I first visited Latin America in 1989, landing in Puerto Rico (from Miami) not long after Huricanne Hugo.
The Publishers failed to buy the idea, but I had already sold it to myself.
A continent was in the headlines, yet somehow the full story seemed missing.
South America is so far removed from England, and as the publishers said: ‘Our interest in Latin America is slight’.
Besides, the Brits and other Europeans continued to head for Australia, and the Asia stopover; to the hill tribes in Chiang Mai, and their daughters in Patpong; to the moon parties on the glorious beaches at Goa and the relative cheapness of India; and to the tempting fake brand shopping in Hong Kong and Singapore.
I felt an urge to get behind the emerging headlines, as an eyewitness to the process of democratic shake-up in Spanish America; the fall of Augosto Pinochet (Chile) and Daniel Ortega (Nicaragua), along with the capture of Manuel Noriega in Panama.
Old Lands in the News could have been the title of my proposal, instead I bought slow-speed Fujichrome for my cameras and set out to take pictures for an expanding travel guidebook series; sell photo features to adventure travel magazines and syndicate stock photos through international picture agencies; while collecting more material for my Nomadic Gatherings manuscript.
At least that was the plan, and it might have worked; had I not been a victim of the notorious pilfering in Peru.
That minor mishap apart, I managed to travel through every country in South and Central America during an eventful six months; mostly by bus, with a little float down the Amazon thrown in.
Many travellers enjoy Central America, it’s culture, the climate and the chance to learn Spanish in a wonderful environment.
There are trekking possibilities, ancient ruins to discover, countless colourful festivals; and it’s just across the border from the United States.