My appreciation of Peter Pinney's work
I first became aware of Peter Pinney's travel writing through the anthology "The road to anywhere" in a Melbourne library. The stories greatly impressed me with their courage and light heartedness. I admired Peter's fearless attitude, of going with whatever turns his journey took and the stances he took on moral grounds in helping those he saw as being treated unfairly. I also found his work strikingly authentic compared to much current travel writing that uses invented 'quirky' themes to compete for shelf space in bookshops.
Unable to find Peter Pinney's other works in the libraries, several years passed before I moved to Hobart, Tasmania and found a battered copy of 'Dust on my shoes' at a stall in the Salamanca market. I have travelled a bit myself and Peter's outlook struck a chord with my own philosophy of opening oneself to the experience, to let good things in and the unexpected to happen, to allow the series of fortunate coincidences to begin.
However, the shocking end to Dust on My shoes seems to me to add the reminder:- "have no fear...but know when your luck has run out".
The book itself led me to a series of events . I went to a Mick Thomas gig in Melbourne, in which he played songs from the album "Dust on My shoes", a tribute to Pinney. After the gig I talked with Mick and he told me that his brother was working in Hobart on a media project to recreate Peter's journey from Greece to Burma, portrayed in music, script and pictures.
Through the website abc.net.au/dustonmyshoes, I avidly followed Anna Young's and Matt Newton's attempt to walk in Peter's footsteps, a mark of respect to a man I see as the father of every Australian backpacker who takes the road less travelled.
I submitted some of my own travel stories to the site, and a couple were accepted in the 'rough travel' section, under the themes of 'food' and 'religion'. I consider it an honour to be associated with the project.
I have since collected most of Peter's books and spare nothing in spreading the word about his inspirational work.
- Steve Kelleher