Jan 24, 2020
Stranger in the Forest: On Foot Across Borneo (Vintage Departures)
Posted by Eric Hansen

Eric Hansen was the first westerner ever to walk across the island of Borneo Completely cut off from the outside world for seven months, he traveled nearly 1,500 miles with small bands of nomadic hunters known as Penan Beneath the rain forest canopy, they trekked through a hauntingly beautiful jungle where snakes and frogs fly, pigs climb trees, giant carnivorous plantsEric Hansen was the first westerner ever to walk across the island of Borneo Completely cut off from the outside world for seven months, he traveled nearly 1,500 miles with small bands of nomadic hunters known as Penan Beneath the rain forest canopy, they trekked through a hauntingly beautiful jungle where snakes and frogs fly, pigs climb trees, giant carnivorous plants eat mice, and mushrooms glow at night At once a modern classic of travel literature and a gripping adventure story, Stranger in the Forest provides a rare and intimate look at the vanishing way of life of one of the last surviving groups of rain forest dwellers Hansen s absorbing, and often chilling, account of his exploits is tempered with the humor and humanity that prompted the Penan to take him into their world and to share their secrets.

  • Title: Stranger in the Forest: On Foot Across Borneo (Vintage Departures)
  • Author: Eric Hansen
  • ISBN: 9780375724954
  • Page: 144
  • Format: Paperback
  • Stranger in the Forest On Foot Across Borneo Vintage Departures Eric Hansen was the first westerner ever to walk across the island of Borneo Completely cut off from the outside world for seven months he traveled nearly miles with small bands of nomadic hunt


    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 [...]


    In 1982, Eric Hansen - who must have then been no more than 27 or 28 (?) - walked (that's right. walked) across and through the tropical rainforests of Borneo sometimes with native guides, but sometimes by himself. He spent months in the rainforest. Then, when he was 50 miles from from the east cost of Kalimantan, he suddenly (and impulsively) turned around and trekked back to Sarawak. This book describes this fascinating journey. The author is an intelligent and unpretentious man. Especiallly i [...]

    Steve Woods

    This was a great travel story. I really enjoyed it. I have to admire the man's courage and perseverance, I did some treks in Malaysia in the 70's and though this book reminded me vividly of my own experiences once past the purvey of the "white man" my excursions were no where near as ambitious as his. I was particularly touched by his description of the close connection of these so called primitive peoples with their environment and their felt sense of what was happening around them, both in the [...]

    Missy J

    We moved farther into this steaming, fetid world of great horrors and indescribable beauties whose elements were impossible to separate one from the other; and, as I learned, there was little sense in making simplistic distinctions of "good" and "bad". Eric Hansen is one crazy adventurer. Since he was young, he dreamed about exploring the rain forest. In the 80s, a twenty-something Hansen finally made his way to Borneo and tried to trek further inland. His first two months in Sarawak were not ve [...]


    Hansen's tale of his trek through Borneo is absorbing, especially as he comes to grips with his own inadequacies along the journey. Relying (one might almost say at the mercy of) native guides, he's initially almost unable to cope. His gradual adjustment to the jungle is what makes this account so compelling. Like Redmond O'Hanlon's No Mercy, this is an account of a spiritual as well as physical trek. (Although this is nowhere nearly as dark a travelogue as O'Hanlon's, I'm happy to say.) Hansen [...]


    I cannot believe that this book is classified as "travel/adventure". Until I read it, I might have thought it a correct shelf designation. Now, my shelf designation might be: "life and death in Borneo", "is this guy crazy?", "less than forty years ago?" "ewe, bee pupa soup", "2400 miles in one pair of running shoes!", or "blow pipes and bamboo spears, oh my!"It is unfair to Bill Bryson, but I kept thinking about him walking along the trails in the eastern United States, stopping to make camp, an [...]


    best travelogue ever. I've been through this one like 4 times. all of the fun with none of the ethnocentric bs i've found in other travelogues that cover the late 70's early 80's. Once you're in, it's impossible to stop. even as i write this, I'm trying hard not to walk over to my book shelf and to start reading this. that good.

    Tim Martin

    _Stranger in the Forest_ by Eric Hansen is easily one of the most absorbing and well-written travelogues I have ever read. This extraordinary book chronicles Hansen's remarkable journey across the island of Borneo in 1982. The author traveled some 2,400 miles on the island, largely on foot and through tropical rain forest on an island that straddles the equator; actually he made two trips, traveling four months and 1,500 miles before turning around and going back across the island, a mere 50 mil [...]


    Very quick read full of interesting adventures. I would've loved color photo plates and some sections to be expanded but Hansen's attention to detail, sense of humor, and emphasis on human connections made this a memorable story.My favorite section was about how every year a blood-stealing demon appears in a slightly different form. Due to Hansen's bad luck, that particular year the local gossip is that the demon takes the form of a white man traveling alone in the forest. He effectively capture [...]


    I loved it. It is on for re-read.


    I looove traveling, so naturally I love reading about it, too.The main difference between me and Eric Hansen is not so much that he has managed to go to more exotic locations and write books about it (though that is one of the differences), the main point where we go on diverging paths is what we consider a n adventure. See, when I was in New Zealand I decided while backpacking around that I wouldn't book a place for the night of New Year's Eve and spend it on the beach to watch the sunrise inst [...]

    Cat Chiappa

    This was a fabulous book and one of the best travel memoirs I've ever read, and I have certainly read my share. I appreciated the author's willingness to actually learn about all of the other cultures and he never mocked them for their beliefs. He had such an amazing adventure and it makes me sad to think of what the logging industry has done to Borneo.The only two criticisms I had about the book was how dense it waseven though it isn't really a criticism. I found this book a little hard to pick [...]


    I like books that can insert into the readers mind a way of thinking that is utterly foreign. The forest dwellers, viewed by westerners, are so utterly clueless, yet, this traveler sets ripples in motion in the forest that announce his presence to all the inhabitants. Their measure of 'distance' from one location to another, is actually measured in days. Beyond a few hundred yards, our notion of distance is unfathomable to them. There are no straight lines or predictable rates of travel in their [...]


    Fantastic, interesting, enlightening, inspiring foot journey across Borneo! Makes me want to drop years & work on fitness then strap on walking shoes! Loved it!

    Kevin Tangonan

    An anthropological adventurer's guide to the deep jungles of Borneo. It was an amazing read for a traveler like myself interested in the old world and places not commonly explored. Though written more than 20 years ago, I shudder to think as to what happened to the vast greenery he once trekked with the palm oil and timber deforestation. It was quite an enlightening piece, how I wish I could have traveled with Eric Hansen through thousands of miles of drifting through rivers, hiking through moun [...]

    James King

    Hansen has a very easy style to read, and develops a great sense of relatability to the reader. Even on a journey so mammoth that most could never consider it, you still get the sense you're not only travelling alongside him, but that you're experiencing the same emotion. The journey is also stunning, delving into the culture of a ancient way of life and a whole new viewpoint. A beautiful human perspective.

    David P

    A wonderful book, has given me a severe case of wanderlust.Having travelled through Indonesia as a student, I found it particularly interesting and rewarding. I even remembered some of the language!


    This is my favorite book I've ever read on the topic of outdoor adventure and certainly in my top 3 ever. Just a truly incredible story. I tend to really enjoy outdoor, adventure books both fiction and non-fiction especially in tropical forest settings.


    Excellent. Authentic. Fresh. Respectful. Balanced. Touching. Could be 5-star.

    Seamus Geraghty

    I have never had a great desire to walk across the jungles of Borneo before, but that was before I read this book


    Quit at page 80 out of 280. Not sure why I didn't like it. Partly because I dislike hearing people say they did something "solo" when actually, they pay/barter the locals to navigate and carry things.


    Getting 2015 off to a flying start, I finished this book in one day. After a recent documentary featuring the exotic fruits of Borneo and the Penan who so skillfully seek them, I put the world's third largest island on my list to learn about. The author's well-researched and determined trip is remarkable in its achievement alone, but his frequent journaling and excellent writing skills combine to make this a fascinating and evocative read. The book chronicles his early research, first intoxicati [...]

    Natalie Saar

    I read this book while I was actually in Borneo and I found it so inspiring! I loved the author's sense of detail, and his spirit of adventure. I think the trick is that Eric Hansen is not only a courageous and determined traveller, he's also an insightful and self-aware writer, and I think it is that combination which gives the book both body and charm. He really conjures the highs and lows of his journey, without attempting to impress the reader with his triumphs or make the reader pity all hi [...]

    Yeo_heng_hau YEO

    Eric Hansen's account of his trek across the jungles of Borneo will certainly interest anyone who enjoys jungle trekking, yearns for nature or simply wants to know what the deep jungle of Borneo is like or life there feels like. Eric has the innate skill at keeping the reader fully engaged as he narrated his trials and tribulations in making the trek on foot across Borneo, the third largest island in the world and the largest in Asia. Eric's deep sensitivity to the environment and his feelings a [...]

    Răzvan Molea

    Eric Hansen evocă o lume care a dispărut de mult. Era pe cale de dispariție chiar în timpul lui. Deși paginile abundă de frumusețe, de locurile sălbatice pe care le-a vizitat, de localnicii, sau mai bine zis ”băștinașii” cu care a trăit și pe care a ajuns să-i aprecieze, mai ales felul lor de viață și cum înțelegeau ei să-și trăiască viața. ”A warm, moist wind blew from the south down a valley lost in green folds of undulating rain forest. Carried on the wind were t [...]

    Joel Thimell

    I really enjoyed Stranger in the Forest: On Foot Across Borneo. It brings to life an exotic locale and its peoples which 99% of us will never have the opportunity to visit in person. The book is well written, informative and entertaining.Hansen's ten-month trek across Borneo reminded me of my own wanderings through Africa as I hitchhiked from Kenya to South Africa during the same era. (The environment, the lodging, the food, the transportation, the activities and the means of exchange were compl [...]


    An account of Hansen's long trek through the jungles of Borneo in the 1980s, helped by native guides. This is really one of the best travel narratives I've ever read. Hansen has an eye for detail; the ability to relate his interactions with native people without showing a sense of cultural superiority; and a keen, self-deprecating appreciation for his own inability to survive in the jungle without expert help. It helps, too, that his journey was full of interesting events and encounters. There's [...]

    Christopher Roth

    Delightful stuff! Full of ethnographic tidbits, the most memorable including a long sequence in which the author is mistaken for a ghost and nearly loses his life--something which has more than a faint resonance with cargo cults, which raises all kinds of interesting questions--and a lengthy description of the Kenyah people of interior Borneo, just on the Indonesian side of the border, who have an elaborate technology for fashioning sex toys and for inserting screws, bars, sticks, etc. into the [...]


    This is a travel memoir about hiking through the Borneo rain forest. Camping overnight in a state park is my idea of roughing it. This book makes that look like a five-star luxury hotel by comparison. The rain forest is teeming with life. He said he felt like he was inside an organism that could easily consume him. There were a few times his life was at risk.He couldn't have done it without the help of native guides, and most of this book is stories about his interactions with various natives he [...]


    This is a travelogue that covers religion and cultural change. The author walked from one end of Borneo to the other and back again. In the time spent doing this, he encountered various people who survive by hunting supplemented with subsistence burn-and-slash farming. These groups, particularly the Penan, practice an animist religion that explains most events with magic and remedies many problems and aliments with shamanism. Accordingly, these people can be used as an example when explaining th [...]

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      Posted by:Eric Hansen
      Published :2019-09-13T21:14:46+00:00