I’m currently wrapping up two months in Brazil where I have been traveling and meeting my fathers side of the family including my three half siblings that I have not seen since I was a child. This is a trip I have procrastinated for 18 years for no good reason. Now that I’m here I’m wondering why I didn’t contact my family years ago, especially since they live two blocks from the beach in Ipanema, Rio de Janiero.
It’s been really amazing to get to know my brother and sisters and learn about my father, a man I barely knew. We’ve been combing over the scrapbooks and sharing the few stories we know of that elusive man. The biggest surprise to me is finding out that my father in 1958, at the tender age of 22, convinced the Rio de Janiero newspaper he worked for to fund him while he attempted to hitchhike around the world in 800 days. They agreed and he set off heading south through Argentina then up through Chile and the rest of the countries in South America until finally giving up in Panama almost a year after leaving Rio.
I’m going to have to do some library searching to find the dispatches he sent back to be published in the newspaper, but my family has tons of clippings from newspapers around the continent announcing the young explorers arrival in each country. It is pretty funny to read his quotes as unofficial ambassador of Brazil saying such things as “Women in Brazil don’t have to work, the men do it all” and “the workers of Brazil are paid enough to meet all their needs”. Even in 1958 that was probably a mouth full. The photo above is my father somewhere in South America. Cool bike, eh?