While in college, Whit Taylor, an anthropology major, studied abroad in Australia. During her studies she and another student from the states were selected for a brief trip into the Kimberley Desert. Whit and her classmate, Miriam, could not be more different than each other. Miriam is a serial explorer, whose goals are clear, and seems more interested in experiences than learning about culture. Whit is unsure of what she’s doing or what she’ll learn, but leaves her more open to learning about the culture she is investigating.
Whit quickly learns not to paint the Aboriginal people she meets with a single brush, and in turn finds she must correct all the Australians (Aboriginal or European) she meets in painting African-Americans similarly. It’s through these awkward conversations, and uncomfortable outings (that feel more like tourism than education) that Whit gathers the most insight…maybe not into Australian culture, but rather general 21st century human nature.