Why I left Australia for Rio de Janeiro and Brazil

September 9, 2016

 

The question wasn't why would I come to Rio it was why wouldn't I?

Here I was, a stereotypical monolingual English-speaking dude. I had no understanding of the struggles and memory-searing moments which come from ditching the comforts of home to enter the unknown.

So late last year I found myself with a huge desire to not only live overseas for the first time, but to learn a new language and culture.

As 2015 wound down it became clear this trip wasn’t about sliding in somewhere familiar where I could easily land a job and live a same-same-but-different existence.

This was an adventure to where my heart wanted to go, and starting six months ago that was back to the addictive melting pot of Rio.

While most young Aussies go to England to get a taste of living life overseas, Brazil had taken a hold of me after I first visited at the end of 2013.

That New Year's Eve in Rio was the anchor to a truly once-in-a-lifetime trip thanks mainly to the incredible Brazilians I met.

 

I’ve travelled a lot and made mates from around the world, but so often in a country you meet other foreigners in the hostels and less the locals except in passing.

 

But in Brazil as if having the hand of God guiding me for the most heavenly holiday possible, good times and good people just seemed to follow me wherever I went.

 

 

Walking up by Ipanema beach on a pulsating, sunny Saturday two days after arriving I felt truly at home even though I was in such a different place.

 

As the weeks went on time and time again I met Brazilians who had been in Australia, from weeks to years, and we all seemed to share a love of each other’s countries.

 

“It’s the Brazil that works,” was the general gist of what was said to me about Australia.

 

I guess they had that moment like I had, seeing everyone in Havaianas, smiling, happy, amidst pristine nature under a baking sun where they thought 'this feels a little like home'.

 

Aussies and Brazilians actually have a lot in common - cool accents, top class beaches, laid-back vibes, love of cold tasteless beer, friendly outgoing people and the national footwear of Havaianas.

 

​​​Two years on from that trip I turned 28 and looked back on the six years I had been at the newspaper, half as an assistant and half as a full-time breaking news journalist.

 

This had given me insights into more places and people than most will get in a lifetime, too many laughs to remember and a behind-the-scenes understanding of the frenetic, fascinating and often misunderstood world of journalism.

 

But there was a gap in my life.

 

Going from university into this unbelievably cool job which I couldn't break away from with my sights on becoming a reporter meant I hadn’t lived overseas.

 

It also began to embarrass me the amount of truly deep friendships I had made with foreigners over the years all for the same reason - because they had learnt English.

 

So it wasn’t a tough choice for me to come to Brazil six months ago, it's definitely one of the best decisions I've made in my life.

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I'm Ian Walker, an Australian freelance journalist and travel writer who ditched his job as a full-time newspaper reporter to move to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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