Once upon a time, in a land far away, in an alternate universe, I rode a motorcycle across Australia. It was hot, it was dusty and sometimes the distances were unbelievably long and boring. I loved it.
The interior of Australia is raw and harsh and stunning. It’s where I really understood for the first time just how powerful nature is. I also learnt about looking for the small things. Sometimes you can stand there, on a gravelly dusty road and see nothing but a few stunted twisty little shrubby bushes and wonder about how there is nothing out there.
Until you look down.
In the crevices, beneath a rock, under the bush. In the midst of nothingness you’ll find a single flower or a tiny patch of green. From a hole in the ground weird and wonderful creatures emerge, like wombats. Out of nowhere a herd of emus run past and disappear over the horizon. If you walk over a small hill instead of just nothingness you might see a couple of wild camels staring back. And of course there are the mobs of kangaroos bouncing along. At nighttime a whole world emerges in the cool air and cries of the night dwellers fill the sky.
When I began the trip I saw miles and miles of empty roads filled with desert nothingness. When I finished a saw a vibrant, colourful world full of small wonders.
It’s been a long time since that trip and I haven’t had a chance to return to a desert. Coming up I’m heading to New Mexico for 10 days to see what I can see. I’m looking forward to this.