Brazil: Beyond Football, Carnivals, and Samba

Brazil: Beyond Football, Carnivals, and Samba

“What are your expectations for Brazil?”

I have been asked this question several times before even stepping on the plane to Belo Horizonte. And then add a few hundred more after getting there.

I mean, it is a valid question; when people are embarking on new experiences, they have certain expectations that they want met. It is reasonable of them to ask me that. 

But, do I believe in setting expectations for my travels? Not necessarily.

It's so easy to have a preconceived notion of a certain place through movies and photos, hear about them from others, get into the gritty details of it, and then build up this idea of what that certain place is going to be like. It essentially stops being just a simple idea. Eventually, it stops being a real place, and is instead an elaborate sketch filled with others’ experiences It is easy to build one's expectation around that sketch. 

It is tempting to do/see/feel the same things someone else built up for you. It is partly what inspires people to travel.

I am guilty of that too, I was psyched about going to Brazil for months. I crawled through the internet for places to see, created checklists for all the things I wanted to do and eat. I let people tell me what I should do. I wanted it all.

As the thirteen-hour flight got closer, I started to realize that by making these lists and notes, I was disallowing myself to live my own personal experience. 

It almost felt criminal to doctor something that could be so raw and beautiful. I was not making my own experience but just reliving somebody else's, as great as it may have looked.

It was not easy to disallow others' experiences from modelling my own. By not setting expectations, I was allowing myself to go with the flow, to go where my experiences took me rather than decide where I would have taken my experiences. I wanted the places that I went to show me what they had to offer. 

The beauty is in the uncertainty.

I couldn’t have put it better than my man, Stephen Hawking: "When one’s expectations are reduced to zero, one really appreciates everything one does have". That is ALL I wanted and want to do. To appreciate the country for everything it has to offer to me.

So, go ahead, ask me again.

Chandrahas Reddy

Chandu once traveled to Denmark for the sole purpose of getting a hot dog. He is an avid traveler, loves listening to Alt-J, adores Koalas, and is attracted to shiny things. He will also steal your cookies.