I was born and rised in a Third World country, whose government is full of corruption and nothing really works the way it should. For a kid growing up watching Hollywood movies where everybody has the perfect life living in a perfect country is really frustrating when you look around and all you see is Third World country things.
The 90’s was marked by the international market opening in Brazil, the beginning of the globalization. So it is comprehensive that during this and the next decade we still didn’t really have access to the same products, and consequently not the same quality, as other countries, the few that were coming in, were expensive so half the population didn’t have access to it. We started to adopt a culture of “any imported good is better than the national one”.
Movies also brought with them the access to other cultures, the idea of nationalism towards other countries. And we started to question ourselves “why do we do this, if americans do it differently”, “why do europeans have that but we do not?”. The idea that my Christmas would never come with snow, as the movies I watched, was just disappointing.
Before my Trip
With time, all this makes you start questioning your origins, your culture. You start negating it, you grow up watching people from more “advanced” countries doing something, why would you want to do the opposite, as the Third World Country people are doing? All this brings you despleasure, you have this feeling that everything related to your country sucks and anything from other country is better.
You start dreaming about a better life in a foreigner country, not because your life isn’t good where you are, but because you are sure that it would be so much better elsewhere. Your love for other country grow as well as the hate towards your own country.
I experienced all these feelings, as well as many of my friends did. At some point, these feelings, alongside my need to develop social conscience, and contact with other cultures, made me decide to travel. I wanted to see with my own eyes how good these developt countries were, how better than us, how perfect.
During my Trip
So I planned my first trip where I would finally get the chance to witness the life abroad, in a country more advanced than mine. At first, I visited a total of 5 countries and different cities. Indeed their reality as so different than the Brazilian one, their problems were different and it really felt like I was in one of those movies I used to watch.
But time passed and so did the excitment of being abroad. That’s the moment when you can finally start being racional and analyse things. That’s the moment when you realise that London is not only about Big Ben, Paris is not only about Eiffel Tower. You stop being a tourist and become a traveller.
While you are a tourist, everything seems perfect, glamorous just like you imagined. But it is when you become a traveller that you open your eyes to the reality, you hear from locals directly, you face their struggles. It is when you realise that every good place has also its bad side.
If there is something that I learnt, is that in life there is never a 100% good or 100% bad, regarding people, regarding place, things, anything. There is always both sides. After all, something that is good for you might be bad for me and vice versa, everything is really relative.
After My Trip
In general the countries I visited in Europe were great, much better than Brazil in many points, like organization, security, public transport, education. But being there I realised that I actually missed my country, for MANY reasons, I realised that in my point of view, nothing was better than Brazilian food, nothing was better than Brazilian people, the “espontaniedade”, the brazilian art of not following straight lines.
I spent a life trying to find someone else’s culture that fitted me better, that I could adopt as my own and negate my country’s one, just to realise that after all I’m really a Brazilian and that what I really want to be, that’s the culture that I adopted.
Brazil has bad sides? No doubt it has, it could be so much better, but it doesn’t make this country less than any other. After leaving Brazil and seeing the situation from outside I could realise that my country is great in its own patterns.
Sometimes we just need to change our perspective of things to really see them as they are.