Drifting Dane

The quest for a happy ending in Brazil

  • August 29, 2020
  • February 24, 2024

Brazil. The preface of a dream

How do you describe almost four years that feels like a lifetime of complete emotional and mental mayhem?
The answer is, you do not. You live it every day just like the average Brazilian.

"The quest for a happy ending in Brazil" means the same for everyone.
The title might be different; yet, the meaning is the same.

Going almost a decade back, I remember thinking that it is time for the spot I have been searching for to show up and finally present itself. 
For those of you that are unaware and have no idea what that is.
The spot is where you truly belong. It could be anywhere in the world and it gives you that sense of comfort and well-being that no other place does.
Combine that with people in which you feel the same and you are set.

In my case, the fact that I might roam around the world without a base for the rest of my life is also a scary thought.
As you get older it starts to matter more and more where you apply it.
At this time, I was starting to get well past the age where you establish yourself with an anchor of family joys.

I already knew from my point of view of the world, that creating a life as an employee bound to a paycheck would destroy most of my life beliefs. 
Not likely something that I would be doing forever unless it had a purpose other than for myself, nevertheless, since I was not born with riches in my pockets, my means to an end would come from prioritising any earnings I had towards the freedom I wanted.

First trip; First impressions

It was September 2013, when I first locked my mind on exploring the Brazilian way of life. I had had a taste of the Americas before, however never this far east and with a purpose of this magnitude – moving and setting yourself up in another country is a different matter while doing it successfully is an entire chapter on its own. The dream of owning a small business somewhere along the never-ending Brazilian coastline had begun.
Following my normal ways of little concern but with natural precautions, I flew to Rio de Janeiro with somewhat a travel plan meaning that they are usually always a light version of guidance where "must-see" pointers are laid out in case my journey happens to take me there and the rest transpire on the go as a kind of bonus. 
Based on previous trips and learnings I built myself a rewarding way of travel where going by instinct - inquietation - insight has become a normalised version of how I perceive the world to be discovered.

Touch down in Rio de Janeiro


When I first entered Rio de Janeiro on my primary journey, I do admit at first I felt intimidated, in contrast, it quickly turned into excitement and curiosity, a long lost pal of mine.
Finding a bus downtown to Copacabana was surprisingly easy (Get the bus that says Copacabana) it also gave me insight with the first impression as I was travelling from Galeáo airport from the north region to the south. When you drive down through Rio, one thing that will strike you is the change of scenery. 
What seems like unlivable areas turn into liveable and everything poorly looking transcends toward the mid-upper level and melts together with the strapped.
I guess you could call it the Smorgasbord between the fortunate and destitute as most of the city´s desirable areas have built up into specific zones, where most of the monetary values are concentrated.

The location of Rio de Janeiro is picturesque and you quickly understand why it is part of the 7 natural wonders of the world.
Situated on the edge of a small mountain chain that runs in and around the city, nicely separating - dividing each neighbourhood into small gems with their distinct charm, despite the two largest communities being a big part of that. 

The communities, Vidigal and Rocinha both have attractive spots where Vidigal has become quite popular with tourists and investors because of the unique position on the edge of the cliff with spectacular panoramic sea views, an extremely sought after destination if one should feel comfortable enough to stay there. 
Another community is Cidade de Deus which became well-known in the Brazilian movie with the same name, although not for its stunning views or location but for its violent story and events taking place there.

On a visit inside Rocinha

Rocinha lies inside the valley and arises farther up the mountain, giving it magnificent clear visibility of below with sensational field of vision.
As you walk around and see how many of the inhabitants live - no electricity - water and very basic hygiene, the contrast of it all becomes mind-boggling.
I cannot help to think that someday these people will not even have the view to wake up to, since they are located in one of the best-placed areas in Rio.


As the story always goes - rich investor strike deal with the government - government removes (cleans up) and since most of these communities are already illegal and were built and formed by desperate people trying to find a place to exist, the government could sadly even do it within their legal right. 

There is no doubt that the rumours of the Brazilian (Favelas) communities are many and somewhat truthful.
I have not encountered any threats while visiting Rocinha in Rio de Janeiro or working near Paraisópolis in São Paulo, weekly.
I merely met poor, but kind people from all different aspects of these places. People with good values - moral and common sense.


Sadly, the despair that is bred lies bound by country and government policies and will always bread crime. Less distinctive does not mean less valuable.

The Neighbourhoods (Good to know)



Botafogo is tremendous for eating out and bar life. 
It has a laid back bohemian atmosphere and nightlife with a mix of splendid affordable bars - eating places. The name Botafogo originates from Latin dance moves that came about in this neighbourhood.

Lapa - Santa Tereza


This historical area is a fusion of artists and thinkers.
You will get a more mixed environment as it is in the centre zone.
If you want dancing filled streets and samba jams, Lapa is the place. 
Live traditional music bars, inside and outside with small vendors taking over the main streets.  
If you are more into daytime activities you can enjoy the architectural scenery that this area has to offer and visit Escadaria Selaron for exploring vintage and antique stores. 



The neighbourhood where you won´t see many houses. Contractors stumble over each other trying to fit, yet another skyscraper in between to fill all needs, including their own.
I have had the opportunity to visit here on numerous occasions on different trips and always returned.  
Your first experience of an area or a place will always determine with much influence whether you intend to visit again. 
My maiden voyage into Brazil and the first point of encounter, Copacabana, was a positive one, even though rumours had whispered something else.
It is easy to form an opinion based on hearsay - media, but only your curiosity and courage will shape the right view.

Copacabana is a bit of everything - working class - low key - a budget traveller - luxury. What brings it all together is, of course, the marvellous beachside with its never-ending boardwalk.
The play and working ground for an abundance of mixed people.
With Avenida Atlântica running alongside it, connecting easy access from the other boroughs, exploring is an excisable must.
During the weekends it transforms into a traffic-less mixed mecca where Atlântica is closed down. The area expands and becomes an open space for Vendors - Runners - Roller Skaters - Artists - Families - Parties, as it turns into an extended version of "Rio - The melting pot" 


→  The quest for a happy ending in Brazil  →  Part 2. Porto Seguro