It’s my final week in Rio as a Social Impact Consultant with _SocialStarters and time to wrap things up with my client, Horta Inteligente. Over the past six weeks we have worked together on a number of things – defining the product offerings, pricing, market research, website, business presentation – and this week we need to get everything finished, or at least into a state where I can be sure that Elisa can complete any outstanding elements when I’m gone.
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.
I’m finding it quite a challenge to walk the line between being a tourist in a new city and being in Rio to work. I am no longer eating all my meals out (although it’s fair to say the majority), paying for everything with large bills and drinking Caipirinhas at every opportunity. But at the same time I can’t help but marvel at the sights of the city and still have a long list of places yet to visit. My days have more structure, with client meetings, personal development sessions and Portuguese lessons three afternoons a week, plus homework! Then there’s the morning workouts and the evening group workshops – I’m finding myself rushing through the metro station, raising my eyes at anyone who’s dawdling and blocking my way, checking my watch and beginning to feel some of the stresses that I thought I’d left behind in London. This has to stop and I need to learn from the locals on how to take a more relaxed approach to life – especially when it comes to timekeeping – although anyone who knows me will confirm that this is not going to be easy! Read more
In life we can often feel as though we’re trapped in a revolving door. Where you could once keep moving, something happens and you’re stuck, unable to go either forward or back, trapped. Ever experienced this? If not, and you’re wondering how it feels, then let me enlighten you. I’m not talking metaphorically here, I’m speaking literally. Yes, trapped in a revolving door, of a bank, with alarm bells rings and security guards shouting at you in Portuguese, not able to understand a word, and unable to move forward or back. It’s actually quite scary, in fact very scary, but once freed from my glass prison and escorted from the premises, it caused much hilarity among my team mates. Seems that I had tried to enter via the wrong door, unable to read the signs, and that had triggered the major alert.