My trip to Brazil was the first time I had left the US in 3 years. Apparently, my travel skills had gotten a bit rusty. I made a few silly mistakes that I want to share with you all to ensure that you will all be smarter travelers when you embark on your own adventures.
First of all, I got my phone stolen. This could have been avoided if I was more aware of my surroundings. I went out in a sketchy neighborhood one night and was using my i-phone as my camera. I think I left my phone on the table at the bar when I was ordering a beer and someone took it. Or, I may have left it in the outside pocket of my purse that doesn’t have a zipper. Either way – when I reached into my purse for my phone just 10 minutes later, it was gone. My friend ran back to the bar and asked around, but obviously, if someone had stolen it, they weren’t exactly going to admit to it. Luckily, I had transferred most of my photos on to my computer already. In the end, it is just a phone and those are replaceable. I just felt a bit stupid for being so naive!
My second big mistake was not bringing my passport with me when traveling inside Brazil. I decided to travel to the beach and to Rio for a long weekend, and opted against bringing my passport with me because I figured I was traveling in country and wouldn’t need it. However, as I didn’t bring any other form of ID with me, I had no way of proving who I in fact was. I got on the first bus out of Sao Paulo without a problem, they didn’t ask to check my ID. However, once on the bus, Celise pointed out that I really should have brought my passport because you should always travel with some sort of identification, in case anything happens. Also, you usually need ID to get a hotel room. Oops!
The first leg of the trip went just fine, Celise knew the hostel owners where we stayed and they didn’t ask for my ID. But when we went to the bus station to get on the bus to go to Rio, the bus driver wouldn’t let me on without an ID! I figured I had blown our weekend getaway and figured we would have to go home. Celise and I were discussing what to do, when just before the bus was about to leave, the bus driver ran over to us and told Celise that if she signed a piece of paper claiming she was responsible for me that he would let me on the bus. Score!
Once we finally got to Rio, I had to lie to the lady working at the hostel and tell her that my ID got stolen. First of all, I am a horrible liar. Second of all, this was a really stupid thing to lie about. Anyways, she let me stay in the hostel without a problem. Thank God!
The final ID challenge was the bus ride back to Sao Paulo. Obviously, they would ask for my ID again because we were crossing state lines. Celise was leaving 2 days before me. I devised a plan. I followed her to the bus station when she was leaving, and watched her board the bus. A couple minutes later, she came out telling the bus driver she forgot to give something to her friend. She came out and gave me her own ID! Two days later, I put on a pair of sunglasses as I boarded my bus and tried to pass as Celise. Mission accomplished, he didn’t look twice! In the end, it is a funny story – but in reality it was a really silly move.