Sunday, February 05, 2012


Most of us can't remember all the things we've done during the course of a whole year, but when it comes to 2009, Freya Hoffmeister shouldn't have that problem because during that year she essentially did only one thing: she kayaked around Australia. Staring in January of that year, she paddled nearly 14,000 km and became the second person to circumnavigate Australia by kayak, completing the journey in 332 days, beating the record of Paul Caffyn, the first person to complete the trip, by almost a month.
Joe Glickson's account of Freya's trip is an engaging and enjoyable read, although it must be said that Joe seems almost pathologically determined to mention every time that she paddled topless. Which was apparently quite a bit.
While Joe is able to describe the details of Freya's expedition, he is by his own admission much less successful when describing Freya who at times seems to be a reticent subject. We learn that she's, well, fearless, but we spend precious little time behind the façade of the so-called Woman in Black. But while insights into why a person would want to spend a year of their life on such a journey are few, the details are fully covered, and there's no question that Freya accomplishment was amazing. And the book's pretty good, too.
And what is Freya doing for an encore? Currently she's kayaking around South America. Follow her adventure here.

1 comment:

  1. No doubt Freya isn't one for introspection -- she'a a woman of action, not self anaylsis -- but there are plenty of insights from her childhood and mini-portraits of her parents that reveal, in part, why "the woman in black" is the way she is...there's plenty of references to her paddling topless -- in large measure because Freya keep telling us this on her blog -- but there's more than enough insights into this most unusual woman...assuming you pay attention to the words on the page and not the pictures in the center fold.