Homestay Brazil – week 2


It’s been a long time between posts! I’m now in Brazil and am loving it so far. My family are awesome and are going out of their way to show me Brazilian life and all the sites. I’m living about 20 minutes from Campinas. It has about a million people, and is one hour drive from Sao Paulo city (11 million people).

My Portugese study is coming along although I’m speaking English 95% of the time as my family are quite fluent already. The whole idea is for me to teach them so I have been talking English with them as much as possible.

There are a lot of new things, people and routines to get used to. I am just trying to relax, go with the flow and find my place amongst it all. My host bro leaves for NZ tomorrow and I am off to Rio on Thursday for Carnival! Woo hoo!

I have met some nice people. Mostly been hanging around the host parents, their family and friends as I don’t have transport and we live in a remote location a fair way out of town. There are plenty of buses once you get into Campinas so I might work on learning the system once I get back from Rio. Otherwise I can walk just about everywhere, except it’s pretty damn hot!

The house is in a beautiful spot on top of a hill surrounded by forest, and has a nice pool that I spent most of yesterday in. I’ll post pics soon.

It’s been flat out, since I’ve been here I’ve been to two funerals, two birthday parties, a carnival, fair, eaten out a heap, gone on a day trip to Sao Paulo markets and some tours to see what my host mum does for work. It’s been great.

Hope things are going well with you! Lots of love, Serina xx


Northern Lights – 17 day countdown

To see the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) is number 73 on my bucket list. I leave for Bergen Norway in just 17 days. I cannot wait!

There are still a few things I need to do before I go, so I thought I’d share them with you as well as what websites and tools I typically use to plan my trips.

  • Passport – done (still in date by a least 6 months). Have a softcopy somewhere you can access just in case you lose it on the road.
  • Visa – done (not required)
  • Flights – all done except internal Norway flight from Kirkens to Bergen (I’ll use Skyscanner for this – but then probably book directly with the airline)
  • Accommodation – all done except for 4 nights in Bergen (I’ll use airbnb as the options looked better and cheaper than Agoda – both sites I love and use often)
  • Insurance – done (I use a family friend insurance broker at MGA for this. The cover is with CGU and includes my pre-existing medical condition)
  • Load credit card with money – I use Citibank (no additional conversion fees), and make sure a back-up card is available. I also take some cash for back up.
  • Advise banks of travel plans so they don’t cancel your cards – done
  • Medication stocktake to cover trip duration
  • Register travel plans on the Smartraveller website (The Australian Government’s travel advisory and consular assistance service) and sign up for notifications –
  • Check the weather for the travel location for packing preparation

I summarise my flights, accommodation and any planned activities on a spreadsheet.  This is handy for getting my head around what needs to happen before I leave, it also severs as an on-the-road summary, and is a good thing to pass on to family and/or friends who want to know what you are up to. Passing this information on to someone at home is a good safety net for just in case something goes wrong. That way they have a good record of what your planned movements are.

Email me if you would like a free copy of my template or for further information on any of the items above.

Something shocking and sad I learned today on the Net

I could not believe it.

I was excited to hear in a recent podcast I was listening to that someone had written about cheap accommodation in other countries.

I made a mental note to look into it at a later date.

So when I got around to looking up the mentioned blog I found multiple pages with the same title. Very confusing. Having a look through them at first I was shocked that people would so blatantly just copy, paste and claim someone else’s work for their own. But sad at the same time that they must feel they cannot come up with their own ideas or do not have the time to do so.

I would be devastated if I found my work to be copied liked this. I am obviously new and naive to the online world and probably a lot of what goes on in there.

The frustrating thing was that due to all of the plagiarised copies I had a lot of trouble finding the original. I don’t actual know if it did.

How to make someone say ‘I love you’ in less than a minute.

I recently discovered the “Zero to Travel” podcast which is worth checking out if you haven’t.

The episode I last listened to was about “Spreading Goodness While You Travel” but in particular Jason the host talked about being open, flexible and connecting more with locals while travelling.

I must have absorbed the information as on my walk tonight I smiled at an indigenous woman as I walked past her in the streets.  I had my earphones in and was walking rather briskly so apart from the smile, I wouldn’t have thought I was inviting conversation or any other sort of interaction.

Anyway the lady smiled back, lifted her arms up and open into the gesture of a hug and proceeded to walk towards me. I was in a bit of shock and felt my guard go up a little but told myself to relax and just go with it. Anyway I heard the words “Do you want a hug?” come out of my mouth and then I too lifted up my arms wrapped them around her. It was quite a long hug during which she told me she loved me, and then kissed me on the neck. We then drew apart and simply went our separate ways.

What a strange but beautiful experience it was.  I actually got goose bumps as I walked away from her. I didn’t know what to think of it… and I still don’t, but it was good.

The reactions I got form other people on my walk that night we nowhere near as intimate, in fact some people did not even look at me.

How do you interact with those around you?

Are you conscious of you energy?

Do you smile at strangers?

Is your body language open or closed?

Are you present? Or are you thinking of something in the past, or future?

Can you be spontaneous in the moment and just go with the flow?

For more information listen to Jason on the “Spreading Goodness” episode from the “Zero to Travel” podcast.

Or connect with me via email or commenting below.


Why you should write down and share your dreams

It creates excitement.

It makes you happy.

They are more likely to come true.

It can help you to prioritise and focus.

You may feel a greater sense of accomplishment when you finally achieve them.

You can share them. Sharing is a form of love. Your dreams may inspire others.

Sharing will help create connection with other people.

If you communicate your dreams with other people they may be able to help you achieve them.

Other people can cheer you on, and celebrate achievements with you.

People may hold you accountable and lift you up with encouragement when you feel like giving up on your dreams.

It will help you put aside time to think about and detail what it is you really want.

& your thoughts become things… (Mike Dooley)

Once your dreams are on paper they are out of your head and you have space to think about the next step which is action!