Day 22 interview

Published: November 22, 2016
Place: Itajai

What forces people traveling? What leads them to go out of their comfort zones and make the first step into the unknown?

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Rafaela Pinheiro is one of those people who wants to give up their comfortable life to travel the world. Holding a fabulous job as a head marketing manager of a big construction company she is going to take one year break and follow the 6 years old dreams with her little son. I decided to learn more about what brought her to this decision.

 

L: When was the first time you went traveling?

R: I started to enjoy the freedom of traveling when I turned 18. My sisters were living in Florence – Italy, and I went there for 20 days. My travel buddy in this journey was my grandma. It was our first trip to Europe and for me, it sounded so great to travel without parents.

L: That’s a good start! I traveled all across Italy with my 68-year-old mother and 8-year-old niece last August. Later on, she will also tell someone that this was her first trip without parents)) (confused by what you mean here)

R: It was fantastic. I had amazing experiences of visiting places, meeting people and it really opened my eyes to something new, another reality and opportunities. From this time, I learned how to connect myself to simple things, to not be afraid of being alone somewhere, open my heart, love and be loved.

L: Sounds great. Didn’t you want to stay with your sisters?

R: I could have chosen to stay there and live with them but I decided first to finish my education (I had 4 years of university ahead) and after that, I thought to go abroad for a few months. So that was my plan, and as I wanted, one week after my graduation, I went for an internship in Canada. I supposed to study for 3 months there, but I saved money and made few road trips in Canada and the USA. This time was very special. I experienced many amazing moments and really sad stories. I am sure I got stronger from all of these.

L: Did you meet someone?

R: Yes. During my journey, I met a guy who got into my mind and my heart. I felt completely in love with him. He was Swiss and was also studying at my school, and for a power of Universe, exactly in my classroom. We shared many amazing moments during my time there.

L: Yeah, I knew it! It’s always about a man.

R: My connection with him was deep and strong. When I went back to Brasil, all I knew was that I wanted to see him again. We were in contact and I told myself: I want to meet him again. He is the man of my life! I think my father almost killed me when I said: “I am going to Europe!” He had no words because I had just arrived from 5 months traveling. And he was right, I know. But my heart chose that man and I wanted to be there. I bought my ticket and was supposed to fly there in 3 months.

L: But you didn’t?

R: One day I got an e-mail saying: “I don’t want you to come here anymore. Please forget me. I want to enjoy my freedom and restart my life.” – not exactly in these words, but that was the meaning. That time was very hard for me.

L: I also once heard exactly the same words from the man I loved. I know how you feel.

R: I could have given up, suffered, cried or got crazy, but I didn’t. I decided to turn this situation in a very positive decision of my life. So, I changed my plans and started to organize a 4-month backpacking trip to Europe. It would have been a great way to quiet my mind while seeing the new countries. And I made it. This how I got the spirit of traveling and I would never take out of my heart since then. I spent 4 fantastic months, which I am so grateful for.

L: Yeah… I did pretty much the same, but also including the crying part. Did it help?

R: I came back to Brazil, started working in a family company, lived with my parents and everything was going fine. After 3 years the daily routine started bothering me and I moved to another city of Brazil to try myself in a new field and I became very successful. 8 months later I was making  serious plans of moving abroad for a round-the-world trip. But…
One small detail suddenly happened: I found out I was pregnant. This “accident” made me save my plans for another time, and when I was ready to move, I moved back to my parents’ house.

L: Emm… You were pregnant… There must be a man involved.

R: I never wanted to be with this man, it was really an accident which later I would be thankful forever as my son is the person I love most in the entire world. But this time I became broken, I felt like the door of opportunities just closed. To keep my ideas alive, I asked some friends around the World to make photos of my son’s name and promised myself: one day, when he is older, I will bring him there and we’ll see the World together.

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L: That’s a great idea!

R:  Time passes really fast. I came back to work when Benicio was 2-years-old. I concentrated on my career and my son. He is 6 already and the idea of traveling around the World grew with him. Now is the time to unwrap my dreams and make them come alive. It was a bit hard to convince my family and Ben’s father to let me go. And thankfully they accepted my crazy thoughts, even if they don’t agree with them.

L: So, you are planning a trip?

R: I am planning 9 months of traveling around the world with my 6-year-old son. This is his last year of kindergarten, but there is no school near our house yet. Our construction company is building it and it will be ready in 2018. I thought it’s a great opportunity to use this gap. Of course I don’t know what will happen, but I am sure it will be a pleasure to share my days with him, get connected as mom and son (in my daily routine of working – home – responsibilities, I feel I don’t give my best time to him), see different cultures on opposite sides of the world. I don’t want to have any expectations. I am sure he will miss his family. We all are very close and always together. I also think dealing with food won’t be so easy. He is not a big fan of trying new flavors. He also never stayed in unknown peoples’ houses, and I’m planning to couch surf and Airbnb, which I have also never done before.

L: Awesome. Congratulations on the new start, I’m very proud to be your first surfer!

R: I was honestly very nervous about it and even scared. Actually, I have many fears inside, but the secret is that my fears are the ones that keep me going.

L: Which countries are you planning to visit?

R: Our adventure is confirmed to begin on March 4 in Cancun, Mexico! Other countries on our list: USA, Canada, Iceland, England, Scotland, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Greece, Croatia, Egypt and somewhere in South Africa. We are not buying all the transportation tickets for those places yet because we probably will add some more destinations on the way, and want to have freedom for this. Some of the places from this list are the ones from where we got photos with BEN’s name.

L: You must be very brave to decide to travel alone with a child.

R: Kind of brave. But I already started the preparation 6 months in advance. I’m reading articles of other people who have already traveled with children. I am searching for connections in every city we’re going to. By the time we start our trip, I hope to have a helping family or a person in every place in case of an emergency.

L: A few years ago I made a road trip with my brother and his two children who were 3 and 6 years old at the time. I know it’s hard for them to cover long distances sitting in the car and sometimes they got crazy in the back seat. I guess you will face the same problem on your way.

R: I will bring school materials to study. I also want to teach him that it is important to have the patience to get to your destination, no matter if it’s a road or a time distance. I also want to bring small and smart games we can play together. I researched ideas and decided to produce 2 games for the journey. One is a dice game and other is a boomerang. I will also sell those during the trip as a way to earn some extra money for our adventures.

 

L: I know that you are planning to write about your trip and have already some cool creative ideas, like a photoshoot we made on Sunday)

R: We will post our travel adventures on our website, FB page and instagram @viagensdoben. I am not a writer and don’t really have a huge travel experience, but I want to share it with other women, especial single mothers. Being a mom usually seems a step back for our plans but when you have faiths, believes and work hard on it – everything is possible.

L: Thank you so much for sharing your story. I believe it will inspire others and move forward their dreams!

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