As a kid, before Google Maps was bookmarked, I drew the world. Only a handful of intangible locales received the red felt pen treatment, dotted and marked. Rio de Janeiro was always on there and I’d conjure the view from Christ the Redeemer in my sleep. A week ago, for the first time, I watched the sun retreat in this city and on this continent. I haven’t come back down to the world since.
Cariocas have lived many lives and still live some of them. Another weekend, any caipirinha vending street corner, any wave surging towards its infamous beaches.
In the past few days, I have waved those enormous flags you see at football games, only among Raça fans at the Maracanã, smoked within the labyrinths of favelas, free climbed the tallest slab of rock around, Pedra da Gávea, and slacklined on the Copacabana. It’s been a sparkling welcome into this still unfathomably huge, intangible mass of land, and my appetite is whet for more.
It’s my first stop on a trip I know I’ll remember my whole life. I’ll remember delicately toeing the line between confusion and confidence. Along the slackline, amongst truly wild Patagonian trails, at sunrise beside mountain lakes in the high Andes, with only myself higher.
Follow my journey in my ’97 Toyota 4Runner over on Instagram and say hello.