Off To The Land Of Oz

Written By: Gary Wonning

Seeking adventure and a desire to have as much contact with the aborigines as possible, I had requested to spend all of my time in the outback even though I didn’t really know what the outback was. This was to be a journey of a lifetime. The real vision quest was about to begin.

The journey became a real test of faith and the adventure of a lifetime. The NIE (National Institute of Exploration) was a fly by the seat of your pants type of organization, and to keep the costs down had arranged all the travel as cheaply as possible.

Many of the flights were last minute flights and much of the travel in Australia was on an arrangement where we traveled for free in exchange for the publicity the different locations and venues would get from the sale of our books. About one hundred fifty photographers were covering Australia, it would be a boon for the country and quite an experience for us.

Two days before we are leaving and no tickets, I began getting calls from the CEO of NIE, and every time he called my flight would change. Finally, at about midnight the night before we were scheduled to leave, Barry called and said my ticket would be in Indianapolis at the ticket counter of United Airlines when I checked in on Sunday. Somehow knowing the trip was going to happen, I knew everything would work out.

My dad was taking me to the airport the next day and he wasn’t impressed when I told him I didn’t have a ticket yet. He seemed to think I was crazy to go under these circumstances, I tended to agree with him.

Checking with the agent at the desk, he knew nothing. After some conversation, the agent checked some obscure location and lo and behold there it was. I’m on my way!

Gary has been a writer/photographer for over thirty years. Specializing in nature and landscape photography, as well as studying native cultures.

His travels have taken him to most of the United States, as well as Australia, Belize, Egypt and the Canary Islands.

He has studied the Mayan culture of Central America as well as the aborigines of Australia. Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in various parts of the world.

He has published several books about his adventures.

For more information, please consult his website,

Your comments are welcome


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