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Walking the Americas
Walking the Americas: 1,800 Miles, Eight Countries, and One Incredible Journey from Mexico to Colombia | Levison Wood
19 posts | 13 read | 12 to read
Levison Woods famous walking expeditions have taken him from the length of the Nile River to the peaks of the Himalayas, and in Walking the Americas, Wood chronicles his latest exhilarating adventure: an 1,800-mile trek across the spine of the Americas, through eight countries, from Mexico to Colombia. Beginning in the Yucatnand moving south through Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and PanamaWoods journey takes him from sleepy barrios to glamorous cities to Mayan ruins lying unexcavated in the wilderness. Wood encounters indigenous tribes in Mexico, revolutionaries in a Nicaraguan refugee camp, fellow explorers, and migrants heading toward the United States. The relationships he forges along the way are at the heart of his travelsand the personal histories, cultures, and popular legends he discovers paint a riveting history of Mexico and Central America. While contending with the regions natural obstacles like quicksand, flashfloods, and dangerous wildlife, he also partakes in family meals with local hosts, learns to build an emergency shelter, negotiates awkward run-ins with policemen, and witnesses the surreal beauty of Central Americas landscapes, from cascading waterfalls and sunny beaches to the spectacular ridgelines of the Honduran highlands. Finally, Wood attempts to cross one of the worlds most impenetrable borders: the Darin Gap route from Panama into South America, a notorious smuggling passage and the wildest jungle he has ever navigated. One of the rawest and most exciting journeys of his life, this expedition required every ounce of Woods strength and guile to survive. Walking the Americas is a thrilling personal tale, an accomplished piece of cultural reportage, and a breathtaking journey across some of the most diverse and unpredictable regions on earth.
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Although I still have some reading to do this week, I think I‘ve finished all I‘m going to fit in for #ReadingTheAmericas2023. I completed at least 15 books and experienced more countries through them. 7 of these books are also on the #1001books list. This challenge was a great way to continue to broaden my reading, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

#ReadingTheWorld #ReadTheWorld #2023Stats

BarbaraBB Wow, well done and such a great graphic! 7mo
Librarybelle Awesome! Thanks so much for joining us this year! 7mo
Daisey @BarbaraBB @Librarybelle Thank you both so much for hosting these. They‘ve been a fun and interesting way to add more variety to my reading! 7mo
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An update on my #ReadingTheAmericas2023 Challenge.

Still got :
5 South American Countries to get
4 Central American Countries (reading a Panama book at the moment)
And quite a few islands!

Thanks to @BarbaraBB @Librarybelle for hosting these great challenges and setting them up on StoryGraph which is a good way to track them.

Librarybelle Great progress! 8mo
AnnR 👍🌎 8mo
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BarbaraBB So impressive!! 8mo
Andrew65 @GinaKButler Thanks for the book suggestion, I will check it out. 8mo
kspenmoll Amazing!!! 8mo
TheSpineView Are you up again for helping me cohost SeriesLove2024? 8mo
Andrew65 @TheSpineView Most definitely, been one of the highlights of 2023 😁 8mo
TheSpineView @Andrew65 Yes! Love all these new series! If it works for you, I'll get a graphic together and post in the next couple of days. 8mo
Andrew65 @TheSpineView That‘s great as I‘m not very creative with graphics! 8mo
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I enjoyed reading about Levison Wood walking across Central America. I recognized many places from when I traveled those countries myself in the 90s (by bus, not walking 😉). The book is more about the traveling than the visited places though.

Ticking off many prompts for #ReadingTheAmericas23: #Mexico #Belize #Guatemala #Honduras #CostaRica #Panama #Colombia 🇲🇽 🇧🇿 🇬🇹 🇭🇳 🇨🇷 🇵🇦 🇨🇴

(Photo: Serralunga, Piemonte, Italy)

Librarybelle I like the cover of this edition! 10mo
Megabooks I found the part in the Darien Gap really interesting! 10mo
BarbaraBB @Megabooks Yes! But also Honduras and Guatemala! 10mo
Simona What a view❣️🥂 10mo
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I enjoyed this, but it didn‘t quite live up to expectations. I expected more little details about places along the way. For example, we continuously hear how difficult the Darrien Gap is going to be, but they get completely through it in a couple of 20 minute audio chapters. The friendship between Lev and Alberto was fantastic.

#audiobook #nonfiction #ReadingTheAmericas
#Mexico #Belize #Guatemala #Honduras #Nicaragua #CostaRica #Panama #Colombia

Librarybelle I have this checked out from the library…I hope to get to it soon! 11mo
BarbaraBB Looking forward to it. I have a copy too. And I loved his book on Arabia (the Nile less so) 11mo
Daisey @Librarybelle @BarbaraBB It was interesting and a perfect book for this challenge. I‘ll look forward to seeing your reviews. 11mo
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Very interesting journey through Central America and the Darien Gap.

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I enjoyed this a lot more than Walking The Nile, possibly because I listened to it rather than reading it, and I think travelogues do work better on audio.

I particularly enjoyed Lev‘s relationship with his friend Alberto in this one, and of course it works for *many* countries for #readingtheamericas23.

#mexico #belize #guatemala #honduras #nicaragua #costarica #panama

BarbaraBB I was a bit disappointed too by Walking the Nile but am looking forward to this one. 1y
squirrelbrain Yes, I found Walking the Nile rather depressing @BarbaraBB but this was more ‘positive‘, even though he still tackles difficult subjects. 1y
Librarybelle I do need to read his books! 1y
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I LOVE traveling with Lev. He‘s a natural at describing the places he‘s exploring using vivid descriptions and offering a great dose of historical context. I can always picture the locations & get a true sense of the environment. Lev always attempts the off-beaten path & this one did not disappoint! Plus I checked off a bunch of countries from my list😜 🇲🇽 🇨🇷🇳🇮 🇵🇦 🇭🇳

BarbaraBB That sounds so good! I have purchased a copy of this book too. Looking forward to it 1y
Cinfhen I think you‘ll like this one @BarbaraBB 😄 1y
Librarybelle Hooray!! 1y
BarbaraBB I am sure I will! I traveled all rose countries, it will be fun to visit them again! 1y
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Halfway through and I‘m LOVING my time with Lev - I‘m having a different experience than @Megabooks
I‘m finding his trek from #Mexico to #Columbia vivid, colorful and engaging. Lev has a knack for bringing every place he visits to life. #ReadingTheAmericas23 #Hoopla so far #Mexico #Belize #Guatemala #Honduras

squirrelbrain I bet you‘ll be able to tick off nearly all of #readingtheamericas23 by the time you‘ve finished this! 1y
Cinfhen @squirrelbrain and @BarbaraBB gifted me this book, which will also help cross off a bunch of countries 1y
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Librarybelle I do need to read one of his travelogues one of these days… 1y
BookBelle84 All of his travel books are good. I'm especially a fan of his walk the Nile and walking the Himalayas. 1y
Cinfhen I‘ve read a few of his books @BookBelle84 @Librarybelle but not this one….maybe one day (edited) 1y
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I may have gone in with too high expectations, but this was a #GoodNotGreat unmemorable memoir where the author and a friend WALK from Mexico to Columbia. I like travelogues more when the author interacts with local people and really gives me a sense of what it‘s like to be there. (See Erika Fatland‘s books) This was more about the actual trek and being a modern-day explorer. Might be a good choice if that‘s what your after. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Librarybelle I do need to try one of his books…they get so much love on Litsy! 1y
Megabooks @Librarybelle yeah, I wanted to like this more than I did. 🫣 1y
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Megabooks The more I think about it, there were points where he did connect with people - the indigenous folks in the Darien Gap and there was a priest in a gang-ridden city, but I guess these just felt surface to me. Idk. This just wasn‘t my favorite travelogue. 🤷🏻‍♀️🤷🏻‍♀️ 1y
Cinfhen I LOVE Lev - he‘s one of my favorite modern explorers!!! I‘m about to start this audiobook after I finish my current one. I‘m just excited for all the countries I can tick off!!!! And it‘s available on Hoopla 🧡 1y
Megabooks @Cinfhen I think I was a bit hard on him in this review. Yesterday was a really hard day for me. 😔 just more exhausted than normal and still no break today. I think dad is half teenager/half senior sometimes!! 😂 anyway, I‘ll write soon. My spoons are just running really low, but I am SO GLAD you had a great trip. I hope you‘ve been able to get through the mounds of laundry! 🧦💜 1y
Cinfhen Laundry is FINALLY done @Megabooks it‘s been very rainy and stormy here so I‘ve really been laying low and just spending time taking care of chores around the house. Im sorry it‘s been rough with your dad. I kind of love how you describe him…hope Molly is well 😁 1y
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Wood walks Central America with a Mexican friend he made when he lived in Merida, #Mexico. Not as rigorous as his walking the Nile, except for their passage through the Darien Gap, an impenetrable jungle that has stopped most explorers. It was quite the struggle, but oddly took up little space in the book. What was unique to this adventure was Wood's encounters with internationals trekking to enter the US illegally and gang-plagued countries ⬇

Texreader and especially when he had to employ a priest to walk him through a city who ensured his safety with the priest's contacts with the heads of the gangs. The walk occurred during the Trump/Clinton election, and those trekking north had some pretty potent opinions about Trump. This was an excellent book, but it felt much more biographical than his Nile book, and it was almost 1/3 into it before he actually got going on the walk. ⬇ (edited) 1y
Texreader That's why this wasn't a five star read. I was disappointed in the narrator. His pronunciation of Spanish words was cringeworthy. I found it odd since the author, although British, had lived in Mexico, and trained in Belize when he was in the military. I would have thought the author would vet the narrator! So, skip the audio.

#readingtheAmericas, #Mexico, #Belize, #Guatemala, #Honduras, #ElSalvador, #Nicaragua, #CostaRica, #Panama, #Colombia
(edited) 1y
shortsarahrose It‘s probably the publisher rather than the author that picks the audio narrator. Still, they could‘ve made sure the narrator could pronounce Spanish! 1y
BarbaraBB I agree about the Spanish but one small thing in favour of the author: in Belize they do speak English, not Spanish 1y
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I have identified all the countries the author walks through to count them for #readingtheAmericas and here they are:

#Mexico, #Belize, #Guatemala, #Honduras, #ElSalvador, #CostaRica, #Panama, #Colombia

Three hours to go I‘m this audiobook

Librarybelle 😁 1y
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I can‘t believe a narrator was chosen for the Americas who has no idea how to say “taco” or “agua.” I‘ve been managing listening to him say taco as if it were pronounced tacko (like “whacko”), but now that the author has entered Nicaragua, I can barely manage to listen to him pronounce “agua” with four syllables. Arrrrrrrggggghhhh!!!


UwannaPublishme 🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️ 1y
rwmg How do you pronounce taco then? Both Reading (UK) and Jakarta (Indonesia) both got their first Taco Bell a couple of years ago, so until recently it's only a word I've known from books.

I would pronounce the country Ni-ca-ragwa
Texreader PS: He just pronounced Managua correctly. So dang it how come Nicaragua is such a challenge? 😜 1y
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Texreader @rwmg Spanish lacks a short a sound. It‘s pronounced “ah” like you have have a tongue depressor on your tongue. So tah-co. It‘s the same for ah-gwa for agua or water. So it seems you‘ve got Nicaragua down pat. 1y
Texreader @rwmg I‘ve only had about four years in school of Spanish but fortunately here in San Antonio in south Texas we eat loads and loads of tacos. And I can understand a wee (“un poco,” I like to say) bit of Spanish when I hear it, spoken here often. Thanks to this conversation I‘ve put tacos on the menu for tomorrow. Mmmm!! 😋 1y
Texreader @rwmg And by the way, we all love Taco Bell here too even though we can get the “real thing” probably a block away. 1y
Librarybelle Yikes! 1y
Blueberry This book is on my tbr list but I will definitely read it now instead of listen. 1y
KathyWheeler Oh no! I was thinking about listening to this but maybe I‘ll go the print or ebook route. I don‘t know if I could sand listening to someone pronounce taco that way. 1y
GingerAntics FOUR?! He‘s got to be trying. I can only get three syllables out of that. Where on earth is he getting the fourth. Tacko sounds British, honestly. I‘m pretty sure they can say agua, though. 1y
GingerAntics Just looked up the narrator. Yup. He‘s British. You‘d think you‘d get someone from the americas to talk about the americas, but hey, why not get someone from one of the conquering nations that was eventually kicked out. 🙄 1y
rwmg @GingerAntics Why do you object to a British narrator for a book by a British writer? 1y
GingerAntics @rwmg I don‘t in that case. That was no made clear. It also means neither of those words are actually pronounced incorrectly… so I‘m not sure what the complaint here is. 1y
GingerAntics @rwmg other than agua being turned into 4 syllables. 1y
BarbaraBB I agree @Texreader , when a writer uses words in another language, the narrator can at least try to pronounce them correctly. 1y
Megabooks Yeah, I bailed on the audiobook and am going to read it in print instead. 1y
58 likes16 comments
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I just finished Walking the Nile by the same author and decided this is the perfect next book. I‘ll get started on it tomorrow since I‘m driving on a business trip. Wood walks through 8 countries from #Mexico to #Colombia so it should help me cover a nice chunk of countries for #readingtheamericas

BarbaraBB I bought this one too. I always enjoy his walks! 1y
Librarybelle Hooray! I need to read one of his books! 1y
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After liking Walking The Nile I decided to search out some more of Lev Wood‘s books. In this one he walks from Mexico to Colombia. I really like his books but I‘m starting to think it‘s weird that his world is filled with men. #FoodAndLit #Colombia


Great book. A bit simplistic in some ways and clearly written from a vantage point of a person with privilege. Nice story telling though and inspirational.


Hey lady! You are my #whiterabbitswap! Have to work but should be sending some stuff out Tuesday!! I‘ll let you know when it ships:))) So excited!!

Kati15 Thank you I can't wait! :) 4y
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Reminds me of Blackadder. 😁

If you like travel books, this one is really interesting. He walks through 8 countries, from Mexico to Colombia, 1800 miles.

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Had a little jaunt to Nantwich, Cheshire on this lovely sunny day. A coffee shop and bookshop in a building from 1583. Yes please. Book for me, and book for Mr Oryx.

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I requested this #nonfiction from the library after seeing something about it on Shelf Awareness. I'm about a quarter in and I'm not sure how I feel about it yet, especially since he hasn't even started the journey yet. Has anyone read his other books?

Buster was not interested in posing with the book. He was also not interested in staying awake while I took the photo. 😂 #dogsoflitsy #pugsoflitsy

Debiw781 Buster 😍😍 6y
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