Why did I choose Brazil?
It was love that first brought me to Brazil. I met my wife, Ivana, several years ago through a friend of mine from my hometown in England who´d been in Brazil photographing the football. He´d needed a Brazilian assistant and fixer to help him during his visit and Ivana had been helping him out.
It was through him that I met her, originally through social media. We started talking every day on Skype and she eventually invited me to visit. As I´d just been made redundant from work it felt like the time was right for some adventure and my journey began.
What have I learnt about Brazilians?
Brazilians are warm, compassionate and generous people. Open displays of affection in public are commonplace. Never once have I encountered people being rude or disrespectful to me as a foreigner. In fact, they seem to be genuinely interested in people from other countries, which in my opinion, makes them one of the most welcoming cultures in the world.
They are always respectful to visitors but at the same time quite playful. They manage to find fun in everything and always make you feel relaxed and welcome.
They are both charming and easy to charm. Touching, kissing and hugging are all the norm here. They will always look you in the eye and acknowledge you, even as a stranger.
It´s all love.
What have Brazilians taught me?
That affection is addictive and never so much so than when it comes from the heart. Warmth and affection are qualities that Brazilians display outwardly and it´s this that I´m learning to nurture in myself while slowly expelling my British reserve.
Not only have Brazilians taught me not to hold feelings back but also how to put problems aside in place of the moment which is something I was previously unable to do.
For a naturally-reserved Englishman that´s been conditioned to maintain control of emotions at all costs, being in Brazil is like therapy.
What I´ve learned above all though, is that love needn´t be exclusive to a few close friends and family; it can exist between strangers too.