When we left off, we had just said goodbye to our extended family, but our adventures continued!
Larkin, our friend, Larkin’s mom, and I flew to Buenos Aires, where I studied abroad my junior year of college. I was thrilled to return and show our smaller group all the things I’d loved about the city. It definitely didn’t disappoint! We soaked up all the great parts of the city—museums, parks, restaurants, and even a tango show! It felt great to return to the city two years after living there, but it was sad to see how the plunging economy has yet to right itself and how inflation has changed the feel of the city. Maybe I am jaded, but it felt a bit like some of the magic had dissipated. I definitely hope to return again, and I could even see myself living there in the future, if that’s where my wanderlust takes me.
At the end of our week in Buenos Aires, Larkin’s mom flew back to Seattle and our friend went back to school. We took the bus to the stunning Iguazu Falls, a series of twenty-one breathtaking waterfalls (seriously, pictures really can’t do it justice!) on the border of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. There, we crossed the border into Brazil to begin the next portion of our travels. We took another overnight bus to Florianopolis and immediately started exploring the infinite number of beaches and coves, which line the coast. Floripa, as it’s affectionately referred to, felt like a mix of Hawaii and old-school Southern California. I instantly fell in love. It is a beautiful and very chill place, and the people are incredibly nice—it didn’t even matter that we can’t speak any Portuguese. This friendliness has really been a theme of our few weeks in Brazil.
From Floripa we went two hours inland to Blumenau, which is actually a replica of a Bavarian city, dropped into the jungle. It was easily one of the most unique, if not one of the strangest, places Larkin or I have ever been. We went to Sommerfest (essentially a summertime, Brazilian Oktoberfest). It was a great time, quite the story, and one I’ll not easily forget!
In the beginning of February, we arrived in Paraty, a charming and well-preserved colonial city about five hours from Rio. After only half a day here, I can already say I love this place because it has so much history and character.
After a month of travel, it’s hard to remember what a job feels like, but that’s what makes travel so special. It is truly mind-expanding and invigorating, and that is what will make our return to Cusco so refreshing. I’m thinking a lot about the upcoming semester and the home we’ve made for ourselves back in Cusco (and I’m especially missing our cat, Lupe!). I’m excited to return with fresh eyes and new perspectives and ideas … because what’s travel, if not an opportunity to broaden one’s being and expand one’s consciousness?