Portillo and the art of letting go

When I went to Portillo (Chile), a ski resort up in the mountains, two hours away from the main airport, Arturo Merino Benitez (located in Santiago), I knew that skiing would be an amazing experience. I had never done it before, and I admit – it wasn’t on my priority list of things-to-do-before-I-die. But this freelance journalistic opportunity came up and, by the time I processed everything, I was flying to Chile. And I was excited to learn how to ski. Continue reading “Portillo and the art of letting go”

Milan and the travel epiphany

You know it was worth it if you have the travel epiphany. I won’t waste time and space defining it. If you have one, you’ll know it.

So instead I’ll give you an example. I went recently to Milan (Italy) for work. I didn’t want to go (for reasons that don’t fit here and now) and I was more unhappy than I had been in a long time. Then I met people. Some from Brazil, some from Italy, some from the USA, some even from Russia. I opened myself to them, maybe because I wanted so desperately to find some connection that would make me enjoy the place where I was. Continue reading “Milan and the travel epiphany”

Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp and the horror of being human

A few weeks before I traveled to Berlin with my sister for the weekend, I saw the photo that a former university colleague posted on Facebook. It was the entrance of a concentration camp, and she had subtitled it with the saying: “One of the most disturbing experiences of my life.”

After some research, I discovered that it was the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, located fairly close to Berlin (there are several companies that offer daily visits with guides fluent in English and German – the one responsible for our day trip was Insider Tour). I got morbidly excited with the prospect of going there; after all, it is one of the most horrific places created by man. Continue reading “Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp and the horror of being human”

Budapest and Hospital in the Rock: an example of human resilience

It’s World War II. We’re in Budapest (Hungary). More specifically, we are under the Buda Castle Hill, in the middle of a corridor crowded with injured people. You can hear screams, pained moans and weeping. One of the only six doctors available runs by you with a stethoscope encircling his neck. His eyes are red from weariness, and if you knew him well, you would notice that in the last few weeks his face has aged considerably. In the enclosed, sultry corridor, you see him enter a room – if it can be called like this. It’s almost a closet. But inside are three patients. You don’t even want to imagine what he’s doing there, but you squirm with the sounds that come out of it. Continue reading “Budapest and Hospital in the Rock: an example of human resilience”

Budapest: a toast to independence

Two months before I completed 24 years of age, the wildest idea came to me: to travel alone somewhere I had never been before. I had already traveled a few times on my own, but always for work, which doesn’t really count since all the details are handled by other people. I was going to go somewhere close like Paris, which is just a few hours from Brussels. But when I was searching for tickets I found a promotion to Budapest and thought: why not? Continue reading “Budapest: a toast to independence”