brazil // on solo traveling, hostels and finding the guts

It might have been the thought of new adventures, spicing my life up, the excitement of meeting new people, getting to live in another culture, or maybe it was just a way of challenging myself. When looking back, I don’t know how I had the guts to do it, I don’t know what motivated me.

Do you ever ask yourself what do you want from life, travel the world and discover what it has to offer, or stay in your comfort zone? Don’t you want to know what the world looks like? The unknown may be terrifying, but it’s worth a try. Because even when you’ve got everything you need, you always want more. Life isn’t about staying comfortable, it’s about experiencing things you wouldn’t do on a regular basis. Don’t you ever get bored, and tired of your routine? That’s what I felt last December. That’s when I decided to do an internship in Brazil.

Every story begins with an adventure. I’m not a good story teller, but I’ve got some good stories to tell.

I remember it as if it was yesterday. I used to imagine it, dream about it and how my life would be like in Brazil. All those expectations, all those fantasies and dreams of a paradise life. I only had a few hours left before flying to Florianopolis, I couldn’t realise I was about to start a whole new life for a while. I remember my closest friend trying to lighten up the atmosphere, I remember my father repeating ‘just go already’ and my mother who wanted me to stay as long as possible. At these times, you’re a spectator of your own life, you don’t really understand what’s going on. I had never felt as  alive until that instant. I kept on thinking that four months in a lifetime is enough time to fill your head with memories, to make you feel at home across the ocean, it’s enough for you to build relationships and learn about yourself.

I thought I would cry when leaving my relatives and friends, I thought I would cry in the plane. I didn’t, until I got to my tiny room in this hostel with a view of the lagoon.

My body was in Brazil while my heart was home. I was there, not knowing anyone except from my internship supervisor, not a word I could say in Portuguese.

View from the balcony – Lagoa da Conceicao, Florianopolis

When an opportunity like this comes up to you, you don’t think, you just go. I am not telling you that you have to sit in your bedroom and wait for it to come to you, but provoke it, ask around if your friends or family have heard of jobs/internships abroad, search online. If you don’t try, you’ll never know.

From my experience, I would really advice you to stay in a hostel if you travel. One of the toughest thing to do is socialising, especially if you travel alone, and renting a flat or a room by yourself really isn’t the best idea. I won’t pretend that my life in a hostel on the other side of the world went smoothly, because it didn’t. The first days were hard, and I recall fighting every morning with my head to get out of my bed and embrace the new day. How did I cope with it? I run, every time I felt like I was losing my shit I would go out and run. I used to tell myself that it wouldn’t last, and that it’s normal to feel lost in a new environment, especially in a country you have never been to and do it by yourself.

Take my advice: put yourself out there, and surround yourself with good people. Living in a hostel was the best choice I could have made. I’ve met some of the most true people there. It pushes you to speak to others, get to know them. They might be from all around the world, but we’re all the same, no matter where we come from, we all have things in common. They all as individuals have their own story to tell, and you’ll learn from each one of them. After some time, they make you feel at home, because they are your new home.

Home is being surrounded by the right people – Pinguins Hostel, July 2016

Once you’ve got your marks, you begin to properly embrace your life in the country. From the food, and the parties, to the mind-blowing hikes, endless beaches and the most welcoming and friendly Brazilians you can meet, Brazil has so much to offer.

So close your eyes for a moment, imagine sitting in a bar on a peer sipping on a beer, listening to Jack Johnson, filling the warmth of the sun on your skin and enjoying the company of friends? Well, that was my life.

After a couple of weeks, you’ll get the Brazilian way of living, or what I like to call dolce vita. I’ve honestly never felt that peaceful in my twenty years of existence, everything about the Brazilian life screams calm, airiness, peaceful life.

Fancy surfing on a Wednesday lunch break? Fancy a food break? Oh my, if you ever go to Brazil you have to try acai, brigadeiros, pao de mel and pao de qeijo, or pasteis – Brazilian specialties – food is tasty and cheap   especially fruits, vegetables.

Dolce de Leite, Banana and Nata / Papaya / Coffee

Fancy a night out? Brazilians know how to party. You won’t be disappointed. From the universities parties filled with hundreds of students dancing to Brazilian songs to the fanciest night clubs where you sip on your expensive drinks.  Put your nicest clothes on, drink some Caipirinhas or straight cachaça, and embrace the night.

Nightclub – North of Florianopolis

Fancy a long walk on the beach with this person you’re considering a good friend even if you only met a couple of weeks before?

Endless beaches, long walks and a friend from Sweden

As I was working full time, I didn’t have the chance to travel that much, but I made it to the Iguazu Falls. And let me tell you, it was one of the most breath-taking places I’ve ever been to. You can either go on the Brazilian side and get the full picture of the falls or you can go on the Argentinian side, get closer to the falls and take a boat which will bring you under the falls. It is mind blowing, and I highly recommend you to go there, it makes you feel nature and what it has to give. I think it is important to remind yourself of that, to take a deep breath.

Iguazu Falls – Brazil 

We spent the night in a hostel in Argentina, drinking red wine and talking to this American fellow who had untold stories to tell. Moments like this make you enjoy every single moment you’re sharing with people you met not so long ago, appreciate life as it is. Maybe not every moment is perfect, but sometimes you just have to take what you got, and make the best of it. You’re the scriptwriter of your own life. You are the choices you make, and if you happen to complain too much about how bored you are, how lame your life has become, take a trip somewhere – it doesn’t have to be that far – drink some beers with strangers, share stories, and learn more about yourself through travels, strangers, and food.

When you get back home – if you make it back, it’s tough to leave such a paradise – people often ask you ‘so what was it like?’. The issue with that question is that they can’t relate to what you’re talking about. They’ve got no clue how life was like out there, why you miss it so much, and why you would die to jump on the next plane to go back and start your life. The worst part is when you realise that the only thing that has changed is your perception of life, everything remains the same. After a while you just learn how to live as if nothing had happened. Still, in your heart – deep inside of you – you know you’ll go back, you know how you felt there, and how deep the whole experience was.

Sometimes, I think about those four months spent in Brazil to remind myself that there is more than this life at university in the UK, that you just have to be patient, don’t think twice, just trust your instinct. Because at the end of the day, you’ll be fine in life.

Florianopolis, Brazil

You won’t know until you experience it. As soon as you start travelling, you don’t want to stop.

So what’s your next trip going to be? Australia? Bali? Why not both?

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