On the beautiful Ipanema Beach. There are some big butts there, seriously.
I’m sitting on my couch, enjoying the stillness and quiet of my house. The leaves are orange and yellow, the sun rays reflected on the wooden floors, I’m back in LA. It all went by so fast. After a crazy week in Rio, Brazil- I woke up after a 6 hour bus ride from Rio to Sao Paulo. I was the last person on the bus because I barely slept at all in Rio. I had $49 in my account, plus bills to pay, but memories I will never forget. Travel really messes you up.
My brain still feels overloaded with smells, pictures, flashes of dancing on the streets of Rio, holding my dress and spinning in circles. I remember conversations, people from all over the world- England, Uruguay, China, Switzerland, Austria, New York, the list goes on. I think of the fuzzy dogs that my host family had, getting lost and listening to the voice within, buses, strangers, lots of strangers. In fact, before my trip to South America, I did not know a single person that I was going to meet. Now that I’m back in LA, I am close friends with at least 15-20 people. Friends that I can message and stay with all over the world.
It’s a bit difficult to squish my trip all into one summary.
So for this post, I want to tell you about what I learned.
I learned that despite being alone at times, we are never alone. The world is full of strangers turned friends. In my quest to see Marco, my sponsored boy, I saw that 3rd world countries are happier than we imagine them to be. In fact, I can say that despite everything Americans have, we seem to pop more anti-depressants than the kids running around without shoes on.
I always wondered why I had the desire to live simply, yet loved the world of fashion and glam. I wondered why I loved the idea of free swag, high heels, makeup and gratis but also the idea of living out of a backpack and being anonymous.
Now I understand. Perhaps, my goal in life isn’t just to help the poor…perhaps it is to help the rich let go of security and stability to live the life they want. In Ecuador, I visited the jungle and saw communities drinking out of rivers. Yet, their simple lives caused them to appreciate people and relationships. In contrast, in America, we are constantly bombarded by material things and status. We are constantly virtually contacting people, but never for the simplicity of enjoying the moment.
I met foreigners who wanted to volunteer in Ecuador, and now I realize, these 3rd world country kids should teach us 1st world folks how to live and love. Going to South America taught me the hospitality of a stranger. Strangers took time out of their day to help me, they literally laughed and smiled for no reason, they were open to you, not closed off or busy.
Brazilians seriously know how to party. This is something we can learn from. I am a different person from last month. For days I didn’t look at a phone or know what time it was, but the natural inclination of what I felt enabled me to live according to my inner self, the people around me, and free myself from time constraints.
The more I travel, the more strangers I meet, the more my craving to be alive and to break out of social constraints increase. We don’t have to be slaves to society, we can be trailblazers, we can still live the life we want when we’re all grown up. I can’t say I have it all figured out, because even now I don’t know where my next paycheck is coming from…but I have experienced it all, I really do live in faith knowing I’m not crazy, but destined for greatness.
After arriving in Rio after a 6 hour bus ride sleeping sitting up, 2 hours trying to find the hostel, I met these 3 friends. I must have been crazy because I decided to hike 2.5 hours to see the Christo. Midway, I stopped several times to hear the quietness of the forest. I had come to Brazil to be still. This was it. After half- dying, hearing the pounding of my heart and running up to the Christo, I started screaming JESUS I’M HERE.
The Christo was startling, beautiful. I was sad to see he didnt have eye pupils. It just shows that statues can’t represent anyone.
Jesus I made it! I climb 2 hours to see you.
Watching the sunset in Rio @ the Christo