The Beaten Track

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 18 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 18 December, 2011, 12:00am


The Beaten Track
by Sarah Menkedick
Kindle Single (e-book)

This is not a travel book with Top 10 or Must Do lists. In fact, American author Sarah Menkedick begins The Beaten Track by stating the things she and her Mexican companion, Jorge, didn't do while in Borneo. They didn't visit the orangutans, bond with headhunters or see the world's biggest (and smelliest) flower, even though it was in bloom close to where they were obsessively recreating Haruki Murakami's ham sandwiches (the Japanese novelist is invoked throughout the book). Recovering from pneumonia caught in China, Menkedick, a travel writer and editor, begins her sojourn in Borneo, starting with a month spent in Kota Kinabalu. Although she relates a few typical travel yarns the book constantly questions the need for travellers to seek 'authentic' experiences in foreign lands. It's here that Menkedick shows her wisdom and learning. Indeed she quotes liberally from academics such as Clifford Geertz, Dean MacCannell and Guy Debord. The Beaten Track should be read widely, and not just by people planning to visit Borneo.