Somewhere deep inside, you know what your gift, purpose, and mission are. Boyd Varty, a lion tracker and life coach, reveals how the wisdom from the ancient art of tracking can teach you how to recognize these essential ingredients in a meaningful life.
Know how to navigate, don’t worry about the destination, and stay alert. These are just a few of the strategies that contribute to both successful lion tracking and a life of fulfillment. When we join Boyd Varty and his two friends tracking lions, we are immersed in the South African bush, and, although we learn some of the skills required for actual tracking, the takeaways are the strategies that can be applied to our everyday lives. Trackers learn how to use all of their senses to read the environment and enter into a state of “greater aliveness.” When we learn to find and follow our inner tracks, we learn to see what is deeply important to us. In the same way the trip in the classic Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was a vehicle to examine how to live out our values, the story of this one-day adventure—with danger and suspense along the way—uses the ancient art of tracking to convey profound lessons on how to live a purposeful, meaningful life of greater harmony.
Tracker and safari guide Varty (Cathedral of the Wild), who feels people have "lost contact with something more instinctual, more innate," suggests the ancient practice of tracking as a means to attain "essential knowledge," in his propulsive and cinematic memoir-cum-guide. Grounding the narrative in a single day of tracking within the Londolozi Game Reserve in eastern South Africa, Varty introduces methods of awareness ("a shift in mental consciousness that in the East would come from meditation... here in Africa comes from the oneness of the trail") for homing in on the "first track" (which he equates to concentrating on "small practical actions" in one's daily life), and ideas for what to do when the track is lost ("track what makes you feel good and bring more of it into your life"). For readers not living in the bush, Varty's brief self-help lessons will feel awkwardly grafted to his tale of venturing out alongside his fellow trackers, Renias and Alex. Renias, who is of Sangaan heritage, is "the tracker who is called upon when the other trackers lose the trail," and Alex, the "great-great-grandson of an Afrikaner," works under him as the three tracks a lion through the reserve. While the advice here is often too amorphous to be useful, Varty's memoir does offer an evocative exploration of the nuances of animal tracking.