Read Stranger in the Forest: On Foot Across Borneo by Eric Hansen Free Online
Book Title: Stranger in the Forest: On Foot Across Borneo|
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 384 KB
v The author of the book: Eric Hansen
Edition: Houghton Mifflin
Date of issue: February 1st 1988
ISBN 13: 9780395440933
City - Country: No data
Read full description of the books Stranger in the Forest: On Foot Across Borneo:Edit: 29/12/16 - Best Travel Non-Fiction read of 2016.
Eric Hansen's memoir of his travel across the wilds of Borneo. In 1983, hardwood timber prices had just doubled twice in 3 years, and there was significant felling underway on the coastal perimeters, but it had not yet pushed its way inland and to the highlands. On the best map he could find, Hansen found large blank areas, with the words 'insufficient reliable relief data available'. These were located on his planned route.
His goal, was to travel from Sarawak on the West Coast, across the highlands to the East Coast and the Celebes Sea. He had a lot of preparations to make, and some false starts. Leaning the trade goods appropriate for his journey, learning the language, understanding the culture, were all equally important.
His journey is told relative simply, and honestly. He introduces the tribesmen and women he travels or temporarily settles with well, his writing conjures the images, and picks up on the character traits well. For me, it makes compelling reading.
Its not spoiler, as it is signalled on the dust jacket, but 137km into his journey, a mere days journey from the Celebes Sea, Hansen falters. He stops walking, and has a realisation. He can be back in San Francisco in under a week - but he realises he isn't ready to go home. He stops his eastward journey, and heads back to the west. He decides to undertake the return journey to Sarawak.
I have a particular compulsion to read books on Borneo. For me it was always a exotic destination I wanted to travel to - jungles, headhunters, longhouses, semi-nomadic tribes living an almost stone-aged existence. Many of those iconic images we conjure up are no longer, destroyed by the three-pronged pressure of hardwood logging, palm oil plantations and missionaries. For me there is no one of three worse, or better than the others. I did manage some travel in Borneo over the years - nothing as ambitious as Eric Hansen of course, but I did manage to visit a handful of the places he spent time and writes about in this book. For me it was fascinating to read about how they were, and to know what had changed at the time I was there. I dread to think how they have further changed now.
Bario, in the highlands was the most poignant for me to read about. In his epilogue, Hansen is lamenting the progression of logging roads in Borneo generally - bulldozers giving access for the logging trucks. He mentions in passing that "the network of roads expands closer to the highlands of Bario". By the time I was there, the road was not only formed, but there was a contract underway to widen and seal the road to Bario.
Great book, 5 out of 5 for me.
Read information about the authorEric Hansen is a travel writer, most famous for his book Stranger in the Forest: On Foot Across Borneo, about a 4,000 km trek through the heartland of Borneo. He lives in San Francisco. For 25 years he has traveled throughout Europe, the Middle East, Australia, Nepal, and Southeast Asia.
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