Written 21 June 2018
600words Seeing the world through explorer’s eyes.
The runner and geographer in me has always been inspired by explorers, enabling me to draw on the experiences of the past to apply in my life now.
While reading original manuscripts on my Kindle the historical geographer is transferred into the past viewing the world from the eyes of the day, jumping forward to enter a latitude and longitude in to google maps to see where the explorer. On my runs I explore a new trail only going so far so I don’t get lost, only to come back other day to go a little further like an explorer looking for the inland sea in the 1820s.
Self-indulgence is perhaps a prerequisite of an explorer with years away from families in England or months at a time away from any families in Australia. Some are driven by the prize of being first, the potential of wealth , recognition, celebrity and perhaps the reality of prestige and power in society.
For explorers, time goes slowly, they are required to live and survive in the here and now and success insightfulness into the human condition and the environment t in which they traverse.
Charles Sturt to most people is a name of a university but his life you could argue was a life or repeated failure or perhaps sacrifice. His goal of his 1828-29 trip to the north west through the Macquarie Marshes to discover the Darling River was a failure because he did not find the inland sea but he changed the focus of exploration.
Some goals not achieved can be deemed as a successful.
In 1829-1830 he had a goal to head towards a place that actually existed in South Australia only in the final miles to be blocked from his returning trip on a whaling boat at the impassable Lake Alexandrina. A thirty day downstream row of the Murray River resulted in a 80 day row upstream then an overland trip back to Sydney town.
Hamilton Hume travelled with Sturt to the Darling River, taught him things about first nation people making possible good relations with a tribal elder who provided safe passage through successive tribal lands down the Murray River.
There are two lessons here for the geographer and the runner: respect fpr the land and its people and sharing makes all things possible.