Everywhere we went it was the same story. The young girl working the desk at the palm-tree draped inn, the weather beaten ex-hippie selling coconuts out of a beachside cooler, the chiseled surfer napping under the afternoon sun, they all found paradise, in Barra Grande, a remote island off the northern coast of Brazil.
Tina, the woman responsible for setting up our elaborate breakfasts, came to the island for vacation from Sao Paulo and never left. Jackie and I slowly savored each morning. She explained the island was “the most beautiful place in the world; How could I go back?”
It was easy to understand Tina’s sudden change of residence. We had been on Barra Grande for a little over a week and already the specter of a return to grid-locked commutes were weighing on us. It wasn’t that Barra Grande was untouched by the modern world; it was that the residents seemed so unimpressed by the world’s mechanized offerings. There were very few clocks in sight, what did it matter what time it was? We woke when the sun began creeping over the tropical Atlantic waters and when it became too dark to travel we settled into a hammock and let ourselves be lulled to sleep by the sound of waves.
Jackie and I had come here to get away from the smog and façade of Los Angeles. With no clear destination in mind we had flown into Recife and then set out from there. Relying only on the recommendations of people we had met to determine our next step. Countless bus rides and one nauseating ferry crossing later we had ended up on Morro de Sao Paulo, a small island brimming with tourist friendly fare. There we heard whispers from a constantly laughing Argentinean that there was another island close by that was even more beautiful. If we were willing to make the trek he promised it would be worth it. We discussed our options over a dinner of tiramisu and coffee and set off the next morning. The magnetism of travel had drawn us closer with every unplanned step, why stop now?