You can always depend on the kindness of strangers.
This post is less about our physical travel and more about all the feels. In the last few days, and in fact throughout our entire time in Latin America I have been continuously surprised by differences in culture that relate to every day kindnesses. Let me set the scene for what has got me thinking about all of this. In the past few weeks during my second time in Rio a few aspects of the trip I was really looking forward to haven’t worked out, and this combined with over 6 months on the road now, with our last trip being an exhausting 3 plane flights spanning 3 countries I didn’t realize how much I was craving some little touches from home. In Colombia we were 3 weeks without wifi and even without a bed so I was missing my friends and my soul was ready for some TLC. Something or someone in the universe was looking out for me because after leaving Rio we arrived in a place I couldn’t have manufactured more perfectly in my mind if I had tried myself.
Last year Brendan met a Brazilian at work who insisted that when we come to Brasil we must come and stay in his family home. We had absolutely no idea what to expect but we had the time so we thought why not. So we headed south to a small country town near Sao Paolo. 2 buses an uber and a car later we were cruising through vineyards and in awe of some of the most developed homes and communities we had seen the whole duration of our trip. We arrived at Andres house, a beautiful ranch style house on a huge properties with creeks, lakes, huge boulders and an incredible view. A few minutes later we were greeted with open arms by his Italian-Brasillian Mum. And boy were we in for a treat. We spent four days in a plush comfy bed, the afternoons napping in the sun. Our bellies full and happy with the endless Italian pastas, roasts, soups she provided for us. I actually shed tears when I saw the shower. Waterfall shower head with piping hot water and a stand alone bathtub. Girls you know what I’m sayin. Every morning I greeted her with a clumsy ‘Bom Dia’ (good morning in Portuguese) and she greeted me with a warm smile and an even warmer hug. We left feeling refreshed, loved and with a few presents to thank US for staying with THEM. I was completely overwhelmed with the amount of kindness this family had shown me when I could barely even communicate with them.
It really got me thinking about how much the kindness of a stranger can mean so much. We live in a world where people can barely tear their eyes away from their phones yet can’t find the time to reply to friends. Where people aren’t welcome to take refuge in a safe country if theirs isn’t providing that basic human right for them. We live in a world where we are always getting ready for the next thing rather than focusing on the present moment. Latin America has taught me to do this. Every single meal they eat they say ‘Buen Provecho’ which translates to enjoy your meal, and may your meal be of benefit to you. I’m talking every single meal, every single waiter, every single passing customer or person on the street. Isn’t that just such a god damn beautiful custom?! If anything in this world of fast paced textingwhilewe’reeatingwhilewe’retalkingwhilewe’resleeping shouldn’t we all just sit down and take five minutes to enjoy our meal?! To enjoy that we are fortunate enough to sit down and eat this meal with our loved ones. To enjoy the benefit it gives to our bodies and our souls.
I’m not by any means trying to say that Latin America have got it perfect. Bad things happen here.My trip is not over yet, but I am utterly offended on behalf of all these people by the gun-wielding, kidnapping picture that was painted for me. It simply has not been my experience. On the contrary I have met some of the kindest, most generous people, even when traveling by myself. I was horrified that during the Olympics athletes chose to falsify claims of armed robbery. No country has it perfect, no country probably ever will. But we can learn so much from other cultures about ourselves and how we should treat others. I hope that one day I will be able to pay this kindness forward to a weary backpacker or a lonely soul. But for now I hope I am encouraging people to open their mind to experiencing this culture, despite the prejudice and pre-deception of violence that exists.