Back home, I used to wonder every now and then, “What am I doing with myself?” In a sense, I was (and am) just checking in, making sure things are “on track”. All in all, quite normal behavior for anyone keen on self-reflexion and open to readjustments.
In Brazil, I find myself asking this question every few days. It’s not so much a reflexion on Brazil as it is on living outside one’s country and, well, I think it’s a generational thing, too. It’s very evident that I’m elsewhere because everything is just different thus I’m reminded, whenever I do anything, that this isn’t home. Of course, this calls to mind phrases like, “home is where the heart is” or “home is where you make it,” but it’s hard not to believe something seemingly…simpler, that “home is what you grew up with.”
Although existentialism interests me, my current mental sauntering deals more with summits (I’ll explain this later on, though I can see how one might ask “the big questions” with a view from high up).
Well, as I’ve said many times before, I dedicated virtually all of my 20’s to studying a handful of cultures. I forced myself to have lots of free time for this purpose and it served me well in learning that one doesn’t need to wait until they’re retired to be able to have time for the things that interest them. I’ve done what I want, the way I want, with the only obvious casualty being convention. With the exception of a few other similar souls spread out across the globe who I’ve had the pleasure to cross paths with, I have yet to meet others like me.
I’m reminded of one instance in a California cafe I used to frequent, where I was on first-name basis with the staff, on account of working from my computer. One barista once inquired as to my travels and I told her about four or five places I had been or lived in the last year or so, and her reply revealed how she wished she could live the same way. Not fully understanding, I shot back with a “but you can…anyone can. It’s not like I have a lot of money, I just choose to travel.” In fact, it paralleled my learning experiences with foreign languages where others would say, “you must be good with languages.” The reality is that I’m not, I just choose to make them one of my priorities.
The point I’m trying to make is that you do what you do and you live with it. Traveling doesn’t automatically make me better off than those who stay in one place. In fact, I later told that barista that I wished I could be more like her and not move around so much. Living life on the move or not, we’re often able to choose the types of mountains we wish to climb. We summit at different times and in different ways. How long we stay admiring the view, the distance we have to descend and the length of time it takes to find another mountain to summit, those are questions we all have to answer for ourselves.
Understanding Brazil is and has been my mountain. I’m just here admiring the view.