In my geography text book, I saw a drawing of thatched huts on the banks of the Amazon. When I'm old, I shall go there, I told my 10-year-old self. 17 years later, I was in the middle of a continent ruled by dictators assisted by death squads. Hitch-hiking was easy – walk to the sentry point on the edge of town, wait for the soldier to wave his gun at the next driver going my way. Not many refused. A year later, I was a global gypsy. I've been one ever since.