Last week, I watched my sister fly downwards towards South America, where she’ll undoubtedly paint Brazil a brand new shade of red as she makes her home there for the next four years. I’ve watched her travel the world for roughly twenty years, and whenever I could gather up the time and money, I followed her–to Europe, to Africa, to Haiti, to various places around the States.
When I was 12 years old, I cried, completely inconsolable, when she moved to Italy. When she came home for Christmas that year, and left again after the holidays, I cried harder than before. Eventually, I stopped crying because I realized that all her travel abroad meant wonderful things. New homes abroad for her meant exciting trips abroad for me. In turn, exciting trips abroad to visit my sis meant quality time and good adventuring with her. So began many fun and memorable trips all over the place…
When I was fifteen years old, I went to West Africa on my own to stay with her for three months, and celebrated my sweet 16th during that time. I went back the next year for two months. Even at that young age, I knew better than to take such an experience for granted. This time spent in a quiet part of Africa, in the presence of my sister whom I admired and adored unabashedly, remains a uniquely formative and unforgettable time in my life.
Long and scenic road trips, elegant train travel, not-so-elegant train travel, funny airplane rides, spine-rattling clunker taxis with herds of goat strapped to the roof–we’ve experienced it all together. She is–and will always be–my favorite travel partner. We haven’t done a big trip together in a longish while, so I think about Brazil with great excitement, thinking of the good times to be had when I go visit (often!) in the coming years. The anticipation doesn’t fully make up for the heavy heartedness that I felt at her leaving, but it levels the emotional field a bit.
So off I go to work on a little Portuguese, and to add people, places and things to my South America bucket list. And to my dear sister– happy trails to you; até logo!