Moving to Brazil?

My evening reading material has shifted from my beautifully bare passport to the thickness of my Lonely Planet Brazil travel guide. So far, I’ve only finished the Rio de Janeiro City section – which barely made a dent in this behemoth of a book – and only teased myself with the first few pages of The Amazon.
First impressions: I have yet to visit Brazil, but I already don’t want to leave.

Thanks to LP, I went to bed last night seriously considering the pros and cons of a permanent relocation.

Pros: Beaches, mountains, seemingly non-stop parties all over the country (especially around Carnaval), a rainforest so vast and mysterious it just blows my mind thinking about, and new things to do and discover every day in such a small part of the world.

Cons: … let me get back to you on that one.



Passport? Check!

I’ve been out of the country once, but I’ve never had a passport.

IMGP0396Unfortunately, the story of a hurricane-diverted Disney Cruise isn’t as exciting as pushing drugs across international borders, so I’ll spare you the boring details.

But all that doesn’t matter now because, ladies and gentlemen, I am now the very proud owner of a US Passport.


12 weeks to Português: Falling in love with my tutor

If you’ve placed bets against me in my 12-week quest to learn Portuguese, the odds are looking in your favor.

I admit, I am well off track in my language learning journey. Between my work schedule, personal life and planning for Brazil — not to mention my bingeing on Gilmore Girls — I’ve let my Portuguese practices fall between the cracks.

So in an effort remedy my laziness and tendencies to get distracted, and to put my knowledge to the test, I enrolled in a live tutoring session with a native speaker earlier this afternoon. I thought about canceling at the last minute (again, blame it on my laziness), but I decided I might as well get the most out of my money and if something were to go terribly wrong, I’m sure you guys would want to hear all about it.

Spoiler alert: nothing bad happened. I didn’t throw up, forget everything I learned, or sound too American (at least, I don’t think I did).

Q&A: Clayton in Kenya

I’ve decided to try something different this week that I hope you all will enjoy.

A Block Abroad is a travel, adventure and cultural experience blog. Through this blog, I hope to encourage others — and myself — to seek out and experience life outside of your comfort zone. Even though a majority of the blog will contain my journeys and thoughts about traveling, I think another way to encourage an adventurous lifestyle is to hear stories and experiences from others every once in awhile.

My brother Clayton Block recently traveled to East Africa on a mission trip. And being the kind of person who wants to know every little detail about someone else’s experiences, I asked him to be the guinea pig for this segment of my blog.

So here we go. A Q&A with my brother on his time in Africa.


The dreaded travel “b-word”: Budgeting


There are planners, savers and money-conscious travelers and then there’s me.

I am a newspaper reporter; a member of a dying breed. With that in mind, I am by no means wealthy and able to afford a luxurious vacation abroad. However, because I’m also bullheaded and will do anything to get what I really want, I’m planning my first trip abroad to Brazil, the most expensive country in South America.

I’m going to need a travel budget.

Top 10 things I MUST do in Brazil


Planning for my Brazilian vacation next year has been rather slow. Partly because I’ve been busy with work and trying to keep up with blogging, and also because I am the world’s biggest procrastinator.

The thing is, I just don’t even know where to start.

Brazil is such a large country and there’s so much that I want to do and see while I’m there. However, I know that realistically I’ll need more than a week or two to cover a fraction of the area. Plus, there are so many things I have to get done before I even settle on an itinerary (such as, submitting my passport application, maybe?).

So in an effort to get things in motion and to point myself in some direction, I’ve decided to post the top 10 things I want to do while in Brazil.


12 weeks to Português: Week Um

In preparation for my Brazilian Spring Break, I’ve decided to make an effort and learn Brazilian Portuguese.

I’ve been told that English isn’t spoken widely throughout the developing country, even in the more populated areas like Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Whether or not that’s true, and while I can probably survive a week with English alone, I actually enjoy languages and think understanding Portuguese (even a little bit) would enhance my experience and time there. Besides, why should I travel to another country and expect them to speak my language?

My teacher for the next 12 weeks or so is Ms. Rosetta Stone (I’m assuming the feminine because Rosetta sounds like an old Latin American woman’s name). I don’t plan on documenting every week but I do want to give periodic updates to keep myself accountable and you all entertained.

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Let’s see how well this goes…