Social Encore: From Hawaii to Brazil

Jul. 31, 2014 | 0 Comments

BY JERMEL-LYNN QUILLOPO / Special to the Star-Advertiser

I’ve had a wanderlust type of lifestyle ever since I finished graduate school. Traveling gives me insight to parts of the world that must be seen in the flesh.

In August, I’m traveling to Brazil — a country that has been on my bucket list for a really long time.

COURTESY MARIANE UEHARAHawaii resident Mariane Uehara in Brazil earlier this year.

COURTESY MARIANE UEHARA

Hawaii resident Mariane Uehara in Brazil earlier this year.

My weird fixation on the country and its culture started after I watched a movie based on a true story called “City of God” that shows the non-glamorous parts of Brazil life, but at the same time shows the compassionate side of the people who reside there and the beautiful landscapes.

Brazil is such a huge country; various parts of it intrigue me for different reasons. I don’t think I’m an expert when it comes to traveling (even though I travel often), I just think of myself as someone open to learning new things with the ability to adapt to new environments.

Visiting other countries can be a challenge at times, especially when I don’t speak the language and there are many constraints you just can’t plan for. Still, I can share with you some of the things I do when preparing for an international trip.

When it comes to packing, to be honest, I really don’t like it. There is always a fear of forgetting something and most of the time I’m busy trying to tie up work obligations right before my departure.

The one thing that has worked for me when packing for a trip is making a list. Since I fear losing my luggage, I don’t check any bags and simply pack everything in a 44-liter back pack.

Here is a glimpse of what my list usually includes:

» Electronics: Computer (sometimes), chargers (computer, camera and for Mophie juice pack), camera

» Toiletries: Feminine products, deodorant, travel towel, Q-tips, chapstick

» Travel Documents: I make a copy of my passport and drivers license and leave it in my luggage. If the country that I’m visiting required me to have a traveling visa beforehand, I make a copy of that too.

The above items are some common items that are in my backpack. However, some things are my best friends while traveling:

» Wet Wipes: Sometimes not all place that I travel too are clean.

» My Phone: My iphone is just so multi-faceted and is a necessary travel buddy. You can store music, take pictures, read books and even help with language barriers by having language apps installed. I seriously don’t know how I would be able to travel without my phone.

» Motion Sickness Bands: When I travel internationally, I’m always moving around. Whether by boat, bus, plane, or even motorcycle, sometimes the drivers are risk-takers. My body sometimes can’t adjust to the crazy motions and motion sickness bands does wonders.

When it comes to packing clothes, it can be a little tricky since I will be traveling all over Brazil and the weather varies. The trick is to look at the weather before traveling, and another thing I like doing is packing items that can be used in various types of weather.

COURTESY MARIANE UEHARAThe author with Tyler Dos Santos-Tam, left, and Mariane Uehara.

COURTESY MARIANE UEHARA

The author with Tyler Dos Santos-Tam, left, and Mariane Uehara.

I’ll pack casual dresses, for example, because that saves me the hassle of having to pack tops and bottoms. And if it ever gets cold, I can always wear my leggings — a must travel item that does not take up that much space in a backpack and is very versatile.

When it comes to going to a different country, I try my best to educate myself about the country beforehand. It works best when you talk with friends who have been there before. I spoke with Hawaii resident Tyler Dos Santos-Tam, who decided to do an independent project concentrating on Japanese immigration to Brazil, specifically in the coffee farms, while a student at Yale.

Mariane Uehara, on the other hand, is a Brazil native from Sao Paulo. She came to Hawaii as a teen and fell in love with our island culture. After a project in Miami, she started to train for triathlons and it eventually lead her to compete in the Iron Man on the Big Island. She met her husband during that time and never left.

Dos Santos-Tam was then introduced to Uehara’s brother in Sao Paulo; coincidentally, her brother was preparing to come to Hawaii and study at the East-West Center.

Stay tuned to my upcoming blogs as I immerse myself even more in Brazilian culture by taking a stab at jiu-jitsu and eat all the yummy food I can expect while overseas. You can also follow me on Instagram to see more pictures from my Brazilian adventure.
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Jermel-Lynn Quillopo is a multi-faceted, energetic individual with experience in both print and broadcast journalism. “Social Encore” aims to tell diverse stories about Hawaii’s food, events and people; share your tips with Jermel via email or follow her on Twitter.

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