One of the things I love about travelling is that I finally have the time to think.
And I have time to think because I’m literally disconnecting from social media and the Internet unless I’m working or writing for the blog. I check the news once a day, the rest of the time, I’m just focusing on what’s happening right now, in front of me. Life is much better without the twenty-four-hour news cycle of bad news and without partisan media.
And it’s not like I’m disconnected from the world, I know what’s going on, but I mostly read long-form articles from newspapers around the world. It’s also easier to get things into perspective when I’m outside of North America, for some reason. I don’t understand Canada anymore. I don’t understand where the country is going. I feel we’re creating problems and not solving actual issues. Everything is politicized, everybody is too loud, and we lost common sense.
And meanwhile, I find Brazilians suspiciously happy.
Everywhere I go, people are chatting, smiling, occasionally singing to themselves, greeting friends, and putting their heart into what they are doing. People go out and walk around just for the sake of it. People socialize. They are pretty nice to each other too.
Most Brazilians don’t have an easy life, and it’s a complicated country with issues you’ve probably heard about—a country divided politically, favelas, poverty, not sure about the state of the Amazonas rainforest because I have yet to check it out. It had the pandemic from hell too.
I know I’m only seeing a tiny part of Brazil. I know it’s summer, whatever it means down there. I know that I mostly hang out in places where it’s safe to hang out.
Still. I spent about ten hours a day outside bumping into tons of people—Airbnb hosts, beach bums, store employees, bus drivers and more.
And yeah, they look happy enough. Kids too, by the way.
I can’t help thinking this is because they didn’t lose touch with reality, as so many of us did in North America, hiding at home behind a screen.
This is not a rant against the work-from-home option, but against the somewhat new trend to claim that people suck. Avoid people! Get food delivered, set up your own home gym, subscribe to Netflix and order online because, I repeat, OTHER PEOPLE SUCK!
It did make sense to avoid fellow germ carriers for a while but it wasn’t written you were supposed to turn into a recluse for the rest of your life. And I’m saying that as someone who isn’t particularly sociable—I love being around strangers and being part of a crowd, but I’m not into being part of a community, hosting friends, going to parties, etc.
Or maybe Brazilians are happy because they follow the advice I see on cute signs on pretty much every beach—”É preciso salgar os pés para adoçar a alma”, “soak your feet in salt water to sweeten your soul”.
Works for me. I’m happier when I spend a lot of time outside, when the weather is hot, when there’s water around.
I’ll tell you more about João Pessoa this week. For now, here is the coast of João Pessoa, with the very famous Praia Coqueirinho.Share this article!