Traveling Messes You Up

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.

Big time.

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

 

South America: Finding Home in Brazil

Yes, that is my name on a towel. This is my first time couchsurfing and I was a little hesitant, but the family has been incredibly nice. They have one dog and two cats, the dog is named “Maggie” and has two poofy hairdo´s on the side of its head.

I now have complete access to internet, it`s incredible. After a horrible experience dying from food poisoning in Ecuador, I had to fly back to Quito and then to Brazil. Yesterday was a full day of flying, and my stomach was aching so bad. But thank God, today I feel great and I´ve learned a few Portugeuse words…unfortunately, with a Brazilian computer, I can´t spell check my English.

Small note of gratefulness: I had thrown away my crappy towel in Ecuador because I didn´t want to carry too much. On the way to the house, I asked my friend if they had an extra towel. When I got to there, they told me to look in the bathroom….voila- a new towel with my name on it. This may be a small surprise, but to me I knew that god had provided one with my very name on it. He sure takes care of His kids.

Everytime I look at the picture I am reminded that I have a home here in Brazil. I´ve been looking into a lot of travel writing sites, am trying to stop myself from compulsive workaholic behavior and not submit while I´m here. I know that I have something lined up in the states, there´s no human explanation, but my friend said that I´ll be working one on one with people, some kind of consulting work.

After going to the jungle, meeting Marco and working with the kids, I had 3 days. Even though, I didn´t have the money, I knew I had to go to the Galapagos Island because when would I return to Ecuador again? I put it on credit (yes, I know, not too smart, but somtimes  you have to sacrifice, plus it´s not like I have college loans) and flew there. I got sick the second day, wabam, diarrhea and vomit galore. I was praying my ass off (to put it nicely) and tons of people were back home to support me. But I felt completely alone and vulnerable.

As a 3rd world country, Ecuador sure had awesome hospitals. As a foreigner, I got to see the nurse for free and only had to pay 21 bucks for medication. They stabbed my arm with a vaccination shot and gave me some acid eating medicine. Wow, if I was in America, I would be screwed over with tons of bills.

Some pictures while I was still alive:

Galapagos

Turtoise

No I´m not in Taiwan, but there´s a street like the night market. There I met a Taiwanese, no kidding, straight from Taiwan. It felt good to talk in Mandarin because I had been speaking really bad Spanglish for 10 days.

I will expand on more when I return to the states. More posts to come!! And do keep the comments coming!! I love them! God bless!

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My First Photo Journal – Mi Nombre Es Rebekka

My First Photo Journal entry! ….the end says “but I have FAITH!” You can contribute to my volunteer trip here.

I just had this ingenious idea right now and decided to share my journal with you. I’ll be posting doodles as I go to Ecuador and Brazil. I won’t be bringing my laptop due to safety and well, my mac is my life, so I’ll be handwriting all my experiences. These doodles will eventually become a little book that I’ll sell and all individual doodles will be for sale on Etsy!

Today, I went to Healthy Traveler in Pasadena to get my yellow fever vaccination. I had a moment of squeaking before I had to sit down and get the shot. I was anticipating a long drawn out shot, but it literally was a stab in the arm and VOILA it was done! Cha-Ching $154 please. Throw-up. Yep, the cost of traveling to a 3rd world country is much higher.

Furthermore, I found out I actually leave ON Mother’s day, the night of (1:30 ish am). Here’s a poem for ya’lls.

Push and pull, our story goes. I’m holding back, a flood of emotions, allowing the gift that is me, space and time. The essence of doing nothing, waiting feels like a suffocation. Though, each moment, I’m breathing, being in the present. He once said, breathe and pull yourself to the present since all you have is now.

In the gift of space and time, trusting that love is true even when words are not spoken. This is my dilemma. Why is it so hard to just be? To give up trying and receive. To give up pushing so you can push forward. To let go and breathe, letting love be free, flowing, not suffocated or silenced. Now I know that love was never easy, love was never just admiration and immature play…love is, more complex, more present, more simple. It is a dichotomy that can only be learned through experience.