A Brazilian Girl's Guide to Adventure

Hi readers,

Once, when I was talking to my friend Fernanda about the book Eat. Pray. Love, she recommended a travel book that was more "her style" ... it was called Getting Stoned With Savages. I smile every time I see that book on my shelf. While I worry about love, Fernanda seeks the realest experiences possible. At 24, she has enough of them to fill a book of her own.

Today, she is going to share with us her thoughts on Adventure. The way she lives is a reminder to me that a big life is waiting out there for all of us - we just have to be brave enough to seek it.

"To have an adventure means doing something, anything, that makes your heart contract faster, tighter, harder, and longer. When that thump thump thump is all you hear – you’re on an adventure.

The biggest adventure I've ever had is getting a traditional Buddhist tattoo in Thailand and it took me a 20 minute cab ride in Bangkok to decide to do it.

Let me begin by using the most cliché statement I can possibly come up with - The pain I felt is hard to put into words. A monk was chiseling into my ribcage. Men I had only met a couple hours ago were surrounding me, holding every part of my body to keep my skin taught. They bent their heads to my ear every few seconds, whispering words of encouragement.

While I was half way through the tattoo I blurted in a gasp, “This is the most pain I have ever felt.” The man I was basically lying on then said (and this is word for word because my friends filmed the entire thing) “I believe you. This hurts so much more than a regular tattoo because this is a lot slower process of the needle going into the skin which means there is time for the blood to rush up and gives more time for the pain receptors to react.” Not exactly what I wanted to hear, right? But, in a strange way it gave me comfort.

It only took 14 minutes 52 seconds from the first time the needle entered my ribs to the last time it came out of my ribs. 14 minutes 52 seconds is not a lot of time. Most of my other tattoos have taken over two hours. But it was the t ... i ... m ... e it took for this one, the slowness of it all, that allowed me to have an out of body experience.

In the last few minutes the monk started saying “no pain, no pain,” and the pain just melted off my body. I stopped sweating, my toes were no longer curled in a state of terror. I was melting into this cozy, warm, safe place; my body went through the threshold. I had heard about this, but never experienced it. Going through that made those 14 minutes and 52 seconds the most intense, joyous moments of my life. I went through the threshold of pain, and I kept going with a big smile on my face.

That’s why this tattoo was my biggest adventure. Nothing I have done to date has ever been that visceral.
If you're scared to do something big, use that energy and get on top of it - ride it all the way to what ever is waiting for you. When you get there, hop off, shake yourself loose and smile big. You fucking did it ... now what's next?"

[ Fernanda Camargo is a native of Sao Paulo, Brasil and has lived in Switzerland, Miami, North Carolina and San Diego. She is currently an EMT in the East Bay of California. All she needs to call a place home is something to sleep on, snacks available for whenever she gets hungry (which is every 90 minutes) and the compass her mom gave her on her 18th birthday. For Fernanda's next adventure, she wants to join a sail crew and bounce around the South Pacific for a few months. ]

p.s. This goes without saying - but, please don't get any d.i.y ideas involving a sharpened knitting needle and some India Ink. While home-made tattoos will get your heart racing, it could also give you a blood born illness. 

 p.p.s. This is the second feature in the Girl's Guide serires. The first was 'A Navy Girl's Guide to Goal Setting'.


  1. SAM. I LOVE the Girl's Guide series. Love. I think you should compile enough to make a book out of it. A wonderful book of short stories to inspire girls everywhere. I am serious about this.

  2. http://solightyourspark.blogspot.com/

  3. Threshold, there's no way to explain what that means until you find it for yourself. It's a hidden place locked inside and more often than not stays there for a lifetime. To strive for it is pure lunacy, laughing in the face of danger, a devastating moment waiting to happen. And yet without it we can miss the the excitement of a great idea, triumph over danger, and life altering moments. Great writing Fernanda and thank you Sam for a great read.


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