The Rio Whisper
Two years ago you sprung from a photo
And remained imprinted on my heart
But the noise of life covered
And concealed your naked beauty
Month by month you’d whisper in my ear
But each night I'd rock you back to sleep
I guess you grew tired of my excuses
Of putting loved ones first and myself last
So you decided to remind me
Thank you, for melting my heart
And washing my eyes clean again
That photo from two years ago flew back into view
Never have I seen a heart route this unique
A bike path hugging every turn, every curve
A heart-shaped lake,
In a city that beats to the rhythm of my soul
A heart-shaped route to remind us to follow our hearts
and listen to our inner voice
“If you're searching for that one person that will change your life,
take a look in the mirror”.
Follow Your Heart
When was the last time you put yourself first? So often in life we spend so much time and energy bringing a smile to everyone else's face, that we forget the most important person of all, ourselves. That cliche we have heard our whole lives, is probably the single most important thing we can learn in life, love yourself first! Buy yourself flowers, take that trip to the mountains that you continue to put off, that outfit? Buy it? Meal for one? Enjoy it! That crazy adventure? Book it!
Cycle your heart out...and follow your heart!
A country I've dreamed of going to for years, but always put off, that 'perfect' time never seemed to arrive. In the back of my mind the movie 'Up' would replay, I don't want that to be me, one day on my deathbed wishing things could have been different. October 2017 I lay in bed contemplating who to message for advice… instead my fingers led me to something else...PAY NOW I clicked. Rubbing the morning sleep from my eyes, I'd finally done it! One ticket to my dream destination coming soon! Sharing a sunrise breakfast on the beach a couple days before with my beautiful friend Vanessa had filled me with so much gratitude. Some friends have this amazing ability to help push you in the direction of your dreams...magic is something you make, and I'm so glad to have her in my life. Cherish these friends with all your heart.
I stayed at the hostel Lemon Spirit in Leblon, a short walk away from the famous Ipanema beach. It was really easy to meet people and make friends. On my first day I met a really nice girl from Melbourne called Amy, who ended up joining me on my heart route! The hostel also provided a free breakfast, delicious papaya every morning put a smile on my face, especially as it was combined with monkeys swinging from the trees in front of me!
There was no shortage of places to rent a bicycle in Rio, especially around the heart shaped lagoon. I also decided to try the local bike hire scheme called Bike rio as I wanted the freedom to be able to cycle the whole time I was there. All I needed to do was download the app and use a Brazilian SIM card to register, it was also much cheaper than renting a bike every day.
The unique heart shaped lagoon, Rodrigo de Freitas! Following the 7.7km bicycle path, there no need to whip out my map, no need to worry about traffic, and impossible to get lost. Instead I was able to cycle my heart out mindfully, allowing nothing but my heart to guide me.
Cycle Your Heart Out
Along the route, I was greeted by a wave, swaying in the wind were pink petals I knew I'd seen somewhere before. Impossible to smell without closing my eyes, transporting me back to 2010, the first time me and the frangipani flower first met. Now whenever we do, I'm reminded of sunset bike rides along the crocodile beaches of Darwin, Australia, and the rice paddies of Ubud, Bali. Maybe it was the scent that helped draw me here...
That evening I watched in awe as waves crashed against the Ipanema shore, and I reflected on my day. As I sipped my coconut, I gazed up at the same mountains I had once only dreamed about. Here they were, resting so effortlessly before me, while the Brazil flag danced in the wind. I pulled out my sketchbook, to imprint that moment on my heart.
“The meaning of life is to find your gifts, the purpose of life is to give it away”
Spread the love
Grateful to Elodie, the French beauty who got me painting again, I'll never forget the moment I spotted her in our hostel in Melbourne back in 2010. Hypnotized by the way she sketched, it was thanks to her I believed I could paint again, who made me believe I was good enough, and hadn't forgotten how. It was her who took me shopping to buy my 1st ever travel paint kit, and who introduced me to the magical water pen in Hobart Tasmania. From Australia to the stunning rocks of Rio's Ipanema beach, here we sit, catching up on 8 years of stories as the sun sets with a paintbrush in our hands.
Awaken love, a global meditation organisation that I discovered first in Barcelona. Instead of a typical Saturday night out in Lapa, I decided to go to this meditation event and get to know more locals. I was lucky to meet these 4 lovely Brazilian ladies and enjoyed sharing my heart shaped story with them, thanks Raphaella, Debora, Izabella, and Fernanda for a lovely evening and night!
My tour guide Lucas from Intrepid Travel. After cycling my heart out I decided to explore the rest of Rio! It was beautiful to discover that locals call the lagoon ‘The heart of Rio’! Click here to read my full review on Trip Advisor.
All the people from Lemon Spirit hostel who helped me climb to the top of the Dois Irmãos hill, and made my dream come true! Zipping up through the Vidigal Favela on the back of a locals moped, a 1 hour hike through the bushes and sweltering heat! Gazing down, the whole of Rio de Janeiro lay below me. My heart skipped a beat when I saw the heart shaped lagoon!
Finally thank you Rio, for making me ride around your every curve. For making me follow my heart and not drown my dreams. For making my heart beat again and believe in love. This route really took the phrase 'follow my heart', to a whole new level!
Hi I'm Sarah the Heartful cyclist, author and poet