by Niall Doherty

Daily vignettes from Belo Horizonte, Brazil…


I’m glad Mitch is here with me now. Never met in person before yesterday, but we’ve been friends online for a couple of years. I’ve been missing friendship and community, being surrounded by people who are on my same wavelength, people who think deep and crave growth and push me to improve and call me on my bullshit. This is my home.


Random samba party, neighborhood unknown, three hours later than expected but that seems to be the norm here. A motley crew of a hundred-plus, standing and dancing and getting into it, everyone free. Every five minutes you’re offered a snack or a refill, community strong. Only thing lacking are Beyoncé’s ladies, but the night is young.


This blog has kinda sucked the past few months, I know. People have emailed and asked that I get back to writing more often. And I’d love to. I’d like nothing more than to devote all my time to doing cool/interesting shit and writing about it. I have a big long list of things I’d like to try. But maybe next year. 2014 is all about getting my finances pointed in the right direction.


I’m getting back into the dating game here in Brazil. It’s a great place for it: beautiful women, welcoming culture, very approachable. I always find the internal resistance fascinating though. I know exactly what I need to do to meet amazing women and have great experiences, but going out and doing it is another thing. Using penalties and peer pressure to force myself.


Easier today, momentum building. I sit down alongside a cute blonde on a bench near the praça. She doesn’t speak English, so Portuguese it is, having fun with it. I tell her she looks good, make her smile, ask if she has a boyfriend. She says she does, but then motions for me to follow her down the street, something about an amiga I should meet. Alright then.

Samba party in Belo Horizonte

Samba party in Belo Horizonte


Timer set for six, eyes closed… Focus on the breath, feel the air flow through my nostrils… Hmm… nostrils… must check for nose hair later. The older I get, the faster it grows… Shit, back to my breath. Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out… I might actually write about this later, me here by the lake, trying not to think… Shit, there it goes again…


Ever feel so tired that it’s impossible to overthink things, and this works to your advantage? The plan was a single hour at the feira, but my first approach turned fast from wary to an enthusiastic number. After that I was floating on automatic, opening and flirting in broken Portuguese with the air of a peaceful shrug about me. Three hours gone by like a dream.


We moved into an apartment today in Belo Horizonte. With a month’s rent paid, I’m back under $200 in my checking account. 6pm and exhausted but I have about three hours work ahead of me. Not sure how I’m so broke given how busy I’ve been. Three active projects and feeling underpaid on all of them. Biggest thing lacking in my business right now is salesmanship.


We’re beating the approach anxiety out of ourselves, becoming unconscious, heartbeats slowing. I leave the table without thinking and tap some tight pants on the shoulder. “What’s going on down there?” She doesn’t speak much English, but I soon understand that it’s a forró class happening mid-street, and she’s lacking a partner. Alright then.


Self-loathing on the walk home. The goal was twenty-one for the week, and I’m quitting at nineteen, penalty accepted. I could go hit on the high heels and short skirts teetering out of the bar ahead of me, but I feel there should be consequences for all the better opportunities (read: sober stunners in sensible shoes) I passed up during the week. So a 36-hour fast it is. Fuck you, Niall.

The home office at Casa Gringo (aka. our new apartment) in Belo Horizonte. That's Turner Barr there with me.

The home office at Casa Gringo (aka. our new apartment) in Belo Horizonte. That’s Turner Barr there with me.


We’ve got a nice routine going with the exercise, started last week. Monday to Friday, up at seven and jog to the park. Stretch and core workouts there, then jog back home for push-ups to finish. I’d like to add in some sprints as well, but this is good for now. Consistency is the most important thing. Better the decent you stick to than the perfect you quit.


Had my first language exchange on Skype today. Ignored the hunger and did fifteen minutes in Portuguese with a lady from Sao Paulo. She’s studying biomedical engineering and just read The Personal MBA. Her English is much better than my Portuguese. I found out all the interesting stuff about her on the second half of the call.


We go to extremes, then back again. But it’s not the same. I used to eat meat, then went vegan, now back to eating meat. But it’s not the same. I used to live in one place, then thirty countries in three years, now once more dreaming of a home base. But it’s not the same. I used to want just one special girl, then I wanted them all, now… it’s not the same.


The resistance is there with the software business, too. I’m switching industries now, got a list of clinics to call in New Orleans for starters. Just call five. That’s all I have to do today. Doesn’t matter if they hang up on me or never answer the phone. I just have to do my part. I just have to dial the numbers and read the script. Anything beyond that is a bonus.


From The Cargo Ship Diaries: It’s always been about the fear. Rejection. Judgement. Uncertainty. Failure. Success. Letting go. The fear of all those things, and the refusal to succumb. That’s always been the thrill… that instant when I feel all the fear and insecurity welling up inside of me, and I’m faced with a microcosmic choice: grow or wilt, live or die.


I just met this girl outside a bar, approached and told her she looked nice. A minute in and I’m cracking jokes, having fun. But she’s not feeling it. “Can we have a serious conversation?” she says, stone-faced. I hear tires screech in my skull and decide to save us both a lot of time: “Yeah, I don’t think we’d make a very good couple.”

Os tres gringos: Mitch, myself, and Turner.

Os tres gringos: Mitch, myself, and Turner.

In the comments below, let me know which of the above Momentos is your favorite. Which can you relate to?

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