The Touratech adventurers were then spread across tens of kilometres of the track – riding together was impractical (the dust!) and unnecessary. The seven riders dissected into pairs and singles.
At the tail end, I wasn’t even moving. I’d found a blue-tongued skink (lizard) on the track and was lying down there with it, on that ancient soil.
We were on our bellies, just inches apart, each trying to figure the other out. Minutes passed and in the 40º heat I was boiling, but the skink just looked back, not across the few centimetres that separated us, but centuries, millennia, he being a virtual dinosaur. Only then, after some fair time, did I start to understand the true balance here. I was in effect holding my breath, I could only stay here in this near-desert for as long as my 30-litres of fuel and 13-litres of water would allow. After that I’d be finished, dead, in a matter of days if not hours. This little guy will live his whole life here, perfectly adapted as he is, a master of the land. I was looking at him with wonder; I daresay he saw me with contempt, if emotion in a skink was at all possible.
Ramona Schwarz was at least moving. For her the Outback was a calming, soothing experience
“Riding into the outback was like taking a break from this crazy world. As we flew into Melbourne the geo-political situation felt to be in such turmoil. The mass migrations into Europe from the African-Arabian continent, the uncertainties in the European Union given Brexit, and the sheer shock of the Trump win in the US presidential elections have all made for troubling times.
“Such tensions and anxieties all melted away once we were into the Outback, we were back to mother nature dominating our destinies, and she deserves our respect. We traveled slower, as the heat and the land dictates, and we were immersed in the natural experience with only the smallest of human interruptions. As we rode I could feel a sense of calm and peace overtaking me – it was just me gliding through this vast land, a very simple yet fundamental interaction. I was at last feeling calm and happy.”