Traveling Pretty (or How I Hiked Sugarloaf in a Sundress)

“How in the world did you fit three weeks of clothes into that duffle bag?” Sundresses and sandals my friend. A pair of jeans is only half of an outfit but still takes up the space of 3* sundresses! So, yeah I do it mostly because I know I can bring like 50. But also because ummm they’re cute? I don’t like to be “that tourist” traveling through the airport looking all frumpy – that’s the number one way to spot the Americans in the international terminal.

Yes I hiked up here in a sundress. And sandals. Keep your judgement and give me a drink!

Besides, the photo ops are better. And you can go from sightseeing to the bar without skipping a beat.  And if you bring a sweater you can go to church too (a post about that later).

Traveling pretty is great – until your Couchsurfing host lets you know that it costs damn near $50 to ride the tram to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain. Say what now?! But all hope is not lost – there is a way to hike up the mountain and you get the very same views plus a little workout in – for free! Great. I’m wearing a sundress and Havaianas. And so is she. Well, we decide to do it anyway. Because we’re geniuses of course.

Are we there yet? No. Well, let's stop anyway.

I really thought it was going to be an easy hike. I saw people taking their kids up, others taking their parents. Everyone who was coming off the path was full of spirits and some were even laughing. Duh! Because they were coming down! (Insert Homer Simpson “Doh!” face here.) Yeah going up was another story. It definitely wasn’t the worst hike I’ve ever done. Far from it – it’s just the sundress and sandals combined with the week of eating nothing but steak, cheesy bread snack things, and more steak wasn’t really a good prep for a Sunday morning hike. It was pretty fun(ny) though! I’d definitely do it again – in tennis shoes. The views of Rio de Janeiro were unbelievable, the weather was perfect, and it’s actually a great place to just hang out and maybe relax with a good book (or a boo :)).

*Not scientifically proven (i.e. I totally made that number up).

The view of Flamengo Beach and Centro Rio de Janeiro from Sugarloaf

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Discovered While Traveling: The Secret to Happiness

I’ve now been in Rio long enough for me to finally sit down and take a breather. In the past few days, I’ve started Portuguese classes, attended a music festival, visited Christ (the Redeemer), been to two different beaches, been to the movies, had some amazing dinners, walked (a lot), met a ton of new friends, and just explored whatever and wherever my little heart desires.

Besides the fact that I’m always happiest when I’m near beaches and 80 degree weather, I really think I’ve discovered the secret to happiness. Every single morning I wake up and I do two things. I promise if everyone practiced these two things daily, we’d be so much happier! It’s really quite simple and for the life of me I can’t figure out why people only do these two things while they’re on vacation.

So basically, every day when I open my eyes and thank God for the opportunity to experience another great day in this thing called life, I do these two things:

  1. Ask myself “What do I want to do today?” What will make me happy? Sometimes it’s a whole list of things, other days it may be just one thing that needs to happen to “make my day.”
  2. [Insert answer to #1 here]. <— Do that.
So much of our life is spent doing what we think we should be doing, or what we think we have to do, that we often prioritize that above what we really want to do. And that’s pretty damn sad. Every morning here I ask myself the question above and then make it happen and I just realized – I should do this everyday! Why is it just restricted to days spent traveling? When I visited the Christ the Redeemer statue, I couldn’t help but realize how happy everyone was to be there. It didn’t matter that I couldn’t understand a single word out of their mouths. I understood their smiles, the squeals, the energy.  Even before we got up the mountain to the statue, people were excited just to be on the tram. And I know they’ve been on trains before. It’s because they’re just eager to be doing whatever the hell they wanted to do that day. And I can’t be mad at that. On the contrary, it makes me very very happy!

Is she smiling so hard because of Jesus?! Or Vacation?! Hmmm...