Eric Hansen at


Next month at the Writers page I chat with Eric Hansen, author of travel books such as Stranger in the Forest, Motoring with Mohammed, and The Bird Man and the Lap Dancer. Hansen’s articles have appeared in the New York Times, Travel + Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, Outside Magazine, Men’s Journal, and Natural History Magazine. Here are some outtakes from our interview:

  • “The craft of writing is similar to dancing. If you want to get good fast, learn slowly. And practice. If you don’t master the basics of storytelling and writing in the beginning you will suffer by making the same mistakes over and over again.”
  • “The oral tradition of recording personal history is the very best way to frame a story. It’s all about engaging the listener and making your story their story. My professional career started with the publication of my first book — Stranger in the Forest — which is an account of living with groups of nomadic hunters and gatherers in the Borneo rainforest. I have never studied writing and rather than the usual approach to getting published via magazine and newspaper work, I just sat down and wrote a book with the help of a very good editor who brought out the best in me as a person and as a writer.”
  • “Getting on the road is the big challenge. The planning and concept phase can take years. Like a dog circling a blanket, waiting for just the right mood before settling in. Once I am on location everything just happens effortlessly. Nothing is more natural for me than to immerse myself in strange and new places. It is a process that I refer to as ‘throwing myself into the weirdness of the world.’ More a state of mind than anything else. It is all about suspending judgment and absorbing what ‘is’ rather than ‘what I think it is,’ if that makes sense.”
  • “Write the truth of the experience. Exaggerations and fabrications cheat both the writer and the reader. My favorite quote about writing comes from John Steinbeck: ‘The discipline of the written word punishes both stupidity and dishonesty.'”

Full Eric Hansen interview online here.

Posted by | Comments (2)  | October 29, 2007
Category: Travel News

2 Responses to “Eric Hansen at”

  1. Tim Patterson Says:

    I really enjoyed this interview. The Steinbeck quote at the end was especially apt. Thanks!

  2. Rosemary Wilkinson Says:

    Dear Rolf

    I’m trying to get in touch with Eric Hansen. Would you be able to give me his email address? If not, could you forward my details and ask him to get in touch with me?
    Many thanks.
    Rosemary Wilkinson
    Project Manager