Words by Coalatree Ambassador and professional MTB'er Rafaelo Infante

At the age of 3 I was immersed into a culture that I would later learn were the building blocks of who I am and the way I live today. I was introduced to a way of life; it was my first taste of Brazil. I witnessed a way of living that embraced laughter, affection, unity, and love. It was a way of life that is found in a specific culture where everyone is filled with this positive loving energy. Everyone shares this one thing: that we are Brazilian.

The characteristics of a Brazilian and their way of life to the average person would seem like the qualities of a “good person,” and that, is the exactly the point. Brazilian’s pride themselves in being open to different ethnicities, beliefs and sex’s all the while enjoying the little things in life. It’s their way of thinking that makes it so easy for the people of Brazil to embody such a lifestyle. Collectively they have decided to “live their best lives” and do so through laughter, love, and culture.

I witnessed this mentality of living when I was very young and unfortunately had to distance myself from because of the opportunities my family had in other countries. Despite traveling and experiencing different cultures, I had one piece of Brazil to take with me, my mother. A woman who could connect with people, always make someone feel welcome, and consistently strive for better opportunities. Her fiery charismatic attitude has opened her to new opportunities that ultimately led her to open two companies; one in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia and another in Basalt, Colorado. She took a risk, and ultimately succeed.

 

She was my sensei, she taught me the fundamentals to living a good life and to do so through the mentality of Brazilian culture. She was the little piece of Brazil that kept me “rooted.” No matter the country or the distance, I was constantly reminded of a lifestyle that I wanted to live through my mother: her cooking, her love for dancing, her genuine character, the list could go on but all little things that continuously remind me of Brazil.

 

“The sky is the limit” and “adventuring and culture is knowledge in the world we live in” are some of the things she constantly said throughout my teens. With a woman figure so devoted to her children and making them successful, my sister and I couldn’t help but look for the next best opportunity. As we grow up and find our passions, our dislikes, our loves and experienced new people we constantly come back to those roots that we experienced through my mother………… Until, we no longer needed to. December of 2019 was the year that we once again took flight and found ourselves in the land of love, affection, unity. We finally found ourselves back in Brazil.

Follow along next week as Rafaelo journeys to Brazil in Part 2 of “Home Away From Home.”