This may be only the second time I've completed a major New Year's Resolution, since "stop biting my nails" is a lost cause. For 2013, I promised myself I would leave the country before the end of the year. To finish out my summer of really awesome post-college trips, I went to Brazil to spend two weeks with my best friend Jose, who had been volunteering in Rio for three months.
We stayed in a favela, basically a shanty town or slum, built onto the side of a mountain (this had my parents just a bit worried). Our home base was Vidigal, but we also spent a ton of time in Rocinha, the biggest favela in the city (the more crowded street views below), where Jose had been working. I absolutely loved the neighborhood and our hostel owners, Fernanda and Bruno, who made us feel like part of their family. However, every time we had to hike up the hill from the bus stop to the hostel, I was totally convinced I wouldn't make it. I hated the walk enough that I conquered a major fear and learned to truly appreciate the R$2.50 rides from motorcycle taxis that sped around turns and darted around cars with little regard for me hanging on to the back. Seriously, out of all our crazy ideas, being persuaded to hop on one of those was the scariest thing I did. Not including all the times I was nearly ran over by them.
And oh, the street art. Everywhere we went had the most incredible murals and tags written in places that shouldn't be accessible without professional equipment. The ones posted here are just a few from around Vidigal and Rocinha, but there's so much more to come.
All images available as prints.