Enrico was one of the best guests I’ve ever had. One of those guys travelling long enough to become really himself, to get out of the box which society always tries to fit us into. He started a project called Love Around the World at the beginning of his journey and I could see he had already found that love. At least in his own heart.
He comes from the Brazillian countryside, he studied and worked in São Paulo for a few years and then took a flight to Europe.
He had traveled for six months and then decided to stay in Portugal for some time…
Why did you come to Europe?
I was working in Brazil in a cosmetic company for three years but to travel was a big dream for me. I realised that if I didn’t stop my life in Brazil to make my dream come alive, I would never do it. I mean ‒ I was single, I had no “real” reasons to stay in Brazil so I realised it was the best time to do it. So I saved some money, quit the job and just went to Europe.
What did you expect to find here?
Aah, I call this travel “the travel to discover” ‒ not the world, but to discover myself. Because I travel alone I have plenty of time to think. For what I have lived until now and for what I`m gonna live later on.
And have you found yourself? Can you feel any changes?
Now I can say that I know much more about myself than before. This travel makes me feel stronger, I have discovered that I have more feelings than I actually thought… When you are alone, you realise who you really are. I feel braver because I realised that I really can do a lot more things than before.
So how long have you been traveling?
I started in Turkey last year in December.
And do you have any plan or do you just randomly pick where to go?
I have no plans. Or in fact I had no plans when I started in Turkey and I always planned only for the next one or two weeks. But after seven months I arrived in Portugal and I felt in love with this country so I decided to live there for some time. I applied for a Masters programme in international business and I decided to finish my travelling there. When I started my travel I was not thinking about stopping somewhere – I was just travelling…
So when you ask if I’ve found myself I can say I know a different way to live. I was not really satisfied with the way I used to live back in Brazil so I actually started a new life.
What are you planning to do after finishing your Masters degree? Do you want to do that work, or do you want to travel more?
Erm, yea, it’s a difficult question. Back in Brazil I studied business administration and I really liked it. But I always felt that I was missing something. Of course I would love to travel more but it’s difficult for me to think about making money by travelling for me.
What was the main reason to do that? The main motivation?
To be really honest, I actually realised why I started it just a few weeks ago. In the beginning I was trying to explain what I was doing to my friends or especially to my family. You know, my life in Brazil was perfect, at least from the point of view of my family. I finished the university, I got a really nice job, I was growing and making my own money. And my family was happy.
But suddenly I said “No. I`m going to travel.” And they were of course asking me why… So I think I started to write just to show them how nice it can be. But later I discovered that people were enjoying what I was writing so I went on.
Have you started with the beginning of your journey?
No. In fact I started before. I wrote why I was doing this to prepare my family and friends for what would happen. So if you check my page I have there a picture in the airport saying “Goodbye, Brazil.” And I started my journey with this project “Love Around the World”.
Do you think you will ever go back to Brazil to live?
I think so. I can say I really love Brazil. I want to have a family and children one day and when I imagine my life in the future, I just imagine it in Brazil. If you ask me where I imagine myself in twenty years time, I imagine myself living in my home countryside in Brazil.
So you are from São Paulo?
Actually I was born in a small city close to São Paulo, but I lived in São Paulo for a few years because of the university and the job. But I am really connected to my countryside. The life there is different compared to São Paulo. São Paulo is crazy, there are ten million people living there… It`s quite dangerous, there`s a lot of traffic… And when you compare it to my countryside it is… different.
Do you have any really memorable stories from your journey?
Yes, I have a story I will remember forever. When I was in Serbia I hitchhiked with a really old guy in an old car. I had a cardboard sign with the name of the city and it was the only thing he could understand. But all the way he was talking in Serbian. All the way. Talking Serbian, talking Serbian… I couldn’t understand a word but I was smiling and trying to be positive. And he went on and on.
When we arrived in the city he wrote a paper in Cyrillic for me, he gave me a hug and left. I entered a café and asked a girl to read what was on the paper. And there was something like: “Thank you for your company, I missed to talk to someone so much! Thank you for your help…” Something like that. I started to cry – it was so emotional…
He was just an old man missing talking to someone. I don’t know his story, I don’t know what he was talking about. I think he just needed to share his feelings with the world…
Or another hitchhiking story. There was a girl in Romania taking me somewhere and we talked all the way. She was really nice and helped me to find the place where my couchsurfer waited for me. We stopped and she told me: “I have to say thank you very much. I used to do it this way with my father, but he is very ill now. It was the very first time I did it alone. And thanks to you I didn’t feel so sad.“
She cried, I started to cry too and I really felt something like a destiny. On that day I had a lot of problems to arrive at the road but in the end I met that girl. I don’t know how, but we were definitely supposed to meet…
What was the reason to start couchsurfing for you?
I had time to get to know more about the places, more about the people, and couchsurfing is the best way. If I would go just for two weeks on holiday I wouldn’t couchsurf I think. I had never used it before because I did just that kind of short travel. But since then I’ve met so many great people because of couchsurfing…
Couchsurfing taught me how people can be nice just to be nice. They open the door of their home just to get to know you. Just because they are curious. They do not expect you to do something for them. Today we live in a world where people always expect something but while couchsurfing, people are nice to be nice, they don’t expect anything.
The same for hitchhiking. Hitchhiking is even more so than couchsurfing I would say. Because sometimes those people don’t even speak your language. They just take you in their car and you say thank you and goodbye, that’s it. People help you just to help…
What do you think is the most important thing for you in your life? Most important of all?
It’s difficult, I don’t want to say a cliché like my family or so. I’m a little bit selfish, but I think the most important thing in my life is myself.
I don’t think it’s selfish. It’s perfect though.
Yes (laugh). It was the first thing on my mind, myself. My objectives, what I want to do. Nothing is more important than what I have inside of me.
Can you tell me a bit more about your project?
When I started “Love Around the World” I recorded people talking about love in their native language. It’s difficult to talk about love in any other language I think. Because when you talk about feelings… But I found out it’s too difficult to do it this way. I did the video and then I had to wait for people to translate it – and of course it was never exactly the same as they actually said.
But I discovered when you talk about love around the world, you actually don’t have to ask people about love. When you write about hitchhiking or couchsurfing, about people you meet on your way, about the experience, about your feelings, about what you live, you also write about the love around the world.
So I don’t upload videos as I did in the beginning but it still makes sense. One guy wrote to me something I really like: “I love your experience. I saw you talking with old people in a bus. I saw you playing with a child in a square. I saw you meeting people… And he wrote lot of things like that… At the end he asked himself: Where is the love around the world? Isn’t it in everything I wrote before?”
What is love for you then?
For me? That’s a difficult question. I was supposed to write it at the end of the journey. I really don’t know how to explain it. I think I am still looking for it but I am on the right path. It leads me to what I’ve told you before. About being nice just to be nice. This is what love is about. It’s the essential of being human. When you do something really naturally, really spontaneously and you make someone happy, you do it just to do it. You don’t expect anything. It’s about the energy coming with that. When people will do it, they will always fall in love with the world.