My story starts like any other. Back in 2018, have just graduated with my bachelor’s, with no idea where and what I would be doing. Master’s seemed unachievable and my dreams a bit blurry. Instead of staying home and crying my soul out, I started already looking for ways to help me navigate this. Traveling for me has always been something I wished I would be able to be doing more often; coming from a middle-class Eastern-European family, has always seemed too far to reach. I knew I had to work twice as hard to be able to study and secure one trip here and there, once in a while. I couldn’t really see happening for me to actually travel outside Europe for now. Well, when you don’t have opportunities, you got to make them. And that’s what I did.
While attending an event, I met an amazing group of people who actually helped me organize my way out of Europe in 2019. I don’t have enough words to express how grateful I am for doing it before the world took this opportunity away from us.
After emailing back and forth; interviewing, and meeting some super passionate people amazingly willing to receive me in their homes and countries, IT WAS OFFICIAL; I was about to spend around 2 months in Brazil, in Salvador, the state of Bahia. Working with Climate actions and empowering children to see themselves as heroes. Nurture them to act on the things they care about: our home, our planet. If you want to read a bit about my experience, here I previously wrote an article on the subject.
Now that the day has come, with all my packed bags, I am hopping on the train that would take me straight to the airport. I was going to cross the ocean all by myself, being on a plane for over 14 hours. Who would have believed that 5 years ago? Not me for sure.
Shortly once arrived there, what at the beginning started as a solo-experience (as I thought), turned into much more; a family-experience, community-experience, or in short one of the best thing that could have happened to me at that point. From then on, something really changed inside of me. I wasn’t judged for trying to speak another language I am not proficient in; I wasn’t criticized that much based on my nationality, looks or other such things; and most importantly it made me reflect on what happiness truly means and feels like. Because today’s society measures happiness based on health and income , we fall into this blind circle that because we are earning, and because we have material things, that should automatically translate to happiness. Well, I hope we all know by now that things don’t always go that way.
Besides the community, Brazil showed me that it’s okay to let go sometimes and do things as it feels right for you; without forcing anything, and without stressing out too much about things you can’t change. It gave me an ideal routine with work, fun and purpose combined; and although being away from “home” daily for very long hours, the next day I would still have the energy to get up and do it all over again. It gave me this energy I needed to really continue on the path I was already on. Gave me back the hope that all my dreams will eventually come true; but only if I am okay, comfortable, and surrounded by the right people.
If you are reading this, you’re probably as nostalgic as I am. I need my freedom back. I want to travel again. So much more left to see. I’ve been inside for way too long already, moved countries, still trying to manage school, personal projects and other professional arrangements, all from only one place. It’s so unbelievable to even realize how many things have changed since last year, but if there’s something from this trip I’d like to take with me and share with you for any future trips, here are a few:
You’re never really lonely
You’ll always find people like you, sharing the same ideas and hope from life. Those people will make your trip worthwhile. So have the courage to strike the conversation. Those people might just become your friends in minutes.
Focus on discovering the culture and the people
You’ll never learn as much unless you really get out there and try speaking with people, even if you don’t speak the same language. I guarantee you that your experience will be way different than anything else.
The world is a field with incredible food
I know you might shy away from trying out different foods, but now it’s your time to get out of your zone. Brazil, for example, has a looooot of amazing dishes, but personally, I love street food. I think experiencing the culture through street food, really adds a plus to your experience, that any other fancy place won’t offer you.
You don’t need that much to be happy
It’s packing time and you would really just want to take up the whole wardrobe and off you go. But hey, just think about it. Haven’t you been struggling so many times with all the packing you’ve been doing, ending up using not even half of the things?
Take this time to really enjoy yourself and to forget all about those things that have been bothering you recently. It’s been a long year, filled with a lot of confusing moments and you truly deserve at least a moment of stillness, with everything put aside, and to really appreciate how amazing life is.
Article initially published on Vocal.Media