The stories posted on the site under the heading “South American Stories” were taken from an unpublished book call “JoyRiding” which I wrote about my first year of adventuring solo in South America back in 1974.
The adventure begins with me walking into a civil war on my first day in Ecuador; bullets flew around me as I, oblivious, walked down the middle of the street. A stranger kindly tackled me to the ground and saved my life, effectively moving me from bit player to star of my own movie. I’m afraid that after that, adventuring became a bit addictive.
I subtitled the book, “Sex, drugs and adventure.” So there are more than a few sexy love stories in there, as well as several broken hearts.
I tell about my first encounters with the hallucinogenic San Pedro cactus and my adventures exporting marijuana from Colombia to Ecuador — doing my small part to keep the Gringo Trail high.
As far as adventure goes, my experiences with the witch doctor Mama Nati and how she cured me of Hepatitis B make for a fascinating story. And the midnight sinking of the little tug boat Bongo 25 Sur in the jungle of the Rio Putumayo may be considered a high point. The people I met while I was hitchhiking my way out of the Amazon might be another. (It took four months; there were a lot of people.)
The book ends at the end of my first year of travel. Since I was on the road for almost 14 years, there are more books waiting to be written.
I wrote “Joyriding” about 15 years ago. It went through two agents and about 70 editors before I shrugged, tucked it away in a drawer and went back to journalism.
Just recently, I strip-mined some of the stories from the manuscript and turned them into stand-alones. One of them, “Grave Robber,” will be published next year in the journal Creative Nonfiction. (The theme of that particular issue is “Crime.” What have I done?)
I’d still like to see the book in print, so if anyone out there likes the stories and can help me find an agent and/or publisher, then full speed ahead!