After a bit of a grey week, wall to wall sunshine on a Sunday can mean only one thing: a day at the beach. It’s great how quickly I’ve become a regular at my particular part of the Copacabana. My chair guy waves to me as I stand waiting to cross the road and my lounger is waiting for me by the time the lights turn red. At around £1 for a days rental, plus £1 for my chilled fresh coconut, a day at the beach is very inexpensive. No sooner am I comfortable in my spot, than the beach vendors approach. I am constantly amazed at the selection of items for sale. All of the usual beach paraphernalia – glasses, hats, sarongs, jewellery, swimwear – plus selfie sticks, paintings, whistles, T-shirts, bags and even rugs. Even more amazing is the vast selection of food and drink – pies, pasties, trays of watermelon, crisps, nuts, prawn skewers, beer, cocktails, sandwiches, ice cream, acai – and even guys dragging around small charcoal BBQs to grill cheese kebabs. Everyone approaches and everyone moves along if you are not interested. It’s very polite and very friendly and that’s because people do buy and the vendors make sales and it all just works without being pushy.
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.