Adventure Travel, Adventurer, Alberto Caceres, Belize, Central America, Channel4, Colombia, Costa Rica, Darien Gap, Explorer, Guatemala, Honduras, Levison Wood, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Travel writing, Walking the Americas, Yucatan
Twelve months ago, I sat in my living room in Sydney, staring at the messy and unco-ordinated furniture around me. They were assorted mismatched bookcases and shelves that I had collected over the years from various friends and family who no longer had use for them. Then I looked at the rest of my flat and wondered if I had the patience for home renovations (I don’t). In the end, I settled for new bookcases to replace old sagging ones that were struggling with the weight of their loads and a new double recliner (by the way, it was a very comfortable spot from which my best friend and I watched Walking the Nile together).
At about the same time, on a continent far, far away, British explorer Levison Wood was dealing with his own renovations of the seventeenth-century house in Hampton Court he had bought after returning from the Himalayas. Escaping from the sounds of hammer and drill, Wood went for a stroll in the Hampton Court Palace gardens (personally, I rather enjoyed the Palace Maze). From his telling of the history of the architecture of the Palace, Wood segued into the stories of seventeenth-century Scots trying to build an empire of their own and finding the region we now know as Central America. Imagine for a moment if the Scots hadn’t given up the jungle four hundred years ago – we might find some colourful kilts instead of huipils!
So, while a team of workmen were pulling apart and reconstructing his house, Wood plotted his next adventure. And thus, Walking the Americas was born. Off to Mexico he went, joined by an old friend, Alberto Caceres – a fashion photographer he had met some years earlier. A fashion photographer? Knowing how to use the right f-stops and applying the rule-of-thirds for perfect composition were not going to save you from poisonous snakes, tarantulas and crocodiles, not to mention the long list of tropical diseases that could kill you in the most excruciating and disgusting way.