Youjia Song-Author of Across Wildlands
Youjia Song is a lover of life, and in her search for meaning and wisdom, she has become an outdoor adventuring enthusiast with a passion for photography, mountain life, and anthropology. She is also an artist, musician, philosopher and teacher. In her heart, life is about continuous learning, and about finding presence and fulfilment in each moment in the here and now. She trusts the universe to move into new glorious experiences as a path to growth and expansion.
When she was young, her dream was to know about everything, and so at university, she began a journey of multidirectional learning; she commenced a long degree in philosophy, began travelling across oceans into fascinating cultures where a love of languages also took hold, looked deeply into ethnic music and its cultural context, began recording her experiences in film, and dove into as many new experiences in the arts as she could. She has learned to release her fears of the unknown and see the hurdles and obstacles that life presents as opportunities for learning, in order to fully enjoy the abundance and creativity that life offers.
The pursuit of ethnic music took her on a journey into India and South America for over 15 years. She fell in love with Andean music and subsequently spent many years investigating its cultural meaning and historical context. After conducting fieldwork and living with the Kallawaya people of Northern Bolivia, she completed her Masters in Anthropology and produced the thesis Playing Music to the Cosmos: Agrarian Rituals of the Kallawayas of Northwest Bolivia.
Youjia has lived in India, Peru, and Bolivia, and has travelled extensively across South America, Russia and other parts of the world. In 2017, she embarked on her first unguided expedition, walking across Kyrgyzstan. Her love of travelling and learning gave her a new challenge she wanted to undertake; to design an adventure of her own, to test her abilities to face unforeseeable circumstances and to be able to embrace it and stay true to her path. Most rewarding of all, she began to learn from the people of a nomadic culture who have much to share about the layers of history of a part of the world she knew little of, to be able to bring that back to you.
She walked 500 kilometres in 2017 but due to accumulating adverse conditions, she decided to make additional preparations back home in Sydney. This July, in 2018, she will return to complete the second half of the journey. She has been generously sponsored by Dick Smith Foods, Kathmandu and Supersingularity.
This site features a selection of her journeys through words and images.
About Across Wildlands
This blog site is a compilation of some of the images, thoughts and explorations of nature and culture Youjia Song has encountered across lands and oceans. Each gallery shows her journeys into the wilderness, human cultures and inner meanderings and observations.
Those journeys started off as a few typical backpacking trips to Vietnam, India and China but soon became an intellectual and spiritual pursuit of knowledge. Whilst in India Youjia encountered a strong sense of spiritual devotion in the arts that uplifted devotees into their higher selves. This observation prompted her to return to India to study classical Carnatic music on the bamboo flute, paint images of Hindu and Buddhist gods and goddesses, and take up classical Indian Bharatanatyam dancing. She also delved into the six classical schools of Hinduism, Buddhism and probed into the idea of enlightenment.
Travelling suddenly took on new meanings, and in 2004, she discovered a music group devoted to playing Inca ceremonial music in Cusco, Peru. In 2009, she returned to the Andes to study traditional Andean music with them, and in 2012 she completed her masters in anthropology in the Kallawayan practices of music in Northern Bolivia.
Travelling became a way of exploring the world, its people and landforms. Youjia has since travelled with biologists in Siberia to follow the footsteps of the elusive snow leopard, and with native Altayan geologist to learn about the revival and transmission of traditional knowledge and beliefs of the Altai people. And finally, she is on her own expedition to walk across Kyrgyzstan on foot, where she has combined her passions of speaking new languages, recording cultures, living in the wilderness, taking photographs, and pushing her physical boundaries into one single adventure.
This blog site is a platform to share her inner discoveries and outer reflections. It embraces her interests in indigenous wisdoms and their alternative relationships to nature that lend insights to the potential for a more compassionate world with a more ecologically sustainable future.