Yesterday I saw the end of the film « Tracks » (2013), which renders the story of the 1.700 miles trip that Robyn Davidson made from Alice Springs to the Indian Ocean (Australia) in 1977. The plot describes how the teenager prepares for a solitary trip, along four camels and a bitch, and the travel experience in the desert; there are some parallels with castaway stories, as “Life of Pi”, and in visual terms the film is a treat.

What interested me is a detail. Due to the way in which the story develops, there are many farewells. But the most relevant are not those in which someone gets on a vehicle to go away, but those in which the character simply walks away normally. Some minutes later I saw some minutes of “Jane Eyre” (recent version, same actress). And again the same situation; the character alone under the rain in the middle of an English moor, just walking. As when in the Bible there are descriptions of the distance by foot between villages. Some days ago I also saw a part of a Polish film, “Aftermath” (2012); it Is about a horrible story (a 1941 pogrom as seen from 2001), but the interesting thing in this context is the way in which the two peasant brothers (one freshly arrived from Chicago, where he lives) move by walking most of the time, sometimes over long distances.

From a “simple” point of view, these stories would be impossible in such a country as the United States, land of the car, with cities without sidewalks (I say simple as reality is probably more complex, and not only there)…  but there is more to be said when it comes to shoes…


  1. It’s true, walking from place to place is nearly impossible here unless you’re talking about the big trails, Appalachian in the east and the Pacific Crest Trail in the west. I’ve hiked small segments of both. Within cities is a different story. We have some very walkable cities, including Boston, New York, Chicago and my fav, Pittsburgh. Actually, I’m told that you can walk mostly around the lake from Chicago. Search for “1,000 miles around Lake Michigan” for some stories of those ego have done it. It isn’t India and it’s not a desert but there is sand 🙂

    1. I’ll read Loreen Niewenhuis’s story, as I’m sure there will be interesting elements. In fact I remember one of the last Paul Newman’s films, “The road to perdition”, in which there were some scenes on the lake Michigan shore with just that sandy landscape you describe. And I also remember reading (years ago) a book by Bill Bryson on travels around deep America in which there was an interesting description of Mackincak Island (albeit he drove, not walked…). Thanks again for your comments, Dan

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