One week! How is it possible one week has already passed!?!?! My social calendar overfloweth and I can hardly keep up. But I am like a pig in sh*t right now. It’s already been an incredible experience and I STILL have five more weeks to go. Winning! Here’s the skinny on where I am, what I’m doing, and what sorts of craziness I’ve already gotten myself into.
I was terribly bored working from home and one Friday night while practicing my winning couch potato positions, I googled “remote work and travel”, or something to that effect. I was on the hunt for some sort of group of digital nomads that work and travel around the world together. There just HAD to be something. Voila! An entire page of options presented itself and I discovered the glory of Hacker Paradise. It was everything I was looking for and as it turns out, even more than I ever expected. HP is a group of about twenty five 20 somethings to 40 somethings that are either career digital nomads or are working on personal projects (writing books, blogs, etc) and simply looking for other people to share ideas with, travel with, and learn from. I’m sure there are myriad reasons each of the travelers join the group but these reasons seem to be the common theme. The reason I chose Hacker Paradise is a longer story that I won’t bother with. But look them up online at www.hackerparadise.org.
So, I signed up for 6 weeks in Florianopolis, Brasil (yes Brasil with an “s”), a large island about 700 miles south of Rio. It took about 24 hours to get to “Floripa” and the adventure was quite humbling. Whoever says “oh everyone speaks English” needs a swift kick in the ass. Because no, not everyone speaks English. In fact, most Brazilians don’t. And that’s ok. It just makes this experience even more exotic and authentic. But I managed somehow and safely arrived to my new temporary home right in the heart of Lagoa da Concecaio, a small community that wraps around a stunning lagoon, just minutes from the beach. (I’m not exactly sure how to type with accents and such as they don’t make those on my keyboard. But the last “c” has a weird squiggly line at the bottom of it. Just pretend.)
Here are some observations and shenanigans thus far and soooo many more to go:
- You can’t throw toilet paper in the toilet anywhere. Yikes.
- Google translate is a GAME CHANGER. It allows you to hold your phone camera up to a menu (or anything for that matter) and it will replace all of the Portuguese words with English words. Mind blown. You can also talk into it, and it translates what you are saying in writing and in audio. I can have a full on conversation with anyone and not even know a lick of Portuguese. I haven’t, but I COULD.
- Brazilians are very, um, passionate? In one night, I watched three different couples swallowing each other whole right on the sidewalk for all the world to see. Zero fucks given. Except me of course. I couldn’t stop staring. Like a 10 year old watching Porky’s for the first time.
- The food is amazing and incredibly cheap. There’s a lot of cheese. Real cheese. Not processed watery American cheese. And the meat. My god the meat is ridiculously good. Many beef dishes are made with filet mignon. Thankfully I have to walk everywhere or I may come back slightly obese.
- The beaches here are so diverse. Because the island has so many coves, nooks, and crannies, every beach looks and feels a little different. Some nude ones, some great for surfing, others that are calm and serene with enormous boulders towering out of the water. There are crowded party beaches and yet others you have to hike to. We took an Uber to the bottom of one of the hiking trails and after a 30 minute jaunt, were the first ones to arrive to a secluded and stunning beach cove call Praia do Gravata. On the way back, a few of us wanted to check out another beach so we took a chance on some other trails that we’d hoped would take us to Mole Beach. Unfortunately, we hit several dead ends so we decided instead to just make our own trail to Mole beach. Big mistake. Got stuck in the forest on the side of this small mountain, right smack in front of a homeless camp. We had to backtrack a bit and then ended up in the backyard of a hostel. The kind owner with the chainsaw noticed our pathetic selves, as we were covered in mud and bleeding from every limb, and waived us through his property since it had a clear path right to the beach. Life saved.
- So I went to an all night/morning rave at Warung Beach Club. You read that right. A rave. According to Wikipedia, A rave (from the verb: to rave) is a large dance party at a nightclub, dance club or festival featuring performances by DJs, who select and mix a seamless flow of loud electronic dance music songs and tracks. By “seamless flow”, they mean one song. By “loud electronic dance”, they mean so loud and so much bass that your heart can’t beat at its regular pace because there is a manmade pacemaker at the DJ booth that is controlling its rhythm. I always wondered what they were like and now I feel so delighted to experience my first, AND LAST, rave in Brasil. J
- I took surfing lessons! I’m embarrassed to even type that. I live on the beach, used to surf as a kid, and now I’m in Brasil paying someone to show me something I can just practice in my own backyard. Anyhoo, the instructor, Evandro Santos is an ex pro surfer and shaper that has a neat little setup right near Mole beach. It was a fabulous morning with the waves all to ourselves.
Needless to say it was a full week with several firsts (and one last) and I can hardly wait to see what the next few weeks brings. I certainly can’t keep up this pace but when FOMO is fierce, you say “yes” to everything. Saude!
P.S. I have been posting most of my updates via Instagram stories so if you have any desire to see real time photos and video, hop over there.