Hendrik Relve and Berit Renser’s Indonesia works were selected as the best travel book of the year. The title, handed out for the tenth year, was shared by two books this year: Relve’s “Kiviaja puudutus” (Touch of the Stone Age) and Renser’s “Minu Indoneesia” (My Indonesia). Both of these books introduce Estonian readers to the exotic and diverse cultures of Indonesia.
Renser, who has travelled and lived in Indonesia extensively, said she is often asked where she got the courage and drive to enter a completely foreign environment alone. “Minu Indoneesia” talks about Renser’s journey but also how foreign traditions and customs start making total sense at some point.
“Usually people are afraid of things that are far away but the closer they get, the more they start seeming like their own, and finally they might discover that people in Estonia and Indonesia aren’t that different, said Renser.
“Berit’s book talks captivatingly about how a free spirit, a young woman, contended with the dos and don’ts, strict traditions and double standards in Indonesia – and enjoyed it,” said Tiit Pruuli, a member of the jury of the Go Travel Magazine best travel book competition.
Hendrik Relve’s book “Touch of the Stone Age” talks about an expedition to the Korowai people on a New Guinean island. Numbering a few thousand, they live in a remote jungle, completely cut off from the rest of the world.
“It’s amazing that such a small ethnic group has managed to survive in our world. They are a naturalistic people in the literal sense; they do not depend on the outside world at all. If for any reason, the civilized world should be destroyed, peoples like this could become the seed for a new world,” said Relve.
“Relve’s close-up view of the lives of the unique Korowai people is an unbelievably exciting ethnographic and natural history exploration of a place in which the white man has extremely rarely set foot,” said Pruuli.
In past years, the title has gone to Roy Strider for “Himaalaja jutud” (Himalayan Stories, 2008), Aime Hansen “Jaipur-Delhi-Himaalaja: reisikohvrist leitud lood” (Jaipur, Delhi, Himalaya: stories found in a suitcase, 2009), Viivi Luik “Varjuteater” (Shadow theatre, 2010), Vahur Afanasjev “Minu Brüssel” (My Brussels) and Peeter Sauter “Flirt Budaga. Elust ja tsiklisõidust” (Flirting with Buddha: Life and motorcycling, 2011), Mart Kivastik “Vietnami retsept” (Vietnamese formula, 2012), Janika Kronberg “Rännud kuue teejuhiga” (Journeys with six guides, 2013), Heilika Pikkov “Minu Jeruusalemm” (My Jerusalem), Enn Kaup “Imekaunis Antarktika” (beautiful Antarctica), Enn Kaup “Armulugu Antarktikaga” (Romance with Antarctica, all from 2014), Kariina Tšursin and Margus Sootla “Ühel teljel ümber planeedi” (Around the Planet on One Axis, 2015) and Jaan Undusk “Teekond Hispaania” (Journey to Spain, 2016).
The jury also awarded a prize recognizing long-term adventuring. The winner was Tarmo Tamming, who drove through Africa and South America over a period of seven years. Go Travel put up the 2,000-euro prize fund.
Go Travel Magazine