For years I have had a wanderlust which has taken me all over the world, and have been urged so often to write a book, as the stories I related aroused a fascination in others, who wanted to hear ever more about my travels. I have found voyaging most rewarding, with few worries or unforseen expenses, even though I always travelled on a shoe-string with just a full backpack and die-hard self-confidence as my only security.
This particular journey began (in August 1980) and ended for me in Boston, Massachusetts, and is my account of a major expedition through Latin America in two distinct stages. The first part covers Central America, and after recuperating for a fortnight in Panama City the second part explores the great South American continent from end to end. If you anticipate travelling in Latin America, please be encouraged by this book. The countries present numerous challenges both social and natural. The very innocence of travellers in these corrupt and struggling countries is their own best security when faced with the peculiar demands of the various authorities. Apart from exasperation at the hands of crooked uniformed services, it is impossible to stay healthy for long with mediaeval sanitation and widespread sickness in every country. With common sense we overcame adversity and spent seven unforgettable months exploring remote areas as well as the more famous tourist spots, and took many thousands of photographs.
I have been a conservationist and an animal-lover all my life and at different times I have taken care of everything from tropical aquarium fish to Himalayan mountain bears, and Mexican snake-eating eagles to Hamadryad baboons. The whole expedition through Latin America was a wonderful chance for me to investigate scores of exotic species of fauna and flora, quite apart from the indigenous Indian races, Mestizos, Caribs and Creoles, Whites and Negroes, with cultures and traditions steeped in mystery.