WHAT A TRIP

A girl, her dog and cam­era tackle 100 days in the Aussie Out­back

Central and North Rural Weekly - - FRONT PAGE - ZHANAE CON­WAY-DODD Zhanae.con­way-dodd@apn.com.au

SHE WAS an adventurer trekking around the Aus­tralian out­back with a dog, a cam­era in a 1979 Toy­ota Land­cruiser ... with­out car­ry­ing a sin­gle dol­lar.

It took Edwina “Eddy” Robert­son 100 days, over 27,000km, more than five states and some “bloody tough” roads ... but she did it. And now she is back home in Toowoomba, on Queens­land’s Dar­ling Downs.

The 30-some­thing bush pho­tog­ra­pher set out on her lap of the Aussie map with an aim of bridg­ing the gap be­tween bush and city.

Trav­el­ling with no money is no easy task. To most it sounds a lit­tle crazy but Eddy worked her way from out­back sta­tion to out­back sta­tion, us­ing her photography skills as cur­rency.

In ex­change for a photo shoot, a fam­ily would have to house her for the night, feed her, pro­vide her with petrol and send her safely on her way to her next des­ti­na­tion.

While Eddy ex­pected peo­ple to be hos­pitable, she didn’t ex­pect them to go above and be­yond. She was gob­s­macked by the amount of peo­ple will­ing to go out of their way to help her. How­ever, there was one thing Eddy did un­der­es­ti­mate, the phys­i­cal toll the trip would take on her body. She was con­stantly ex­hausted as the trip neared the end but she didn’t give up and in a way didn’t want to even go home, thanks to her “head­strong ways”.

Eddy said the trip was much longer lthan she ever an­tic­i­pated, with her fol­low­ing on so­cial me­dia reach­ing over 26,000 peo­ple.

Now she’s re­turned home there is talk of a book and even a move out bush.

“It was much larger than I thought it was go­ing to be,” she said.

“I un­der­es­ti­mated how phys­i­cally ex­haust­ing it would be, but it is by far the best thing I’ve ever done.

“As I went along ev­ery­thing changed, my ideas, the rea­son­ing be­hind the trip as well as what I wanted to achieve.”

Eddy says she has hun­dreds of ideas run­ning through her head but isn’t ex­actly sure what is next on the cards for her. Or where she will go.

“I guess it is just the be­gin­ning of some­thing, I don’t ex­actly know what but it’s def­i­nitely some­thing,” she said.

“There might be a book, when you try and make these

life de­ci­sions when you’re so ex­hausted, it kind of seems im­pos­si­ble but af­ter a rest I’ll have some clar­ity.

“How­ever, I do think it would be re­miss of me not to write a book be­cause there are so many things I want to talk about that I wouldn’t nec­es­sary put on so­cial me­dia. “Some things just need to be ex­plained cor­rectly and in detail.” Eddy said through­out the trip time proved to be a “funny thing” with the bush adventurer wish­ing she had more of it in cer­tain places. “Many times I wished I had stayed longer with fam­i­lies and had more time on prop­er­ties but then I wanted to cover as much ground and meet as many peo­ple as I could,” she said. “How­ever not hav­ing time to rest was hard. And kind of like ground hog day - be­cause ev­ery­day you would go to some­one's house, you’d meet them, take pho­tos, stay up all night talk­ing and get up at 5am the next morn­ing to drive and do it all again.

“27,000km may not sound much to the av­er­age per­son but it took me eight to nine hours to drive 500km so it was a slow trip and I couldn’t do any­thing about it, I was re­ally ex­hausted. Even driv­ing 100km was dif­fi­cult by the end.” Eddy said de­spite the rough patches the highs al­ways out­weighed what lit­tle lows there were.

“I think there were times where I felt I was in ar­eas where I didn’t know many peo­ple or have many con­nec­tions so that was hard.

“But all in all I think the things that hap­pened and all the peo­ple I met, and ex­pe­ri­ences I had, out­weighed any low point,” she said.

“It’s normal to have a bad day ev­ery now and then but all of the good days out­weighed the bad. You have a cry, you get through it and the next day is al­ways better.

“I think I un­der­es­ti­mated how amaz­ing peo­ple would be. I’ll for­ever be ap­pre­cia­tive to any­one who helped and was a part of the jour­ney.”

While Eddy is glad to be home she does ad­mit she feels a bit sad to be back in ur­ban life. “I got home and re­alised I’ve lived in my house for 15 months and I don’t even know my next door neigh­bour’s name and they live five me­ters away from me,” she said.

“It’s such a weird re­al­ity be­cause out there the peo­ple you’re stay­ing with knew the peo­ple that are 800km up the road. Lo­gis­ti­cally even though in most places I was re­ally re­ally iso­lated I felt at peace.”

“I am back in civil­i­sa­tion, re­al­ity and I sup­pose it feels dif­fer­ent to when I left.

“Maybe it will be dif­fer­ent when I set­tle back into ev­ery­thing. There is def­i­nitely a place for me in the bush. I’ll be search­ing for where that is, so hope­fully I find it sooner rather than later,” she said.

❝ There is def­i­nitely a place for me in the bush and I’ll be search­ing for where that is.” — Edwina Robert­son

PHOTO: EDWINA ROBERT­SON

ADVENTURER: Edwina Robert­son talks about the highs and lows of her jour­ney around Aus­tralia.

PHO­TOS: EDWINA ROBERT­SON

WHAT CUTIES: Eddy cap­tured this pic of the D’arcy fam­ily on Ly­don Sta­tion in Minilya, Western Aus­tralia.

“They breed them tough in the bush. When I was four, I still had train­ing wheels on my bike,” Edwina said.

This pic­ture was cap­tured at one of Aus­tralia’s big­gest wa­ter­melon farms in Mataranka in the North­ern Ter­ri­tory.

PHOTO: CONTRIBUTED

Eddy's 100 day jour­ney has come to an end af­ter tour­ing around out­back Aus­tralia with­out money or food.

PHOTO: EDWINA ROBERT­SON

MAN’S BEST FRIEND: Eddy’s faith­ful, lov­ing com­pan­ion Jordie, joined her on the trip.

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