My Journey to Brasil

These bits and strings of words are long overdue. Between the time I decided to reboot my blog for my upcoming adventure and now as I sit down to write the first real post, I traveled through 12 states, two countries, and jumped hemispheres – totaling well over 10,000 miles. This 7 week period reveled quite a few adventures and stories which need to be told including being seat mates on my cross country train excursion with a man who drove tanks in the Russian army and earned his freedom from jail somewhere in the middle of Montana the night before he boarded the train. Whether due to laziness, a lack of dedication, the difficulty of building momentum on new ventures, or the simple fact I had a lot going on as I completely shifted courses through life – these stories did not make their way out to you in real time. I will attempt to recapture them and share them in time, but in order to prevent any more dawdling and begin to structure a schedule to my new life here I am. And the best place to start is a brief overview of what this new adventure is and how it came to life.

As you may have guessed from the title, I am currently coming to you from Brasil. São Paulo to be exact.

São Paulo

It was rather unexpected at the time how I ended up coming to Brasil, although now looking back I probably should have expected it. It started with me looking for more from my life. It was not a lack of a great job with ample opportunities as an architect, coworkers I enjoyed or family and friends whom I cared about that brought about these feelings but rather the voice inside my heart which kept whispering of a greater world. I wasn’t born a traveler, but in the past 5 years I had certainly become one. And as those of you out there who have been bitten by the travel bug know, it is very difficult to shake. So here I was in the small town of Glens Falls, New York not having been abroad in over 2 years and feeling more and more stagnant as the days went by.

Coupled with this relentless desire to see the world was my budding passion for photography. Much like my traveler side, the photographer in me was also a late bloomer. Heck, I didn’t even own a camera until my junior year of college – an old clunky digital camera my brother gave to me for my first trip to New York City. I am on my 4th camera now and since that initial east coast trip I have discovered great joy growing as a photographer.

In June 2014, after enduring a very difficult year which included a devastating breakup, the death of my grandmother, my best friend’s mom being diagnosed with cancer and ending an emotionally exhausting relationship, I made a choice – I was going to ask for more for my life and embark on a passion fueled change. I was going to devote myself to my photography and figure out a way to do so while experiencing new cultures.

Originally I thought I would take my grand ideals to Berlin. I fell in love with the city and the German culture on my 2008 trip to the city, already spoke a little German, and knew Berlin’s large artist community would be a great environment to expand my artistic expression. Not having any contacts in the city though, I reached out to Norton, my “Brazilian Brother.” He was an exchange student of ours when I was 12 whom we remained in close contact with. He recently, through his business, partnered with a company in Berlin for a new venture so I reached out to him to see if he knew anyone there he could put me in touch with. The simplicity of his response is both gracious and beautiful:

Norton chat

The moment he responded I knew I was going to go. I told him I was coming but it would have to wait until the end of 2014 or the beginning of 2015 to give me time to save up enough money. Over the course of the next 5 months I did everything I could to add to my travel fund – including spending 2 months tiresomely bouncing around to different friends places while I rented out my apartment for a few days at a time through Airbnb. I left my job in November, spent the holidays at home in the Pacific Northwest and arrived here in São Paulo last week. I’ll save the stories from the ordeal of packing up and selling off my entire life, making the cross country journey home by train for the holidays, and my first week here in São Paulo for other posts. For now I simply say hello from the city Anthony Bourdain said, “feels as if Los Angeles threw up on New York.” Tchau!

| never stop exploring |

Josh

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