Why I Call Myself An Accidental Traveller
Ever since I can remember, I’ve always wanted to live in another abroad. Coming from Brazil, one of the most dangerous and corrupt emerging countries, it’s not hard to see why. First I fantasized about England, mostly because I grew up in the 90’s and the British rock scene was boiling all over the world, but also because I absolutely loathe the tropical weather and England is pretty much the opposite.
In 2009 I had a taste of the British dream when I got to study English for a month in Cambridge during my winter break. To be clear, it was Cambridge the city, not the uni. It was a great experience, people from all over the world went there and I made really cool friends then.
The problem is, I was too young then, I didn’t have the opportunity to just leave it all and go in an international adventure, simply because I was 17 and couldn’t even stay out late without telling my mum about it. So college came and the dream of living abroad started to fade.
That was until one day my best friend came to me and asked me if I wanted to spend a year in Dublin. I knew nothing about Dublin, or Ireland for that matter, only that it was the place of birth of Oscar Wilde (one of my favourite writers) and the weather is even more miserable than England’s. So, naturally, I said yes.
So I paused my film school education for what I thought it would be a little while and embarked on what would be my biggest adventure thus far. To give a little context, in Brazil, we don’t have the culture of leaving our parents home when we go to college, we usually go to an university in our own city and live with them until we have enough money to live by ourselves. In other words, living in Dublin with my friend was the first time I’ve ever been (mostly) by myself.
It was not only about the trip itself, but also about self discovery, about learning to cook, to iron clothes, to remember to buy toilet paper every week. We had to basically grow up overnight, and I know it seems bad putting it that way, but believe me, it’s not. It’s was an amazing experience, one that I will cherish forever.
The only problem was our timing, Ireland is known for being a great place for immigrants, full of jobs and housing. But the year was 2012, the height of the European crisis, specially in Spain, Portugal, Greece and, you guessed it, Ireland. So there were no jobs for us, not even cleaning bathrooms. We left after 6 months instead of one year.
But the demage was done, I fell in love with the country, its pepople and culture. As a writer and a musician, it’s a fantastic place to be and I spent most of my time back home wondering when I would be able to come back.
In 2016, the political situation in Brazil got critical and I simply couldn’t stand it anymore. Lucky for me, the economical situation in Ireland got better, so I figured: well, it’s time.
I had a couple of friends in the country from my first time there, but I needed a more solid base than that, so I applied to volunteer at a hostel in Cork for a few months. It was unpaid, but at least I wouldn’t have to spend with food and housing for a while. It didn’t work out for a number of reasons, but I won’t get into details, maybe in another story.
I got a job in Cork, in the kitchen of a coffee shop, but my background as a nocturnal animal (bartender, musician, filmmaker, writer) made it unbearable to wake up at 7am and appear happy around costumers, I used to close the bar I worked at in Brazil at 7am. It also didn’t work out.
I decided to try again the hostel thing and found one in Leuven, Belgium. I’m going there next Monday and couldn’t be more nervous about it.
The thing is, I’ve never seen myself as a backpacker, apart from wanting to live abroad, I’ve never thought I would be flying from country to country working in a lot of different things, things I have no experience whatsoever. It’s a weird feeling, I’m absolutely loving it, sure, but I’m also kind of drifting, numb by the overload of different experiences.
And right now, I wouldn’t do anything else with my life.