Overland Journal

Making a Case for the Wild Places

A few years ago, I found myself on a long-disused track in the wastelands of Sudan. Over 200 kilometres from real civilisation, my team and I had left Khartoum at dawn and driven throughout the day. It was getting dark. Our small convoy had stopped. The lead vehicle had a damaged rear-right tyre and could go no further without risking mangling the wheel itself. I imagined the culprit to have been one of the sharp rocks on the bed of a wadi we had crossed earlier.

As I stood on the hard, cracked earth, I realised that never before in my life had I felt so insignificant. The night sky was vast and open, no trees or buildings or flashing lights could be seen—just a starlight-punctured void. The only sound was the low murmur of alert and professional voices.

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