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    Friday, February 27, 2009

    Post Carnival Blog, February 27 2009

    Day one of Carnival is all about men going as ladies. I was hot!

    So Carnival is finally finished and it's time to get serious--not too serious, of course. I'll eventually write all about Carnival but for now just assume it's beyond words. The energy, colors, endless music, food, people, parties, dancing--just one of the best 5 days I've had in a while!

    We were blessed to find tickets to the official parade--epic!

    The bike was a hit!

    More pics at my facebook album at:

    I'm settled into my apartment just steps from the beach and have a handful of great friends I'm hanging with to learn tons of Portuguese and surfing daily. My book proposal is coming along, the filming strategy, expedition plans and all that good stuff moving along at just the right productive yet mellow Latino-styled pace :) Below is a quick video tour of my apartment just steps from the waves.

    Over n out from Paradise!


    Wednesday, February 18, 2009

    Birthday Blog from Brazil, February 10, 2009
    with updates to February 18, 2009

    My last night in San Diego was a blast AND our 3rd Fundraiser for Good Hope School

    And my first night in Brazil was a massive welcome from Couch Surfers in Sao Paulo, Brazil

    Amazing music, friendly people and the perfect welcome to Brazil

    I absolutely adore travel—the unique smells, tastes, sounds, people, music and energy have continued to pull me out of the US to explore our planet further. So it goes without saying that when it comes time to plan where I want to be on my birthdays it’s usually somewhere cool doing something pretty fun.

    Since we started this expedition in 2002 I grateful to share the following gifts I received on my birthdays: 31st was scuba diving in Thailand, 32nd ripping extreme sports in New Zealand, 33rd getting engaged to an Aussie gal in San Diego (long story), 34th surfing in Cape Town, South Africa, 35th at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, 36th partying down with good friends in Ghana and now 37th in Florianopolis, Brazil. It’s looking like the 38th and final birthday on the Peace Pedalers expedition will be in Canada helicopter skiing next year but we’ll see how big an advance I can conjure up from a book deal ;)

    So this is my front yard--about 3 minute jog with my board :)
    And a great place to work on my book too, no?

    Back to the journey here...I’m now on a bus from Sao Paulo heading to Florianopolis and we are about 1/2 hour from arrival. The sun is bright, the colors of the buildings and vegetation totally distinctive and glimpses of islands and oceans have my stomach churning with a wild mix of emotions ranging from total joy, to fear, back to excitement to joy and back at times to sadness. Having just left the states a few days ago I’m still quite tender emotionally and, although it might be hard to believe, I never really get used to leaving my family and friends for these extended journeys--in fact, I don’t think I ever could.

    My host in Sao Paulo, Anselmo, who I met in Belfast, N. Ireland!

    Love this photo me with Luli and Nacho from Argentina at a garden in Sao Paulo

    My recent visit home was filled with some truly unforgettable experiences with my family and friends. Towards the end of my European tour I found myself drifting away from my present moment experiences in Europe to daydream of times spent tickling my nephews, giggling with my God Child, chatting endlessly with mom, bonding with the bros and catching up with all my friends. Ten months was long enough and when I did finally made it back home I sucked in every moment possible to be with the ones I love.

    So I’m now crossing the final bridge to Florianopolis, a Brazilian island paradise that will become my home for the next few months as I take a brief sabbatical from it all to focus on my writing to land myself a book agent to get the book deal in motion while I finish the expedition in the next 18 months. And, of course, have the time of my life surfing, riding and living it up ;) Back at ya soon…

    Update: February 12, 2009

    So my welcome into Florianopolis could not have been sweeter. The locals were helpful and friendly as I slowly built the new 29er Black Sheep Tangle up from all the bits and pieces she was boxed up in from the long haul from California to Sao Paulo. I rolled away about noon, got a SIM card for the trusty mobile phone and gave word to several Couchsurfers that I was enroute to Lagoa to meet my host Marina at her art gallery.

    The 20km ride went smooth as can be and even included a 3km long climb at about 12% grade to open up the lungs and get the legs burning in a jiffy as the rain poured down to keep me cool. I arrived lakeside surrounded by lush green mountains and scattered clouds and I truly had arrived in paradise.

    My super soulful and friendly host Marina’s adorable art gallery on the lake and cute home just steps from one of the best surf breaks in Brazil were the icing on the cake on this special birthday arrival. After a nice shower and rest I was picked up on my birthday evening by another cool Couchsurfer named Natalia and we hit the beach for a few cold beers at sunset then went into town to meet up with Carlos and other cool folks. It was an unforgettable evening of food, drinks, live music and laughs. I felt truly grateful to have such great company and such a warm welcome as a stranger into this lovely community.

    The next day I gave myself permission to finally do absolutely nothing. Marina and I had a lovely late breakfast and I sent her off to work. But just when I thought I would relax and allow my new life to “settle in” I hit the most intense emotional rollercoaster ride I’ve experienced in about a year. In fact, it was almost a year ago when I re-entered life back on the road in Ghana after 4 months in the states when I hit the same mental chaos. It did not make it any better knowing this was typical re-entry pains-the fact is that I was a mental mess. The only thing I did know for sure was that it would eventually let up.

    For about 24 hours I felt scared to death, with a pit in my stomach that I could not begin to describe. I don’t know exactly what I was fearing—maybe failure, being injured or robbed, being rejected by this new community or a combination of all. But one thing was certain was I was extremely uneasy, and felt totally alone and like total crap.

    But the next day was totally different and I vowed to at least do my best by moving forward with my plan and let myself come out of the emotional funk whenever it happened. So I did just that—I started moving. I began my search, as planned, for my apartment, surfboard & gear, network of new friends and started speaking Portuguese to everyone—all of these I did through my many fear barriers--head on. And this was just what I needed.

    It went a bit like this—go to the local surf shop, meet the owner and crew, find my board, reserve it with a handshake as I look around a bit more. One of the chaps at the shop Victor is a Brazilian guy who lived 15 years in San Diego just 2 miles from where I just came from day before. The Peace Pedalers Rainbow was clearly in full affect as it just so happens he glasses surfboards near the beach and knew of an apartment that just opened up spitting distance from world class surf. We made an appointment to see it together the next day. Spirits were rising already…

    I got a nice dose of love over the internet via a few calls with Skype and especially a burst of love and support over Facebook where I had dozens of lovely Birthday messages and people wishing me well on my new adventures in South America. Again—this was a nice burst I needed to put me out of my negative funk. By evening time I bought my surfboard, the swell was coming in from the Antarctica, I cooked a huge meal for my host Marina and I was officially out of my funk and ready for my first epic weekend in Floripa (short for Florianopolis)

    The next day I went to check out the apartment and it was just perfect. For about $200 a month a found an awesome studio apartment walking distance from the beach, my friend Marina and her great dogs Astro and Pipoca (popcorn in Portuguese), and surrounded by Brazilian surfers as it’s an active business of two shapers making sweet boards (just may have to get me one of them…). My neighbors are super friendly and nobody speaks a lick of English so that’s good news for my crash course in Brazilian Portuguese.

    A day out exploring Floripa with Natalia, Fernanda, Carlos, Adri and I was unforgettable

    The scenery on this island is just stunning. A must visit!

    The weekend was amazing and far more mellow than I originally anticipated as I saved my “party mode” for Carnival this coming weekend and the days that follow. The days were full of soaking up way too much sun on the beaches and enjoying just enough nightlife including live music, meeting tons of new friends, exhilarating rehearsals for Carnival and much more. My wonderful new friends Carlos, Fernanda, Natalia and Adri made me feel so grateful to be alive and the perfect weather was the icing on the cake.

    And the pineapples are amazing!

    Yummy cold drinks on the beach. Heaven...

    And spending the day hacking through my Portuguese with Natalie--priceless!

    I have to be honest in saying that, despite all the great new friends, wonderful welcomes, sights n sounds n colors, that I still am struggling with very hard core ups and downs. And I wish I could say the ups outweighed the downs, but that would not be true this first week in Brazil. There is something brewing in me that seems to want to block me from truly enjoying what I have here, the blessings that clearly I am so fortunate to be receiving, and I wish I could say it was all rosy and perfect. It “should be” based on all the great “things” happening to me. But the low dips are lingering the highs way too short.

    This is my bike with the Carver Surf Racks on my way from Marina's to my new apartment.
    It was hard saying goodbye to Marina and my dogs Pipoca and Astro too :)

    However, I’m optimistic and praying that this is just the “first week in Floripa” re-entry jitters. I can “feel the light”, so to speak. Now that I’m “moved in” and have my own apartment I really feel far less “flipy floppy” and I’m writing the end of this blog entry from the local bar/restaurant where I’ve been embraced (once again…) by such warm, fun, cool, laid back, genuine people who are excited to have me “morando”… “living” in their cute town of Rio Tavares. I feel part of the place now and hope this will mellow out the ups and downs a bit :)

    Last Update: 2/18/09

    I’m settling in more and more. Last night I went out shopping for the last kit for my apartment with my friend Natalia who is so patient in helping me learn Portuguese (she used to be a teacher…bonus!). This morning I went for a lovely run on the beach, pimped out my apartment to perfection and an important realization came to me that I need to chill out! I think being in the USA and among the values that I should always be “producing, creating, earning and moving forward” has made it difficult to just relax and let the flow take over. I’m mellowing out and learning to take things as they come…In fact, Adri is waiting to take me to the centrino for some midweek fun :)

    So I’m going to sign off for now and finish my taxes to old Uncle Sam and my last tasks before going deep into “celebration mode” of Carnival in Brazil! Yep, in 3 days this entire country goes wild and I’m going to go wild with them!

    Over n out till post Carnival! Sorry for the lack of posts—this will get much better going forward.

    Live Big. Give Big. Love Big.

    Jamie :)