Tag Archives: dream

Rio de Janeiro // A city to fall in love with

My first stop on my 6 month adventure was Rio de Janeiro and I was nervous. This was my first big solo trip and I had no idea what to expect or what I had gotten myself into.

I got in late to Rio and somehow navigated myself to my hotel via taxi. I looked a hot mess and was wearing long pants and jacket with hiking boots in 40° heat.  Of course I got some funny looks from the staff at my hotel and I’m pretty sure I even saw some hide back laughter. However, after travelling for over 24hrs you kind of don’t care anymore.

The next day I looked a tad better and had a walking tour with a local guide. We started with catching a local bus to the top of Santa Teresa. Santa Teresa is set on a hill and has beautiful views overlooking Rio. We got off at the top and wondered the cobblestone streets down. I love Santa Teresa as it has beautiful old mansions and colourful walls with graffiti art. It’s home to many artists and bohemians and has some awesome restaurants and bars to check out too (definitely my kind of place anyway).

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As we made our way down we learnt about the history of the tram that was used to get up Santa Teresa, however there was a deadly derailment back in 2011 where a few people died. The driver was deemed a hero as he stayed on the tram to try and stop it but died trying.  The community has been in support of getting the tram back which seems to be a slow process. If you wonder around you will most likely see stickers of the tram on cars or buildings in support.

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We kept heading down until we got to the top of the Escadaria Selarón. If you get a chance you have to see this famous staircase as it is quite beautiful. The Chilean artist Selarón started tiling this staircase (over 200 steps) and people from around the world would send him tiles from their countries to use so make sure you try and spot some from your own country!

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Afterwards we made our way to Santa Marta favela. Favelas are like shanty towns or slums and are not for everyone to visit. The government has been working with favelas to try and clean them up and make them safer. The Santa Marta favela is now drug free and they have been buying paint for the community to paint the outside of their homes to make them more appealing. It was definitely interesting though and they have some amazing views from the top. Just make sure you go with a guide where the funds go back into the community.  This favela was also part of the setting for the film clip “They Don’t Care About Us” by Michael Jackson and you will find a statue dedicated to him here as well.

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During our walking tour I had hit it off with another solo female traveller and after the tour we ended the day at Copocanaba beach, drinking Caprihanas and eating some local food. As we sat there talking, drinking and watching the sunset all my worries about Rio disappeared and I think that’s when my love affair with the city started.

The next day I had a lazy start to the morning and eventually dragged myself out of the hotel and into 41° heat to make my way down to the Uruguaiana markets to find some cheap carnaval costumes!  These markets are crazy and I’m not sure if it was because of Carnaval or if they were usually like this.  There are stalls galore and it’s like a little maze. These markets were packed with people, music playing in every direction and you could smell different types of food cooking everywhere. These markets are also very local, I only saw a handful of tourists here and everything was so cheap so check them out! Eventually I found some cheap tattoos, fairy wings and some false eye lashes to wear for the week.

Rio Carnaval is essentially made up of various different bloco’s (street parties) and then of course you have the Sambadrome where the various different samba schools perform and show off their costumes and elaborate floats.  Bloco’s are where the most fun is at though and they are free. Just search for the schedule to see which ones appeal to you the most and then rock up. They are held at different locations and times and each has a certain theme. During Carnaval though you will see a lot of people in costumes for a few days so make sure you dress up and join in the festivities!!

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As you can imagine I went to a lot of different bloco’s and even just walked out of a restaurant once and found myself in one that just started.  Make sure you are sensible though and don’t take any big bags.  There are a lot of pickpocketers and I only took a small bag that I kept at my front but when I could I just tucked money in my bra and didn’t take anything else. I never felt unsafe at any of the bloco’s I went to apart from when I was in Lapa where there were a few dodgy alleyways and seedy looking places. Plus I had read pickpocketers were like magicians in Lapa!

Ladies (and gents) I feel like this would not be a true post if I didn’t mention the fact that the men here during Carnaval are hawt! Expect to see lots of shirtless men with muscles (possibly in tutus or dresses but still)! They are a tad too friendly and will often stop you for a cheeky kiss or just to chat but don’t take offence as they are respectful if you say no.

Of course my trip to Rio wouldn’t be complete without a tourist trip up to Sugar Loaf mountain and Christ the Redeemer statue.

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Overall though my time in Rio was absolutely amazing and I can’t wait to go back!!! Sadly it’s time to move on for the next part of my adventure.

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Are you following your dreams?

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It’s quite easy for people to tell you to follow your dreams, go chase that rainbow and be happy; however sometimes life isn’t that easy…

Sometimes we aren’t sure what those dreams are, sometimes your dreams get pushed to the side as more important things come up and sometimes we just give up on them altogether.

For me, I had no idea what my dreams were. I was working a normal job to get by with no real passion or direction and I realized it was time to work out what I wanted to do in life. I started off by thinking about what career I could pursue, what study I could do to help me climb the corporate ladder etc and then it hit me. Here I am thinking about ways to make money and become successful but that was not something that I was passionate about. So, I started thinking outside the box and started to bring unrealistic choices into the equation. That’s when I realized that the only thing that I was truly passionate about was travel.

At first I laughed at myself and dismissed the thought, however I had unintentionally planted a seed and over the next couple of weeks I started to think more seriously about this passion of mine. I mean yes, I live and breathe travel, it’s the only thing that brings a sparkle to my eye and something that I could talk about for hours on end but it’s just an interest, a hobby…or was it?

The more I started reading travel blogs and talking to like minded people the more passionate I became and the more I realized that travelling is my one passion in life and my dream. I feel like now I have purpose and I no longer work just to get by but I work towards my dream of travelling and every little thing that I do is another stepping stone towards making my dreams come true. For the time being, I’m happy working to save up for my next adventure until one day I can fully pursue my dream.

Of course, not everyone’s dream is going to be travelling as well, we all have our own dreams that we should pursue and let’s face it following our dreams is hard work. We need to be determined, passionate, work our way around obstacles and of course never give up.

Some people will think you are crazy and your dreams are unrealistic but don’t let them discourage you. Cherish your dreams, watch them grow and don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone as following your dreams takes a lot of courage and I take my hat off to anyone who does. Sometimes you need to start doing things in life that makes you happy because in the end we won’t remember all those times we worked a job we didn’t like, we will remember all the things we wished we had of done. So, follow your passions, follow your dreams and make them into a reality.

Now the question is: are you following your dreams?