IM BACK!! And by popular request. ( & by popular I mean my mom and dean, my grandpa ) Anyways! This month I have been traveling across the entire country of Brasil. I got home about a week ago and I have been so out of routine, that's why this post is coming at the middle of the week. I have so much I need to write about I just don't think I can write about it all. 18 days of nothing but going and traveling gets a little overwhelming so instead of writing about every single thing that happened I will just tell you about the important stuff; the places I visited and my favorite thing I did there. Let's start from the beginning.
Lençóis: After arriving in Salvador, we drove to the small city of Chapada Diamantina about 9 hours away. Chapada Diamantina is very small and is hidden away in the mountains of the North East. It was probably the most beautiful city we went to during the whole trip. We spent 2 days here hiking in the mountains and visiting caves, natural made rock slides, and other natural pools.
Maceió: Maceio has to be one of the most beautiful cities in all of Brasil. The beaches were surreal and we spent most of our time there. I had the opportunity to surf one day and the next take a boat to the middle of the ocean to a reef where you could stand. This sounds strange but it was strange, to be in the middle of the ocean and be able to walk around. I defiantly wish I had more time here.
Canindé de São Francisco:Our next city was probably the least important and least exciting. I wouldn't even consider it apart of the North East. The drive there it looked like we were in Saint George: a desert. It was hot and thankfully we only spent one day here. We spent the whole day on a boat on the Sao Francisco river. The river is in a canyon and is filled with piranhas so we only got to swim for about an hour in a blocked off section. After our river adventures we went to our hotel. The hotel at the time was a mess but later ended up being the joke of the trip: The Favela Hotel. It was so old and so run down. There was no wifi, no service, no air-conditioning, and my favorite, frogs. Everywhere. In the toilets, in our rooms, you just couldn't get away from them.
Salvador: Salvador was incredible. This was our first big city which means it was our first "dangerous" city. We couldn't wear jewelry or nice clothes, and we had to wear our backpacks on the front to prevent pick-pocketing. We visited a lot of churches; my favorite had the wall of wishes. There are colorful ribbons you can tie to the wall to make a wish. It is very popular and was so cool to visit a place I had always dreamed of visiting. We also had the opportunity to visit a huge market with over 100 shops and although it was a little overwhelming it was an experience I will never forget.
The rest of our time in Salvador was spent in Historic Salvador. Micheal Jackson filmed "They don't care about us" in the streets and favelas here and it is absolutely incredible. We got to explore the streets and shop but with a minor set back; it started to rain and it didn't stop. It was pouring rain the entire time we were there and at the time it was miserable. I thought it was a smart idea to wear a skirt that day and ended up needing to buy shorts because my clothes were soaking wet 2 hours into the rain. Me and my friends finally found somebody who was selling rain coats ( the plastic ones ) and of course they were at a ridiculous price. We agreed to buy them but some didn't. 2 boys from our group refused to buy the overpriced coats and went shop to shop asking for trash bags. By the end of the night they had found the perfect amount of trash sacks to make their own jackets, the main part of the coat had been sew by a lady at an acai shop so the "coats" would fit the boys and prevent water from entering.
Porto Seguro: Another beach city! This is the probably the nicest city we went to and I'm not saying that because we got to go to the beach again. The hotel we stayed at is located right on the beach and had an amazing view of the entire city.
Rio de Janeiro:And now the city I'm sure you all have been waiting to read about. Rio de Janeiro. I am not going to lie to you I had overwhelming anxiety the entire time I was there because of how dangerous it is and it didn't help our bus broke down for 8 hours on the side of the road just outside the city. After finally getting the bus working again we arrived to Rio at 2 AM and I have never seen so many homeless people in my life, and that did not help my anxiety either. After getting settled in to our apartments we headed out the next morning to go grocery shopping. We had to cook breakfast each morning for ourselves and these were probably the best meals we ate throughout the trip. Our days were long and filled with visiting all the important places located in Rio: Christ the Redeemer, pao de acucar, Maracana Stadium, and Copacabana Beach. It was so amazing to be at places I had only ever seen in pictures and I loved every second of it.
Angra dos Reis:A little city outside of Rio was our last stop for the trip and was probably the best way to end my adventure. It was absolutely breath taking. It is a small coastal city on that was built on the side of the mountain that extends down to the shore of the ocean. The city consists of over 150 islands and I got to island hop and visit over 10 of them.
There are pictures in the Photos page so you can see exactly where I went and I apologize for how brief these descriptions are! I am getting back into the routine of writing and will be back this weekend for my final post of 2017!! I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and have the best New Year!!
365 of 365. We made it. The end of 2017 and I can't believe it's come to another end, where has the time gone? I think we all forget that at the end of every year we always ask ourselves the same question, where HAS the time gone? I can honestly say I don't have an answer; It feels like this year just started when in reality it's just ending. 2017 has been a year of growth, a year of mistakes, and a year of learning and instead of sharing with you all those things each individually, I've made a list ( if you know me I am a very "list oriented" type of person" ) about the things I will be leaving behind. Through the hard times, the good times, and the somewhere in between I have created a list.
20 Things to Give up if you Want to be Happy
If I have learned anything this year, it is that I won't ever be ready for what life throws at me. I won't have the right words when it counts; I won't know what to choose when life itself is staring me down. But now I know I don't always need to have the right answer.
I've learned I can go on waiting for something, sustained by hope and nothing more- or I can put it aside and shrug my shoulders knowing I'm better off without it and bravely accept the fact that I can't keep my heart safe anymore than I can stop love from taking everything from me.
I have learned to make it a habit to tell people thank you. To express your appreciation sincerely and without the expecting of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and soon you'll find many others around you. Truly appreciate life and you'll find that you have more of it.
I have learned to stop saying yes when I don't mean it- to live as authentically as I know how. To allow the tips of my fingers to skirt the darkness, as long as I remember to keep my eyes fixed on the light that I choose to follow. And as one door closes, another opens. Wherever happened over this past year, Be thankful for where it brought you. Where you are is where you're meant to be and with that, I can move forward with the knowledge that unlike so many others, I have another year ahead of me- another shot at making it all the way around the sun, and a chance to get it right this time around. What is coming is better than what is gone.
Tomorrow is the first day of a new 365 blank page book. What if you devoted this year to loving yourself more? This is your life. Do what you want and do it often.
If you don't like something, change it.
If you don't like your job, quit.
If you don't have enough time, stop watching TV.
If you are looking for the love of your life, stop; they will be waiting for you when you start doing things you love.
Stop over analyzing and stop over thinking, life is simple.
All emotions are beautiful.
When you eat, appreciate every last bite.
Life is simple.
Open your heart, mind and arms to new things and people, we are better when we are united in our differences.
Ask the next person you see what their passion is and share your inspiring dream with them.
Travel often; getting lost will help you find yourself.
Some opportunities only come once, sieze them.
life is about the people you meet and the things you create with them, so go out and start creating.
Life is short, live your dream and wear your passion.
Heres to 365 new days
Heres to 365 new chances
First off.. I'M A HIGH SCHOOL GRAD YAAHOO!! And I'm sorry about how long it's taken me to get around to writing again. 14 days if were really counting. So here's to the first post for 2018 you avid readers. These past two weeks have been pretty boring; I'm not in school because its technically "summer break" so my days consist of binge watching Netflix, trips to the gym ( my personal favorite part of the day ), playing with my host brother and sister and studying Portuguese, lots of studying but we'll get to that later. As boring as it sitting at home I am dreading going back to school. Being in school isn't "that bad" but it's just boring; why be bored in an uncomfortable desk at school when I can be bored in my bed at home. I know you aren't reading this to hear me complain about school so I'll get to the important stuff that's been happening.
The past few weeks have been filled with so many tender mercies, it has truly been blessings upon blessings. One of the first happened at the gym earlier this past week. For those who don't know I have a "running partner" at the gym. He's an older guy and we've always just ended up running next to each other at the same time everyday; he's tried and talk to me but I'd always just nod my head and agree because,
1.I'm in the middle of working out and..
2. I honestly have no idea what you're saying dude.
But after a few months of this, this week he finally cornered me when I wasn't running and didn't have head phones in. ( Which used to be my worst nightmare. ) We got to talking and I explained I wasn't Brazilian (duh, have you seen me) and that's why I never answered any of his questions. The conversation continued and totally out of context he told me he was LDS! I didn't know what to say, it was so cool to meet somebody so unexpected at a place I was so familiar with that shared my same beliefs. Not only was this man was familiar face to me but now I knew he shared my same values. I never imagined something as small as that meeting would mean so much to me. The next tender mercies have come from within my own home. I switched host families last month and now I am living with 2 little kids. That itself is a blessing to me; I love being in a "family" environment where we go out and do things as a family and spend time with the extended family. It has made these past few weeks feel a little more like home.
I made a goal for myself to focus this year on self improvement, how to be happier in a sense And after thinking about the best possible ways to achieve this self improved happiness I’ve come up with 8 ways to make it happen:
How to embrace yourself: Life is constantly reminding us about what we don’t have, but what about all that we do have? What makes you special? What do you have to offer the world around you? What do you enjoy? Find the things that you do love about yourself. They’re enough.
How to feel content:
Nobody gets everything they want. There will always be something, new problems will always arise. Instead of striving for perfection, strive for contentedness. Find a way to be happy with what you already have and you’ll always have exactly what you need.
How to find fresh inspiration:
“Your thing” can start to feel like the “only thing”, but there’s just so much to experience, learn or invest in. This doesn’t mean a career change, it’s just nice to remember the world has plenty to offer. Travel more, read more, learn new skills and try new things.
How to Acknowledge the Sad:
HIding your darkest feelings from strangers is probably smart but hiding them from yourself is not. Recognize what is hurting you. Take steps to address it. This might mean talking to somebody who understands. This might mean taking real time to process.
Sunshine & Rainbows:
Life’s not all sunshine and rainbows, but a lot of it actually is. Sunshine is literally good for you, so go soak up that vitamin D. The sun is a massive star that will outlive all of us. As for you rainbows, well, you've got to weather the storm first. Hang in there.
How to celebrate everything:
The things you take for granted might be major accomplishments for someone else. Paying rent on time is an accomplishment. Getting errand done is an accomplishment. Even just waking up is an accomplishment worth celebrating. Learn to celebrate the little stuff, it matters.
Forget the destination:
Happiness is not a place it is a journey. You do not “arrive” at joy but you can strive to create it in small and enjoyable ways. Stop searching for the end or it’ll find you before you ever “get there”.
Create & Meet Goals:
Having something positive to look forward to is important. We no longer have the structure of childhood to keep up motivated and subsequently rewarded. So set goals for yourself, big or small then meet them. Then set new ones and keep on going (forever).
With these 8 things I truly believe we can become the best versions of ourselves. In 1 year we can either be in the same place or a better place. Focus everyday on these little things to better your health and happiness. It will take time but you can make it happen, and when it does you’ll thank yourself for it.
Anyways, that’s all I’ve got. I miss you all very much and I love you just as much! Talk to you all soon!