As one of the less outdoors-inclined people I know, it took a stretch of imagination for me to write about trekking through the wild and wonderful Amazon for my latest choose-your-own-adventure book. Even though I’ve "hiked" through tropical rainforests in Costa Rica and Panama, they were basically strolls on paths where I stopped to photograph the light reflecting off the trees, spotted a few unique bugs, and caught glimpses of cute little monkeys. So when it came to depicting what it would be like to seriously hike along the largest river in the world and encounter jaguars, pit vipers, and piranhas, I definitely needed help.
Lucky for me, in addition to some great guidebooks, help came in the form of Ed Stafford, the Guinness world record holder for walking the entire length of the Amazon River basin in a journey that took him over almost two and half years. Ed generously shared his experiences with our team, and added authenticity and real-life drama to the story. I was riveted to hear firsthand accounts from him about his adventures, from battling swarms of bees to fighting fatigue to scaring off wild pigs-like animals called peccaries. And the American in me found it all extra thrilling to hear the stories narrated in his charming British accent.
Ed wrote a book about his journey called Walking the Amazon that was recently published, along with providing his insight to the Worst Case Scenario Ultimate Adventure: Amazon, which will be available next month. Reading it allows kids (and adults) to experience what it would be like to navigate the mighty jungle and survive like Ed . . . IF they make all the right choices and avoid the pitfalls. Writing it allowed me to dream of getting to the Amazon one day and inspired me to seek a little more outdoors adventure in my life.