PLUNGING into a trip around Australia with not a dollar in her pocket, Edwina Robertson, Toowoomba, has no set plan and no idea of the road ahead.
With her her dog Jordie and trusty camera, she aims to authentically document rural Australian farming life –work that she says can help to bridge a divide between city and country.
The professional wedding photographer is putting her regular job on hold to travel about 30,000 kilometres snapping scenes which highlight what she loves about rural and regional Australia.
In exchange for her photographic services, she is asking no set price, but requires a roof over her head, fuel for vehicle and a belly full of food.
If the families she visits deem that the award winning photographer’s services are worth more, then they are invited to transfer her an amount at their discretion.
The idea came to her two years ago when she saw Australian film 'Tracks' which is based on the true story embarked on by adventurer and author, Robyn Davidson in 1977.
Ms Robertson said bringing stories from the bush to a wider audience benefits both city and country side of the fence.
“There is a real disconnect between between city and country folk, 50 per cent of the Australian population live in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.”
By sharing the images of bush families and behind-the-scenes snapshots of rural life like farming, landscapes, families and events held in small towns, she hopes to reveal the fascinating tales that lay hidden across Australia.
“The good ol’ Aussie yarn is on the decline and I want that to change,” Ms Robertson said.
“I want to document and capture those old fashioned yarns and be able to share that with Australia, to gain a sense of closeness and reality, through my images and stories.”
Ms Robertson earns a living as a country wedding and family photographer and by taking her trip without a cent on her and with no guaranteed income along the way, she will break down the conventions between her subjects.
The employee – employer relationship will be stripped to one of friends, having a cuppa, a chat and snapping candid moments, she said.
Her photography business has put Ms Robertson on a relentless stint of travelling.
Just this year she has flown overseas seven times for work and has been away from home for close to 300 days this year.
“I moved to Toowoomba in March and purchased a 12 pack of toilet rolls,” she said.
“I’ve only just finished the pack in late November and it’s not because of any bowel problems! It’s proof, in a rather ridiculous way, of how little of my time I actually spend at my own home.”
I try to get home as much as I can, but with 2016 being the year of destination weddings, that hasn't been all that easy! Travelling is what feeds my soul
Ms Robertson grew up in Deepwater via Glen Innes, the oldest of three siblings.
Her family are seventh-generation mixed farmers which settled in the area in 1834.
“I try to get home as much as I can, but with 2016 being the year of destination weddings, that hasn't been all that easy! Travelling is what feeds my soul”
She is a self taught photographer who began doing weddings three years ago.
She said a combination of lots of hard work and a little bit of luck has resulted in where she is now.
She departs for her three month adventure on May 21 next year and plans to be on the road until August 21.
Safety is uppermost on her agenda. She lacks a degree of privacy already, due to her business promotion on social media, which includes her updates on where she is and when.
But she’ll carry an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB), satellite phone and pepper spray as well as other extra safety requirements.
“I debated taking a gun, but many of my friends warned me that probably was not the best idea,” she said.
Ms Robertson is confident her common sense will guide her along the right path, and she wont let fear stand in the way of the adventure.
One of her last logistical problems to solve is transport. She is currently trying to organise is a vehicle for the journey, and is debating between a refurbished 1984 Toyota FJ Cruiser or a more modern Prado.
But she insists that either way her car won’t be brand new, as that would take a certain ‘true blue’ quality out of the trip.