Written by Millionaire’s Digest Team Member: David Liebowitz
Founder & Owner of: Frequency of the Unknown
Millionaire’s Digest Team, Contributor, Travel and Writing Writer
With the Olympics happening in Rio de Janeiro and the country on the world stage, it has nevertheless been berated with heavy criticism. Whether if it is the Zika virus, safety concerns, or complaints about the city’s unpreparedness, it seems like people lump all the problems happening to generalize Brazil as a dismaying place. I am here to tell as a person who has been there that the positives of Brazil greatly outweigh the negatives.
Two summers ago, I had the privilege to study abroad in Brazil. I did not know what to expect from the experience, but I needed to complete a foreign language requirement for school, and the World Cup was happening there at the time, so Brazil seemed like a cool place to check out. By the time my experience was over, I had left with an entirely new perspective on life and a sense of yearning for Brazil that I still feel to this day.
Although it is hard to choose one, the best part about Brazil were the people. Never before have I ever had so many random strangers welcome me in like I was one of their own. They are concerned about giving more than taking; their mindset is how can I help this person rather than what can I get from them. I have countless stories that illustrate this fact, but I will share with you a particular one that really emphasizes my point.
One weekend, I ventured to Rio de Janeiro to be there during the World Cup Final. It was my first trip alone, and I could not have had a more fulfilling experience (if you have ever thought about traveling alone, read this). My final day there I was watching the championship game on Copacabana Beach when my wallet vanished. I spent what felt like forever looking for it and ended up returning to my hostel without any money, identification or hope. After worrying about for several hours, a stranger called my hostel to inform them that they found my wallet.
They said that they lived in the favelas of Rio and that I could meet them there. Without thinking twice, a friend and I hopped into the first cab we saw and made our way there. Almost instantly on our way there, it dawned on me how easy it could be for us to get kidnapped. What if the cab driver hands discover our predicament and hands us over to drug lords that would hold us for ransom? What if the people who have my wallet are luring us into a trap? They do have all my IDs indicating how much of a “gringo” I am.
As it turns out, our cab driver was wonderful and extremely patient with me trying to communicate with the little Portuguese I picked up. About an hour later, we finally located the people who retrieved my wallet from the beach. They were a married couple and to my surprise, they were ecstatic to see me. They immediately hugged me, said how happy they were that they returned my wallet and how distraught they felt that someone would lose something so valuable. I tried to tip them 50 Reals (equal to 25 Dollars at the time), but they refused, saying instead that I should come to their home for lunch the next day. By the time I finally returned to my hostel, I already had new requests from my cab driver and the man who found my wallet.
So yes, technically Brazil is more dangerous than most countries, the stats do not lie on that. But by looking at an entire country through one lens, you will fail to see the whole picture and miss out on exploring one of the friendliest countries on the face of the earth. Christ the Redeemer is the perfect metaphor for Brazil, a nation whose arms are wide open to the world waiting for those who realize it to run into its grasp.
Article Credits: David Liebowitz
Millionaire’s Digest Team, Contributor