Doing nothing in Rio

It’s Monday and the grey, damp weather has returned to Rio. The workshop that I was supposed to present tonight to our group of budding social entrepreneurs has been cancelled due to lack of sign-ups. I had planned an afternoon of preparation but as this is no longer necessary I find myself wondering how to fill the day. I’ve decided that I’m not very good at doing nothing, especially on a week day. It’s my northern work ethic kicking in, plus many years of full time working  Monday to Friday, which means that unless I’m officially on holiday, I need to be sat at my desk working on some deliverable, preferably up against a deadline, in order to feel ‘right’.  I suppose, being honest, if it was a gorgeous sunny day I’d be content on the beach with my book and a cold coconut juice. But that’s not an option. It’s strange. I feel guilty, but then not guilty. Worried and then fine. I think about it in detail and it makes me realise that I am going to have to find a way to deal with this if I am a) going to get through the next 4 weeks here and b) build the life of a digital nomad that I have been dreaming about for the past year.

Maybe it’s an age thing? Or perhaps it’s just years of conditioning  – always having to divide work and fun into separate categories – and never the twain shall meet? Or maybe it’s just finding that feeling of being satisfied with other aspects of my day, and not just being content when I’m able to tick something off my ‘to do’ list?

There is no pleasure in having nothing to do. The fun is in having lots to do and not doing it

It seems that I’m not the only person feeling this way. After a tough Monday morning workout on the beach, our personal trainer shared his thoughts on how he’s coping with his new life in Rio, finding his way professionally in a tough city, and how he was missing his family and friends back in the US. It is certainly a challenge to feel at home in a place when you’re here for an extended period of time; to work and not just to play. Having some structure to the day really helps, as well as being flexible and adapting to whatever situation comes your way. I think if one city is going to teach me how to do this then it’s Rio. You certainly have to go with the flow here and I am slowly learning to adjust.  I’ll probably just get it sorted when it will be time to head home! In the mean time, I’m sure I’d feel a whole lot happier if the sun was shining. That always seems to make everything better.


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