The coin has dropped.
Originally an idiom from the UK translated to Brazilian Portuguese, a ficha caiu, that means that you have realized something that you were unaware of before.
Think about a slot machine or a payphone where you have to deposit a coin. There is a moment in between where the coin has to travel to its destination so that you are able to make the call, or play on the machine. So you are waiting, maybe not consciously for the coin to drop, but when it does you become aware that the journey has begun.
Ultimately, I feel like that happens to me all the time and somehow I am always surprised. When I am waiting for my realization, I usually worry about the same things. For example, will I make enough money for an adventure, can I find a way of serving the world, should I settle, or the daily question, “am I doing the right thing?”
Once a ficha caiu, and I am reminded of this exceptional life and all the gratitude I have for the people who are a part of it, a relief of substantial form settles within me.
Before I started living this “travelers life” I remember saying to myself,
There are so many places in the world I want to see. I don’t think I’ll have enough time to see all the places I want. So, right here and now, I’m going to give up South East Asia.
Well, who knew I would travel to South East Asia and completely fall in love with it. There hasn’t been a day where I do not think about the people, food, and places I discovered there two years ago.
South America, especially Brazil, was put on the back burner and I was obsessed with the desire to revisit SE Asia. However, as usual, things change.
I cannot really explain why or how this new plan came about. Again, as usual.
So, for all of you who are still following these journeys, right now I am in Nicaragua, where my mom and I are visiting my college friend, Ali, who is here working in the Peace Corps. After a week of bliss with these wonderful ladies, I fly to Miami and then the next day to Medellin, Colombia where I will then make my way overland to Brazil.
Brasil! La la la la la la la laaaa! You know the song….
Ever since a Brazilian Music class I took at the University of Texas in Austin, when I had to attend there for one semester due to Hurricane Katrina, I have been fascinated with the country and the culture.
For some reason, I had this idea in my mind of ‘saving’ Brazil…for last? That Brazil would be so incredible that I might never be able to leave and therefore have to complete my travel list before going to the country. Then a dear friend told me,
“We have to be in Brazil while we are young! And we can dance!”
It was as simple as that. I decided that this was the year I needed to go to Brazil.
But I mean, I can’t just go straight to Brazil right?
Why don’t I make an adventure out of it? Why don’t I make it another epic journey?
The excitement of the possibility of another big adventure saturated my entire being. I kept thinking of the way I’ve always planned these trips in the sense that the answer to all the questions was,
Ok, so now I am in Nicaragua. And what can I say? The flora, the fauna, the faces, the food! I’m in love! Well, until we went exploring around Granada and some hecklers bothered me. I mean, dude I’m walking with my mom here! Please don’t mutter dirty things under your breath and stare at my ass!
I have experienced these catcallers all over the world. I understand that there is a machismo mentally down here, but I’ve also heard some pretty shocking things when I’ve gotten gas at the Ideal Market in New Orleans.
And I can’t forget about Morocco. Whenever I would venture out to the Medina alone, my best friend and host, Karim, would ask me each time I came home,
“Did anyone bother you?”
It is just something that happens. All advice given to me has been to ignore it therefore not encouraging any further interactions. I’m ok with that.
Now that I’ve been able to process the day and remember that it is what it is, and things are what they are, I can relax. Travel is full of discomforts that, for me, have made me grow in ways I didn’t believe were possible.
My coin has dropped and I am awake to all the possibilities in this amazing world. I can only be grateful.
And I could not have stumbled upon a better sign on my first day other than this….