The more I travel– perhaps, the more I age– the more I become clear on my priorities.
Over the past year, I’ve realized I am not traveling just to travel.
I am not that interested in traveling just seeing the sites of a city… I mean, after awhile, all the historic city centers tend to blend together, don’t they?
Having said this, if a special site comes along the path (like Iguazu Falls), I’ll hit it up if I’m in the neighborhood.
I’m not doing a RTW-backpacking trip. I’m not doing a gap year. I’m not doing press trips.
I am interested in finding places where I could see myself living in.
This means I have a set of priorities and a mental filter through which I am perceiving things. For example, if your city has more than 3 months per year of extremely hot or extremely cold weather, you’ve got to give me a really good reason to stay. You city can’t be ridiculously expensive, and you must have sweet, feminine girls.
And, you’ve got to compete with a city I already love.
I’m sorry she came before you. I can’t help that. But she’s still a part of the long-term picture.
Nevertheless, I keep an open mind about the various places I visit.
I now descend upon Brazil.
With a rather large country, especially one as large as Brazil, one difficulty I face is that I can’t conceivably visit every place in in the country. There will most likely be scores of cities that I will never get to. (Heck, I’ve only been to 5 in Colombia.)
I also need time to learn the language and culture to a certain degree in order to determine liveability.
But, I don’t want to stay long in a city that doesn’t gel with me.
So what I’m going to do with Brazil (for this time around, southern Brazil), is to ‘scan’ a number of cities to see which ones resonate with me, and then plop down in one of them to study Portuguese and live awhile.
So, here’s the rough itinerary of the major cities (subject to change):
Foz do Iguaçu –> Porto Alegre –> Florianopolis –> Curitiba –> São Paulo –> Rio de Jainero –> Vitória –> Belo Horizonte
If you look at them on the map, I am basically working my way upwards through some of the bigger cities in southern Brazil. I plan on going to each city to find out if I could see myself living there for a few months time.
How long is this trip?
I’m not sure how long this ‘evaluation’ process will take. For some places, I’d imagine 2-3 days. For others, it might take 2 weeks.
I also recognize that I am leaving out huge portions of Brazil (this time around), including Bahia, the northeast, and the Amazon. But those will have to come later.
I feel somewhat on top of things because I’ve already done a decent amount of research on the internet to know that these would be leading candidates for me to live in– at least until I have a good fluency of Portuguese.
So, I will do this Brazil blitz, then (probably) will decide on a city and stay put for a few months to double-down on Portuguese and get to know the place really well.
Also, many people have talked about the high costs of Brazil, but I want to investigate for myself. You can always cut corners in terms of your hard costs, and you can also make certain ‘strategic connections’ which will lead to things happening better than you originally planned. (For example, looks like I might get free some lodging in São Paulo with a friend!)
But the basic idea here is to travel along the south of Brazil and find a super-liveable city, according to the various things I’m looking for: bigger size, lots of feminine, pretty girls, moderate weather, easy transportation, nice people, reasonable costs, vibrant economy, and attractive culture.
I’ve discovered that the process of finding liveability can’t be rushed. It takes some time to learn the language, get to know the people, and incorporate what you experience into your priorities for life and your personal history.
But, in terms of the mechanics of the search, you can get to a “No” a lot easier than you can get to a “Yes.”
So, I see this travel itinerary as very important for me. It will separate the wheat from the chaff to see if Brazil and I can really have a relationship.
We shall see.