Chasing El Dorado: A South American Adventure


ISBN: 9781921924767 Format: 234x153mm 304pp Rights: All rights: Transit Lounge Release / Publication Date: 01 /10 /2014


Get ready for a risk-taking rollercoaster ride through the favelas of Rio Di Janeiro and the wayside towns and jungles of South America in search of the secrets of shamans and ayahuasca, the vine of the soul.
Aaron Smith’s often hilarious chronicle of love, danger and enlightenment, set in the one of most vibrant places on earth, is a true delight. Whether Aaron is being held at gunpoint in Rio; stranded on the Amazon River; interviewing musician Peter Gabriel for The Iquitos Times; dancing the samba at Carnival with the 60 Minutes team; undergoing initiation as a Matses warrior; tripping the light fantastic; or falling in love with his beautiful Brazilian wife-to-be, you are bound to ‘experience’, along with him, more than a glimmer of gold.
Like William Burroughs before him, Smith is on a journey to save his soul, but instead falls headfirst into the rich kaleidoscope of South American culture and ultimately discovers the truth that lies deep in the jungle or, sometimes, even closer to home.

AARON SMITH is a freelance journalist, as well as a media and communications consultant. His stories have appeared on SBS, ABC Radio,CNN,The Guardian, Australian Geographic and Koori Mail to name a few.
Aaron grew up in Tasmania, grew street-smart in Melbourne, then grew older in various locations around the planet. From 2013 until 2019 Aaron was the editor of The Torres News. The position garnered him two Queensland Clarion Journalism Awards and four finalist nominations.
Prior to journalism Aaron was a playwright, filmmaker, actor, grunge rocker, sound engineer, barman, dish pig, truck driver and many other things he chooses not to remember. His previous books are Shanti Bloody Shanti: an Indian odyssey (2012) and Chasing El Dorado: a South American adventure.
Aaron currently lives in far north Queensland with his wife, daughter, and their three-legged dog.
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Wild ride! Travelogues of South America are a ten cent piece to the dozen – but put this one to top of your pile. Exu, Macumba, Quimbanda, Ayahuasca, love and piranhas − it’s all here.
Aaron met the woman who was to become his wife when they went dancing deep in the favelas (loosely, and incorrectly translated as ‘slums’ in English) of Rio de Janiero in the last week before his ticket back to Australia ran out. He stayed in Brazil and he and Vivi are now married and living on Thursday Island in the Torres Strait. In Chasing El Dorado A South America Adventure, Aaron is held up at gun point in the favelas, nearly dies when the poison of a giant tree frog is pushed into wounds on his chest (by choice), ends up deep in FARC territory in Colombia following William Burrough’s yage quest and quite a few other adventures. Chasing El Dorado provides a considered, pacy review of the shamanic and healing practice of the ayahuasca vine, proffered as a hallucinogenic brew. It is also a rambunctious and enjoyable travelogue.

Paige Turner,