Sometimes you spontaneously think of something fun to do, like ‘hey, let’s go shopping’, or even ‘let’s go online shopping’. Which is exactly how one morning, out of the blue, my mum and I booked us an exotic trip abroad. It was raining outside, we had to cancel our plans for the day, and then… we went online. We stumbled upon a website advertising sunny deals to escape the miserable weather and it was just – so – appealing. Soon I would finish my second masters’ degree and officially say goodbye to the student life and start life as a working lady. In fact there would be only ten days in between my last day at university and the start of my first real job as a therapist, which for me was the perfect excuse for a last minute getaway. Knowing that to really get good sun exposure in January we would have to travel as far as the Canary Islands, not the cheapest destination, we initially laughed the whole idea off. Then another thought popped up. India… exotic land, place of spirituality and relaxation, ideal to recharge before taking on the working lifestyle! India is not exactly around the corner either, bút we reasoned that once we got there, it’d actually be quite affordable to get around. Good thinking right, well hmm… getting there turned out to be easier said than done.
Sana is known for being a hippie town in the middle of waterfalls, wildlife and spectacular natural sights. It is located in the mountains of Casimiro de Abreu, about 1.5 hours away from our place in Buzios. At eight in the morning, we were packed and ready to go hiking there for the day, explore the countryside of Brazil and bath in natural pools. We were waiting excitingly outside of our apartment for the tour guide to pick us up.
However, at 8.15 there was still no sight of our tour guide. This wasn’t the first time that someone showed up late during our time in Buzios and my mum assured me that it was just a matter of ‘Brazilian timing’, nothing to be worried about. Secretly I was quite concerned that something had gone wrong with the booking, especially when at 8.30 there was still no tour guide around, but right when we thought it was acceptable to phone up the tourist office without coming across as neurotic Europeans, a car stopped in front of us. A man in a bright pink shirt greeted us and introduced himself as Juliano. It turned out we had a private-chauffeur who would be our guide for the rest of the day!
Many of you probably know the concept of home-exchanges through the movie ‘The Holiday’, where Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz decide to swap places: a little cottage in England for a mansion in the USA. This movie happens to be my favourite feel-good movie of all time, and it’s the way my mum and I have been traveling for many years. I love to explore the world by exchanging homes, because you get to ‘live’ somewhere and feel less like a tourist, save a lot of money and often get really great insider tips as a nice bonus! Among many places, we have stayed in a massive house in San Francisco of a former Harvard University law student, a gay couple’s flat in New York, and a large farm in England. Now, we are in Brazil for the next 2.5 weeks living in a house with a swimming pool at a peninsula’s coastline.
I always knew that one day or another, I would move to Canada. When I was as young as 4 years of age- or I should better say as far as my memory goes back – I remember telling everyone over and over again that I would one day live in this country. Six months ago, at the age of 22, I finally went and did it: I made the move to Montréal together with my boyfriend. My time here has been a wonderful experience and absolutely met my expectations (see, the 10 things I will miss most about living in Montreal). However, I have also missed Europe and started to appreciate certain things about it more. In this blog, I will name a few of these things. Also, in this blog post I am holding my first giveaway contest! More info about this at the bottom of the page.
In less than a month, I will be returning to my home country, the Netherlands. Therefore, this is a recap of the 10 things I will miss the most about living in Montréal.
10) My favourite hotspot: the anti-café. This is a place where you pay per minute, rather than per drink. What this means is that you pay 3 dollars for the first hour you are there, and 2 dollars for the following hours (with a maximum of 9$). Basically, during your time at this cafe you can consume as many cups of tea and coffee as you would like, in addition to having unlimited cookies and snacks. If you know me, you know that I drink a crazy amount of tea every day and that I hope to have a huge tea corner in my future dream house. Therefore, this place completely suits me.