bad.

  91. Sani
    September 28, 2014

    Such a lovely piece of history.

  92. Rob Akscyn
    September 28, 2014

    “He adds that part of the modern day appeal of Davidson’s tale is that it would be almost impossible to do again today.”

    “Almost impossible” = “still possible”

  93. Eddie Chow
    September 28, 2014

    Amazing story, if only there’s more people like her to bring joy to this world.

  94. pov
    September 28, 2014

    Thanks! A wonderful tale. Great stuff.

  95. Jonnie Hombis Vanatta
    September 28, 2014

    I’m left totally bewildered wondering what burned in her soul to undertake her journey. “Courage” pales to express her trek in the Outback.

  96. Amy
    September 27, 2014

    I’ve read the book and have seen the movie. I was so glad to see that the harshness of the treatment of the camels in the book, weren’t fully portrayed in the film, that would have been hard to watch. I truly loved both and felt I was right there with her. Having traveled extensively throughout Australia, though not as much in the desert, I was thrilled to read about this adventure. I could only marvel at the fact that it even happened, let alone have a book and movie to learn about it.

  97. Robird.W.McCurry Ceng
    September 25, 2014


  98. violet
    September 25, 2014

    what a wonderful story . I like Davidson and the animals. Amazing!!!! But I can’t watch the video

  99. Kate
    September 23, 2014

    I have read the book & have seen the film. I did not like either! Basically I thought she was just a stupid girl, sooo ill prepared for the journey in Aust’s harsh climate. Mia Wasikowska gave such a dead pan performance, it was just flat, nothing in the movie was inspiring. In fact I found myself disliking her! Note she was often barefooted & never wore a hat in the film, shows it was badly made, with no truthful respect for the harsh climate. And the fact that she had sex in the desert, in the dust, without having a shower forever just made me feel ill…

  100. Sue Becket
    September 22, 2014

    I just loved this film & am now about to read the book – can’t wait. What an amazing women & story.

  101. george
    September 22, 2014

    priceless real time history! simply amazing

  102. Johny Ngurthansanga
    September 22, 2014

    I love this Movie

  103. Arupananda Panigrahi
    September 22, 2014

    The animals were the real stars who save the humankind from the brink of disaster.Thank u all,thank u,co-passengers.

  104. Hunter
    September 21, 2014

    why not use YouTube so we can actually watch the video…tried 8 times

  105. Christina Dummer
    September 20, 2014

    Sounds really interesting. Shall watch out for it. Great photos

  106. Flavio Michelin
    September 19, 2014

    Amazing history!!!

  107. Roanna “Ronnie” Martin-Trigona
    September 19, 2014


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