NO FIXED ADDRESS by Robyn Davidson

After many thousands of years, the nomads are disappearing, swept away by modernity. Robyn Davidson has spent a good part of her life with nomadic cultures – in Australia, north-west India, Tibet and the Indian Himalayas – and she herself calls three countries home. In this Quarterly Essay, she drew on her unique experience to delineate a vanishing way of life.

In a time of environmental peril, Davidson argues that the nomadic way with nature offers valuable lessons. Cosmologies such as the Aboriginal Dreaming encode irreplaceable knowledge of the natural world, and nomadic cultures emphasise qualities of tolerance, adaptability and human interconnectedness. She also explores a notable paradox: that even as classical nomadism is disappearing, hypermobility has become the hallmark of modern life. For the privileged, there is an almost unrestricted freedom of movement and an ever-growing culture of transience and virtuality.


Robyn Davidson, author of the classic Tracks, has researched and written about the nomadic life for decades, and will reprise her signature theme in the Regional Centre for Culture Festival Address, on Sunday 12 August.