Exactly 1 year ago today, I left beautiful Miami for South America, with little more than a backpack, my 3 passports and an open mind. After years of wanting to live overseas, I took the leap and booked a one-way award ticket to Brazil, with the mandatory 2-month layover in Ecuador. I’d always thrived on constant change, so I embarked on my biggest one to date. I didn’t have a job lined up, I didn’t have a place to live, I didn’t speak a word of Portuguese, and I knew less than a handful of people living in Brazil. But somehow, I knew it was the right time to do it.
Today, I’m writing this from the office of a Vila Mariana villa which I share with The Britos, my Brazilian brothers and saviors.
I’m teaching English and Spanish. Allegedly.
I’m blogging again after a 5-year layoff.
I’m working on my 1st book.
And I’m speaking enough Portuguese to communicate with my dentist, complain about my food, give directions, and be confused for Brazilian by a Brazilian at Carnaval. Sure, that Brazilian may have had one too many cachaças, but the fact remains: I’m kicking ass in São Paulo. And I’m not slowing down anytime soon.
But looking back, I now know that moving to a different country doesn’t change you by default. It undoubtedly can serve as a catalyst, but it’s on you to make the change. Aside from the language and work, my life isn’t that different here than it was in Miami and Rochelle. I spent all Sunday watching the NFL for 5 straight months. I stayed up late to watch the Oscars. I still kill for a mean burger, a hot slice and a strong cup of coffee. I still prefer a good bar over a loud club. I continue hitting snooze and falling back asleep in the morning. And I still try and travel every chance I get. The only things about me that have changed are the ones I made the effort to change.
So despite my move to Brazil being more the end purpose than the means to an end, I can confirm that moving to a different city, or state, or country won’t change a single thing about you unless you change yourself first. You don’t have to wait until you move to a new place to improve your life. Do it now. Why not?
And on that note, time to celebrate my 1-year anniversary in style. Bom Sabado para vocês.