Eleven years ago I took my first trip abroad to study in Rome, Italy. I’ve written pretty extensively about how that trip changed my life in a variety of ways, but one of the best ways is that it brought some amazing friends into my life. One of those friends happens to be a handsome Brazilian, Erico. Over the years of our friendship, I heard many stories from him about this dream of a place where he grew up–Paraty–about halfway between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The way he spoke of it conjured up so many images in my mind, to the point where I was already fantasizing about living in this small town in a country that I’d never even stepped foot on.
For years, Erico tried to get me to visit him in Brazil. Every time I’d start to plan for it, something else would come up. The timing never truly aligned for us, such is the case for most things in life. Finally, in January of this year, I agreed that I’d plan a trip to see him, and that this time I was serious and would go no matter what came up. So, at the end of June, I boarded my flight to Brazil to see Erico for the first time in 10 years, and to finally see this beautiful country (and town) that he spoke so fondly of.