Mark Eveleigh: Somewhere in Central Brazil

Mark Eveleigh is a photojournalist, adventure traveler, and book author from Spain, and one of Press Gazette’s 50 top travel journalists. We wanted Mark to put the new rugged TPro® Bold collection from Travelpro through the paces that only a professional adventure traveler like Mark could give it. So we gave him a couple TPro Bold bags and a Crew 8 backpack, and sent him down to Latin America. He has already been to Chiapas, Mexico, and today we find him in Brazil.
Mark says he has one of the best jobs in the world. After reading today’s post from Central Brazil, we can’t decide if we agree or disagree. (We’re leaning toward agree, although we could do without the dengue fever.)
“When the going gets weird the weird turn pro.” – Hunter S Thompson.
I’m writing this at the tail end of an epic bus journey across Brazil. We left Sao Paulo in a fine springtime drizzle forty hours ago and my GPS, propped in the bus windows, tells me that in another eight hours we should be reaching the tropical humidity of Belem, half a degree south of the equator.
Even in the air-con cocoon of the sleeper bus my internal temperature is oscillating wildly as my body fights off the last effects of a bout of dengue fever (souvenir of a recent assignment in the Nicaraguan jungle). There is nothing I can do here but to wait for it all to pass. I can only look on it philosophically as one of those minor trials that Joseph Conrad once described as ‘the playful paw-strokes of the wilderness.’
I have been working as a freelance travel photojournalist for more than thirteen years now and although I have mostly been lucky with my health (apart from a couple of cases of malaria) and I have come to look on such inconveniences in the same light as erratic internet connections and warm beer. At times they are simply part of price that has to be paid to do what I still – even at the worst moments – consider to be one of the best jobs in the world.
Since I tend to specialise in adventure travel and expeditions, I see good health as being just as crucial as using the most reliable electronics and the strongest, most durable luggage I can lay my hands on. I often have to move fast and – increasingly in this technological, rapid response era – I am rarely in a position to travel light. I train hard and try to be as fit as possible so that I am ready for any eventuality while on expedition. I expect the equipment and luggage I use to resist the same harsh situations. I was therefore delighted when Travelpro asked me to give their tough new T-Pro Bold line a serious ‘test-drive’ under rigorous conditions in a series of assignments and expeditions which, over the course of the next few months, would take me to Latin America, West Africa, Australia and South East Asia.
Already this year I have worked on assignments in Vietnam, Thailand, India, Spain, Hungary, Oman, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and, now, Brazil. I worked out of a houseboat in Kashmir, a beach shack in the Gulf of Thailand and a hammock on Panama’s Pacific coast. I travelled by tuk-tuk, motorbike taxi, train, 4×4, tri-shaw, canoe, speedboat, ferry, hang-glider, horse, elephant and a 1960’s Enfield Bullet motorcycle. I travelled by rail on the luxurious Maharajas Express through Rajasthan and in a ‘hard-sleep’ compartment on Vietnam’s rattling Reunification Express. I set up the first major surfing expedition to explore the coast of Oman and led an expedition into ‘unexplored’ (at least to outsiders) rainforest with the Lacandon Maya people of Chiapas, Mexico.
Even at the worst moments I have never had cause to review my idea that this is the best job in the world. But it certainly has more ups and downs that most people would ever imagine. There is no such thing as routine but over the coming months in this blog I will be doing my best to give an honest idea of what day-to-day life is really like for a roving Travelpro travel-writer.
©Mark Eveleigh, 2010