Finding Myself in Borneo: Sojourns in Sabah
Neill McKee’s honest and thought-provoking memoir, Finding Myself in Borneo: Sojourns in Sabah, tells of his time overseas while working with the Canadian University Service Overseas (CUSO), mainly from 1968-1970. After college, McKee had the option to work in the family business, but he opted for a more adventurous life. As soon as he stepped foot on the foreign soil, he became immersed in its culture and pastimes and developed a love for his students and the area all around him in North Borneo. One such example of his experience there is partnering with his friend Peter Ragan to create the North Borneo Frodo Society (NBFS). While exploring the land, they had a revelation that the map of North Borneo is very similar to that of Middle Earth in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. NBFS was endorsed and included Tolkien as a member himself and is still a living community of lovers of both Borneo and Tolkien’s beloved “imaginary” world. Finding Myself in Borneo is full of stories of love, uneasiness, and pure joy. Halfway through his term as a teacher, he discovered his love for filmmaking. This love of his, along with his love for Sabah, brought him back to Borneo not even two and a half years after his departure to explore more of the land while making future award-winning films and meeting his real-life love. Amazingly, McKee lived and worked overseas for a total of 45 years promoting social change.
The stories from McKee provide great insight into both how life was lived back in the 1960’s and ‘70’s as well as how it was lived overseas among those who abide by different cultural and religious guidelines. McKee’s writing is very personable and any age or gender would easily be able to follow, but especially the generation that grew up in the ‘60s and ‘70s. The issues that McKee addresses would be most relatable to an older reader as well. McKee makes known his reasoning for writing his memoirs, and this makes the overall story more sentimental to both author and reader. I would read more by McKee in order to learn more about him, like if his kids followed in his footsteps and were able to make social and personal connections abroad just like their father.
|Page Count||260 pages|
|Publisher||NBFS Creations LLC|
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