September TDA Book Review
How far would you go to break a new world record? Dodging alligators, pit vipers, jaguars and machete wielding regulars, Ed Stafford became the first person to walk the entire length of the Amazon in 2010. Stafford is an ex-British Army Captain with a thirst for crazy adventures in inaccessible places. When he and a buddy discovered that no-one has traversed the length of the Amazon they made a drunken bet that they will be the first. The next morning they stuck to their ‘gentlemen’s agreement and started planning for this phenomenal trip. He started on the Pacific coast of Peru and crossed the Andes Mountain range to find the official source of the river. His journey leads on through parts of Colombia and right across Brazil.
Stafford ended up walking for 860 days through some of the most inhospitable terrains on the planet. He duly diarized his experience despite the torrents of rain that turned the river beds into marshes filled with piranhas and alligators and other smaller but equally nasty beings that crawl under the skin and lay eggs. His feet started to rot and exhaustion brought on illness. On his 4,000-plus mile journey, Stafford witnessed the devastation of deforestation firsthand, the pressure on tribes due to loss of habitats as well as nature in its true-raw form. Along the way he hires the most peculiar guides that help with translation and negotiating with the locals. He is often disappointed and abandoned but he seldom loses faith or hope. The locals are suspicious of this white lunatic that appears to be walking through the dangerous jungle for no apparent reason at all. He learns to bribe with goods, negotiate his way out of a murderous village, and most of all, what it really means to have patience and endurance. Jaw-dropping from start to finish. Stafford’s accomplishment of walking the Amazon river has been described by Sir Ranulph Fiennes as being “truly extraordinary…in the top league of expeditions past and present”.
Complete your own epic journey across South America and cycle 14,000kms from Cartagena, Colombia to Ushuaia, Argentina in 2015 on the South American Epic Bicycle Expedition.