‘Carioca’ is the term that the locals of Rio de Janeiro use to define themselves. But being a Carioca is so much more than the location of your home, it’s a way of life. As a Carioca, the number one priority is not work or money or success, it’s living. And boy do they know how to live! They are all about enjoying each day, minimising stress and taking time to stop and smell the roses… or maybe the coconuts in this case? Perhaps that’s why the life expectancy for Rio de Janeiro is 10% higher than the national average for Brazil.
So what are some of the things that make up this awesome lifestyle?
Punctuality is somewhat of a myth in Rio, with most locals taking a very relaxed attitude towards given timings for.. well… anything. If you make plans for 12pm, don’t expect anybody to show up until at least 12:30 at the earliest. This suits me quite nicely as someone whose friends deliberately tell me the wrong time as they know I will always show up late!
Let’s Go to the Beach
I’ve already waxed lyrical about the beaches of Rio, but they are such a huge part of the city’s culture that it would be impossible not to mention. For Cariocas, the beach is a where people meet and spend a lot of their time with the people they care about, and it’s not hard to see why. Maybe the beaches are part of the reason they have such a laid back lifestyle. There is a tradition that after work people will gather on the beach, with colleagues, neighbours, friends, family, lovers, whatever, they all gather on the beach each day to watch the sun set over the ocean. When was the last time you made time for something like that in your day to day life? When was the last time you did something just for the sheer enjoyment of it?
Don’t Judge and Do Yo’ Thang!
The people of Rio are the most accepting bunch I have ever come across, and because of this they all seem very comfortable in their own skin.
First of all, it is a city of individuality. Standing out is not only accepted, but encouraged. For anything from your clothes to your sexuality, being different is celebrated in Rio. They are way ahead of a lot of the world in this way, especially when it comes to gender and sexuality and embracing all people as they are.
Secondly, the lack of judgement comes in to play in every day life too, the social pressure to conform or not to stand out or make an idiot of yourself is kind of missing. At no point did I feel like anything I did would be judged or frowned upon or laughed at, everyone was just getting on with their own thing, totally not bothered. Something which might get a snide smirk in Britain is completely irrelevant in Rio, so just do yo thang!
Eat to Socialize
We’ve all been guilty of grabbing a quick bite while we’re on the run between meetings or scoffing whatever we can find in the fridge when we get in from work late at night. But Cariocas don’t see eating as a just form of sustenance, it’s a social thing, it brings people together. Whether it’s family or friends, meal times are all about the people. And it’s worth mentioning that the food in Rio is pretty outstanding too.
In the UK, particularly London, we have a reputation for being pretty cold and unfriendly to strangers – especially tourists. Carioca’s are some of the warmest and friendliest people and were willing to go to all lengths to help a sister out, even when I didn’t ask for it. They wanted to help and they wanted to assist in creating a positive experience while I explored their incredible city. We Brits could certainly learn a thing or two here!
Get a Life
We get so stuck in the bubble of the daily grind that we forget to look up and notice our lives happening. Many of us live to work, we work our asses off all week and then when the weekend comes we collapse on the couch and are too tired to do anything but have a netflix marathon and eat takeaway (not that I am opposed to the occasional weekend like this). But a Carioca knows better than to fall into that trap. Living your life is the most important characteristic of a Carioca. Sure, they will work hard, but work is never the be all and end all, they work hard so that they can play hard. It’s all about the free time and what they do with it.
Commit to Change
So after my trip to Rio, I’m certainly going to commit to living more like a Carioca and incorporating some of these principles into my life. And to get my own hammock… Life is too short not to!
What changes do you want to make?