Guest post by Luciene Souza Farias

Traveling has always been one of the great pleasures of my life. I have been to several different places, met incredible people, tasted awesome and terrible food… Oh, well, I guess life has been good! When asked to write about my traveling experiences, I felt very honored and worried at the same time. So, after some time deliberating, I decided to quickly write about three experiences I’ve had so far.

My first nice recollection of traveling to a place far from my hometown is from the age of six. My parents moved from the Northeast area of Brazil to the Southern area in search of a better life before I was born. For the first time, we would visit my relatives in the Northeast area and you can imagine by that how important this trip was. Three days by bus! Yes, three days! By the time, we lived in a slum and, as a consequence, money to travel was very short. Well, maybe that’s the reason this trip was so fantastic. As the bus crossed the country, I could realize for the first time how people had different accents, appearance, attitudes… Everything seemed impressive: The nauseating smell of sugar cane being burned and the gentle smell of wet dust after a soft rain; how the bus window was mildly warm because of the hot sun; how the moon seemed to follow the bus as it crossed the country. Oh, the ocean… I could never forget how crystal clear the water was and the sand… the sand was colorful when looked closer and white when observed at a distance. Wow! What an amazing mystery for a kid.

My second really cool trip happened when I was sixteen. I used to study in a public school in Sao Paulo and, because I was a good student (namely, a nerd), I won a trip to the South area of Brazil. Because this area is mainly occupied by German and Italian descendants, the whole place has a European aspect. Tudor houses, innovative public transportation, perfect gardens, and, yes, incredible traditional Italian food! Oh, well! What can I tell? Great days!

My third and last trip that I will share with you occurred this year at the age of twenty-six. After being selected to present a paper in a conference and received travel grants, I flew to Iowa City. What a neat place! While taking a walk, I saw sculpted animals on top of the buildings that made me remember of all the historical symbolisms men had given to each one of those animals: wisdom, strength, persistence… One word maybe the perfect one to express all I could see: lovely!

The other interesting thing I noticed is that the city merged with the university. People all over the place acted like if they were unified by one purpose: to discover; they breathed knowledge. I had a very distinctive kind of feeling while there. I was free and confined at the same time. Free to get to know everything I wanted and confined to walls made not only of old bricks, but also books and accusing minds. Oh, well! Everything smelled like knowledge. So exciting! Well, I am not a great writer, so I hope you were not bored to death! One last thought that it’s actually not mine but explains exactly why I like to travel is: “I think that travel comes from some deep urge to see the world, like the urge that brings up a worm in an Irish bog to see the moon when it is full” by Lord Dunsany.

Lucie is a friend and colleague from Brazil with an unexplainable craving for the ability to dance, and – obviously now – to travel as well. She also speaks Portuguese. Thank you Lucie! 

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