Monday, July 25, 2016

Safe, Reckless Fun

At the beginning of summer a friend of mine gave me an interesting piece of advice: “Be safe and have reckless fun”. At the time, this oxymoron confused me. How could I simultaneously be safe and be reckless? Without a clue on how to go about it, I set out to concur my newly found challenge.  I attempted to get a tattoo in Brazil, but failed because nobody in the tattoo parlor spoke English. I tried going out and having a wild night of intoxication, and failed twice, one ending in me being completely sober. By late June, I ended my reckless attempts and focused my attention on traveling.
Since, I learned I would be spending my summer in Brazil I began planning the many cities, and counties I would visit while I was in South America.  Unfortunately, my American housemates did not have the same vision in mind. After a month of trying my best to persuade them otherwise, which only resulted in a visiting to an island off the coast of Sao Paulo, I gave up. I realized that if I wanted to travel, I would have to do it, solo.
The thought of traveling around a foreign country and into nearby countries without speaking the native language, terrified me. Many times, I thought of dismissing my thoughts of travel and staying at home, where everything was familiar. At the beginning of July, I went to Rio de Janerio with my housemate from Columbia. There I met a few travelers who had been solo traveling around the world! They assured me that I would have nothing to worry about and if I decided to travel alone I would have the time of my life.  It was in Rio, where my worries started to drift away and my inner reckless took over.
Since then, I have traveled to Buenos Aries, Argentina and Manaus, Brazil by myself. Looking back, I realize that during my adventures, I put myself in a couple of sticky situations that could have ended terribly, but through the grace of god, they did not.
I am currently sitting on a beach in the middle of the rainforest in Manaus, Brazil reflecting on my choices. I have traveled throughout Brazil and Buenos Aries. My phone was stolen. (In Sao Paulo ironically) I misread my iternary and went to the airport when my flight was not scheduled until the next day…twice. I’ve ridden on the back of a motorcycle for the first time. I’ve seen many world wonders. I’ve flown first class. I’ve rode on a speed boat. I’ve made friends from all around the world some of whom spoke English, while others did not.

I am damn near broke, phoneless, and covered in bug bites, but I would not change a thing. Between my travels, my research, and my amazing mentors, I have had the best summer ever! I learned, I created, I laughed and I cried. But most importantly, I had safe and reckless fun!
Me at the metting of the Negro river and the Amaazon river

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