The Willing Road Monthly Round-Up | March 2018

Here’s a confession: my entire trip to South America was based on one idea-- I need to be in Brazil in time for Carnival. Even though the process to get to Brazil took some time, I met my goal, but just seeing Rio De Janeiro during Carnival wasn’t enough for me. I’ve been in Rio for 2 months now, a long period of time for a traveler like me. So here we go, another monthly round-up:

Destinations Visited

Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Arraial Do Cabo, Brazil

Favorite Destination

Rio De Janeiro

Best Dish Eaten

Home made fried fish, Brazilian style, in Arraial Do Cabo

Brazilian food
Homemade Fried Fish, rice, beans, mashed potatoes. YUM!

The Dirtiest I Got


Hiking to a viewpoint through above the Santa Marta favela. The fastest way to get there from where I live in Botafogo is to go through the favela, and behind the favela is a hill covered in thick brush and trees. I was sliced up by tall grass with blades that made it feel like a million paper cuts as well as eaten alive by the hungriest of mosquitoes. But the view was worth it.

The Wettest I Got


Gone are the days I find myself in the ocean at 8 am from being out all night. Instead, I spent hours floating in the ocean in Arraial Do Cabo at a reasonable time (how dull of me). 

New Experience


Actually taking the time to learn Portuguese and perfect my samba.  Ok, it’s not perfect yet, because I haven’t even tried doing it in heels, but I can definitely do it barefoot in my living room.

Highlights


Walking through the Santa Marta favela-- A lot of people think “favela” and immediately associate it with the worst place one could possibly visit when in Rio. I lived in one favela when I first arrived in Rio, and then I ventured into Santa Marta. Both times I found that I felt safer walking around these areas, than if I were to walk around in downtown. A whole different vibe is emitted from the streets of the favelas: there’s more laughter, and more people spending time outside. I say this, but please don’t go walking around the favela taking pictures of the locals with your large DSLR camera.

Cheating my way to the top of Christ the Redeemer-- Meaning, sure, I walked to the top of Christ the Redeemer. But I also had an Uber drop me off halfway up the mountain. According to everyone and their mom, this was a much safer version than climbing the entirety of the mountain of Christ the Redeemer, Corcovado, and I really wanted to bring my camera. There are a lot of accounts of people being assaulted and robbed on the trail to Corcovado, as well as tales of tranquil hikes up the mountain, but I didn’t want to risk it with my camera.

Hiking-- For me, a perfect city has beaches, night life and hikes. There are so many hikes in Rio De Janeiro and not only can they challenge you in some way, but they also always provide a nice view. Because Rio is just gorgeous to look at. 

Finally going to Arraial Do Cabo-- Before I had even decided to spend my time in Rio De Janeiro, I was supposed to live in Arraial Do Cabo, a much more tranquil and safer town. It’s only about 2-3 hours outside of Rio, so I finally made my way out there where I stayed with some friends from Argentina and explored the area. I also got a pretty nice tan, so that’s cool.

The return of Fabiola-- I don’t really talk about the friends I meet on the road too much (I’d be talking forever) but this is different. Fabiola, another long-term traveler actually left Brazil for a bigger and brighter future at the end of February only to return a few weeks later because there really is no place quite like Rio De Janeiro.

Starting a vlog-- I haven’t gotten too far into vlogging, yet, but I enjoy editing video so much, I just had to start doing it. I love putting together video, even though I don’t have all the equipment to make a quality vlog, I’m doing my best with what I have and I really like it. I post every Thursday. You can find it here. 

Urca, Rio De Janeiro
A hike up Urca can provide this view

Challenges


Starting a vlog-- I am constantly made fun of for always recording stuff. I think that’s what stops a lot of people from pursuing what they love. On top of that, it’s tough to bring out a camera in Rio due to the constant danger and possibilities of being robbed. But for some reason, I chose this city to start the vlog in…

Saying Goodbye-- I’m constantly on the road, and I thought I would stay in Rio a full three months (the amount of time my visa allows), but as soon as I heard some of my other traveler friends were leaving, I found myself with a twinge of jealousy. As much as I love Rio, I also love traveling and new cultures. I’ve been getting to know Brazilian culture on a deeper level (even though my Portuguese still sucks), but I’ve been thinking a lot about leaving as well.

No money, no honey-- as they say in Southeast Asia. Maybe one day I’ll write a post about being able to afford travel since I get a lot of people asking me about it, but I’ll just be honest about it right here and right now: I’m broke. I was supposed to end my trip in South America back in February which meant that my bank account had run dry, ready to be refilled by a steady job back in the states. But that didn’t happen. I chose to immerse myself in a culture, learn Portuguese, learn how to samba, figure out my way around Rio De Janeiro and save worrying about how I was going to pay for a ticket home another day. This forced me to think more about how I was spending my money again such as choosing between a 30-minute walk or a $5 Uber ride. Let’s just say it’s been easy to keep the weight off from all the fatty foods I’ve been eating because of this dilemma.

What's To Come in April


Deciding where to go next was tough for me. I want to constantly be on the road, but I think I’ve grown as a traveler. I weighed all my options:

Flights from Brazil to Europe are cheaper than flights from Brazil to the United States, so why wouldn’t I go there? Or should I continue to Argentina and Chile, like most people do? What about Mexico? I haven’t been there yet.

My need to constantly be on the road, maybe see a cute guy I’m head over heels for, and the thought of never returning home excited me. As I looked around though, at my clothing, my dirty backpack, and the useless things I was carrying, I realized there was only one choice to make, no matter the cost.

I will be spending most of April finalizing my experiences in Rio De Janeiro and at the end, I will finally be going home where I will return, once again, a changed person. But let’s be honest, I can not wait to get my hands on an In ‘N’ Out burger, eat a proper burrito, say “dude” to every person and inanimate object as possible, and bump Tupac like it’s nobody’s business. There really are some things that you just can’t do in other countries except the one that you’re born in.

Anyway, prepare for my return, but don’t be discouraged, the blog and the vlogs will continue.

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