This is not an article about numbers. Not at least because there are people that have been in many more places in a shorter time; I myself met some of those, like a guy who went to 60 countries in a year or little more (Yeah, try it!). The numbers are there basically because they are true, and I liked the composition of 30, 4 and 34. Also, because people like articles with numbers, lists, an order of facts, they think it makes the reading easier and faster, but sorry, it is not about numbers. However, it is related to some numbers.
Since the beginning of the last year, I have been afraid of 2017. First of all, it’s because this will close 3rd decades that I am living on this Earth, though perhaps anyone who has lived more than 6 or 7 decades on this planet can look at Me and say, ” Hum, you’re still a child.” On the other hand, for those living in the 4th or 5th decade, it’s natural to expect to have the things that a 3×10 person must have. You supposed to already have a car, a house, a spouse, an upward career and maybe a child, only one if you are modern. Who was not raised thinking like that, right?
I had thought that before my 30’s I would have a car, a stable job, a house, a spouse (no child), and then maybe I’d just keeping developing my career, but I didn`t do that. On the other hand, I have done things that I thought would take my whole life to do, and even less of what I’d though I’d accomplished.
For sure, I want to have my family, not necessary a career, but work with what I believe in, and I still pray for what is coming, and for the one who I’ll share all of this, and be part of his achievement as well. However, I am deeply thankful for the past.
I had never thought I would live for 2 years in the Middle East before I live in anywhere else beyond my home country! Lebanon was definitely one of the best experiences of my life so far. Some of the most amazing people I know, I met in a land with great food and inspiring landscape. It’s the place where I started to learn a second language and to deal with a lot of differences. It is also the neighbor of the country experiencing the most terrible modern conflict (Syria). Lebanon is one of the first countries to feel the effects of this “no sense” war brought on by groups that even they know who they are. The experiences and knowledge offered to me there just made me realize how much I still do not know, but it helped me discover for what I want to work for.
At this time, I had the opportunity to understand the Middle Eastern culture by visiting countries like the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Israel, Palestine, and certainly all the corners of Lebanon I was able. Turkey, which is in Europe but also Arabic in culture. Talking about Europe, Cyprus was so close that it was impossible not to go there. Ireland, Switzerland, Greece, Italy and the Vatican I went the year before moving to Lebanon, but I was still able to return to places like England, France, USA and even visit my own country Brazil.
Southeast Asia was a gift given to me two times: first as a trip, later as a place to live. The one year and a half in Thailand was hard and easy; dirty and clean; ugly and amazingly beautiful; poor and rich; disgusting and delicious. I felt at times abandoned yet attracted by unique experiences. The people of my dreams I could find there where spices and smells wrap around a breathtaking view. Sports that I always liked to practice, I could do them there anytime. There were traditions and religions that I got to understand and respect more along with faces and traces that make the differences the most beautiful part of being a human. I saw animals and nature that did not let me question the existence of God.
Vietnam, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia astounded me. South Korea, China, Hong Kong, and Myanmar, and how many beaches can one go to in Thailand. It doesn’t matter how many times you go through Asia, there is always a new place to discover and to be discovered—food to try, a costume to wear, people to meet, and yourself to be revealed.
Asia is far from South America, and on the way to Terra de Tupiniquim (Brazil), Europe called me back, and the most enjoyable part of being a volunteer/missionary/backpacker with no car, no home, nor a stable job person is that you always have a friend in somewhere. Finland, Austria, Germany and even Luxembourg was a trip with a reunited taste and joy of meeting good friends again. Portugal was just a stop, and I may have to go back there … probably at any time.
I had the dream to go to at least one country in each continent before I die, as I had never left the central-east part of Brazil until I was 25 years old. Although in the past four years I have had the opportunity to pass through 34 countries, I still haven’t visited all the continents, so there is a lot yet to explore.
I had never thought I would meet the type of people that I had dreamed of meeting in so many magic places. I had never thought I would eat so many different types food and like so many of them. I had never guessed I would survive so many hard situations that I didn’t choose to pass through, neither that I would fall in love and cry so much for so little. I didn’t realize that all my years in Brazil until that time were a gift and that I am so lucky in having the friends and family I have. There will be always a place to come back to, and people to bring with me.
I haven’t YET reached important accomplishments that I thought I would have when I get to this age, but I started living the beginning of so much more than I could even image. I’ve been learning to love to live and to live the love. Welcome to the coming years.