I came to Brazil prepared to write. I brought my laptop and pens and lined paper, in case inspiration found me at the beach. But the days came and the sea called my name. I stood on the balcony facing a beautiful ocean on one side and my silver laptop on another. My choice is obviously no mystery here- the turquoise ocean it was!

After four weeks of doing a lot of lounging in a beach chair, I came up with no outstanding ideas for blog posts or subjects to jot down. Instead, I found myself drawn to experiences like shopping at the local market and talking to the sellers (see: He who shreds my coconuts), dancing on a sandy beach under a full moon, and hiking up to a waterfall in the mud while avoiding being eaten alive by mosquitoes.

Whereas I had come to Brazil ready to reflect on the meaning of life, having no agenda to do so made me learn much more. When I sat by the ocean, I learned to relax and to hear the sound of my own breathing. Sometimes life speeds up so fast I forget I’m a human and not a machine. When the wind blew my wet hair right and left then left again, I learned that I’m most beautiful when I just relax and accept all my faults and defects.  When I stood talking to sellers at the local market, they taught me that one of the most honorable things I can ever do is work hard, and work happily. When Brazilians shoved themselves passed me in the holiday crowds, I learned the importance of never forgetting your manners, regardless of where you come from and regardless of whether the locals do the same. During nightly dinners with my family I learned that food always tastes better when it is made with love and shared with loved ones.

But most importantly, I learned that life is short to be so stressed out all the time. So relax, take a breath- there is nothing you and I can change by sighing deeply or belittling others in order to feel better. Tomorrow will come regardless of whether or not we’re ready, so accept the cycle of life and learn to laugh at the curve balls life throws your way.

After all, what fun would it be if everything always happened the way you planned? And what would I have gained by sitting by my computer, ready for knowledge and insightfulness to be bestowed upon me? Live life and let it teach you its lessons. Don’t take it too seriously either. After all, like Woody Allen once said, none of us gets out of it alive.

You would've blown off your laptop too...
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