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A South African, a Barcelonian and a Burner

By on Feb 25, 2011 in Brazil, Burn Stories, Burning Man, Rock Star Librarian, Serendipity, Travel | 0 comments

A South African

Fifty-five weeks ago Patric entered the Crown Room in Portland, Oregon, sat down at the bar next to me and our mutual friend, Laura, who introduced us mere weeks before, and asked,

“You two wouldn’t want to go to Rio for Carnival, would you?”

Perhaps in one of my previous iterations of myself I’d have easily brushed off this kind of offer as mere day dreaming, but over the last several years, I’ve accepted these moments as wonderful opportunities awaiting my faith in them. So, I played along and asked,

“When do you need an answer?”

Over the next days, we discussed pre-flight requirements. Flight. Check. Hotel. Check. Vacation request approval. Check. Travel visa…

“You need a visa?” Patric asked.

We realized South Africans don’t need a visa to travel to Brazil, but Americans do. After speaking with a plethora of visa agencies, I discovered I couldn’t conceivably receive my visa in time to travel. Dream trip thwarted – for the moment, because now, I had the Brazil bug. I asked myself “How?” and “Why not?” rather than tell myself, “I can’t.” And then one day I just decided, “Travel doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult.” And this was what that beautifully blossomed belief manifested:

A Barcelonan

Monday night. Burning Man. Playa dust clouds swirled off my sparkly heels as I stepped onto my first art car for the week, with a full suited Cookie Monster at the helm. Just as I gained balance, several foreign, reveling Burners descended the staircase to await their stop. I grabbed the stair rail, ready to climb, but as I did, one of the revelers intently took my hand, looked me squarely in the eyes and in a Spanish accent said,

“Wait! You! You need to travel, and you need to fall in love.”

“Both sound wonderful,” I reply, “Where are you from?”

“Barcelona!” he said.

“Oh, I loved Spain! But I never made it to Barcelona,” I respond. We paused for a moment. I embraced the message, thinking our momentary interlude was over, but he continued,

“You Americans. You travel to Europe. This is not travel. No. You, my dear, need to go to…” He looked intently into my eyes and with gusto said, “Brazil!” And then he kissed my hand in gentlemanly fashion and jumped off the art car into the night.

And a Burner

So, I make this music guide for Burning Man. And this year among the many lovely people who emailed me sweet something thank yous, I received an awesome, energy filled message from Tony who suggested I stop by his camp to say ‘hi’ and receive a proper hug and thank you (I am a sucker for long, unpretentious hugs!) . But as is Burning Man, the time I stopped he wasn’t at camp. So we reconnected post-Burn over wine and whomp. It was then I discovered Tony had travelled to Brazil and was excited to connect me with people he knew living there, including another Burner. And so it seemed, the universe decided 2011 was to be the year I travelled to Brazil. Who was I to argue? But how? Wait. I remembered, “Travel doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult.”

I’ll explain this in the next post.

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