Travelling abroad during Covid.

I’m finally back and ready to take the wheel with the blog again. It was a great break, but now it’s time to put in perspective all the new projects I had blocked in my mind because of missing my family.

The last time I went home was December of 2018, and I left with a promise of coming back soon. Or at least having my parents visit me, in case I was not able to take time out to go see them. When Covid started in 2020, we were still hopeful they could come to see us, at some point, until the borders were close, with no intent to open anytime soon.

Mama, I’m coming home.

My mom also had the PCR test done before my arrival.

Not being able to go home last year and hug my parents was a struggle. I was hoping we could switch presidents here in America, so I could travel with peace of mind I would be able to come back to the country without any issue. Brazil is in such a chaotic situation, that if we kept Trump, I might have to stay there, as I’m a resident, and not a citizen of the United States yet.

I promise myself, as soon as the elections were over and he would finally be out of the office, I would buy my tickets to go home. I waited a few days after he left the White House, because of crazy conspiracy theorists, so I could purchase my tickets and that’s exactly what I did. On January 28, I finally purchased my tickets to go home.

All the preparation and anxiety, days without sleeping, waking up in the middle of the night, led me to a state of alert as my eyes were on the news, in case something else changed for the trip.

The PCR Test.

Brasil only lets citizens and Americans in if they have a negative covid test in their hands. My husband and I set up a drive-thru appointment at Walgreens, to do the PCR test before our trip, it costs us about 120 dollars each.

The drive-thru of Walgreens works like the Mcdonalds, but instead of getting food, they give you a swab so you can stick it on your nose. The results come out a little over 24 hours, as the lab works non-stop. I was very nervous because the trip was on Monday, and they told us the results could take up to five business days. We called and the lab told us to be calm, the results would come up fast.

The airport.

Denver doesn’t have direct flights to Brazil, so we bought the domestic leg separated, from United airlines. It’s funny because they are all careful to separate the boarding by rows and yet, you are on a packed plane and being asked if you would like to fly on a different flight.

The flight was crammed with people. The crew served us some snacks on a bag and soft drinks. Besides eating, we were supposed to keep the mask on all the time.

We got in Fort-Lauderlade from Denver to our international flight, to check in our bags and prepare to fly out. At the check-in line, there was an airline worker, making sure we all had a negative covid test in our hands. When we got to the counter, the lady asked for it again and stamped our tickets confirming we were negative.

I asked her if I could put the paper away or if I would have to show it again. She said they would not ask for it in Brasil and explain that it was the airline’s responsibility to check its passengers to make sure everyone was negative before flying. I kept the paper close to my hands anyway.

The flight.

I found out if you seat by the window, the plane will shake less. Booked all the flights with window seats.

As everyone on the plane tested negative, it gave us a little bit more peace of mind for the many hours trapped breathing the same air as other people. The airline crew reinforced that even though everyone was negative, we should keep our masks on, only removing to eat and drink. I’m not gonna lie, it was terrible trying to sleep with the mask on.

Planes are already uncomfortable, I’m an extremely nervous flyer. I’m always on alert even when the entire plane is asleep. I either take some Dramamine or wine. I need something to pass me out and on this trip, my drug of choice was Dramamine. After eating and the cabin lights were turned off, I took my scarf, covered my face, and held the mask in my hand.

The arrival.

When we arrived in the country, it took us a good hour to get out of the plane, as now they are only letting people out, row by row. Let me tell you that people are slow as they can be when it comes to getting out of a plane.

I had my PCR test in my hand, but no one asked me to show it. The Homeland security officer advised my husband that if something happened, like borders closing, he could easily renew his visa stamp for another 3 months. I wish we could stay that long!

The airport in Sao Paulo constantly reminds us over the speakers of the importance of wearing a mask, cleaning our hands, and keeping a distance from others. That’s not what I saw.

Brazil is a huge country and it’s nearly impossible to control the people, as they have a hard time following the rules. Some of them, because they can’t, and some of them because they are stubborn.

People need to work and they don’t have any government subside money to live off. I’ve seen buses crowded with people, with no AC, in 90F degree weather, and that’s Corona paradise. When we left the country was going on lockdown again.

Josh loves Brazil and always has a great time visiting. He loves the food, the people, and how cheap it is for us when we arrive in the country with some dollars. We eat what we want, drink and enjoy the warm weather. My mom is constantly asking why the man is blistering in the heat of the room when he could just be outside with a fan. Whats its torture for us locals, its a blessing to my Indiana guy.

The way back.

Once again, we had to take a PCR test for the trip back. I think it’s fair, as you don’t want to contaminate the airline crew and other passengers, it gives everyone peace of mind. It costs us half of what it costs us in America, expensive for Brazilians, but 1 dollar is worth about 5.70 reais. Let me explain this better. It works like this: If something would cost me 57.00 Reais, I would be paying 10 dollars, plus a small amount of transaction fee.

We had to set up the drive-thru appointment, at the lab stand outside the mall, and wait in line. When it was our turn, the lady was all prepared to perform the test on us, which scared Josh. On this trip to Brazil and another reason why we traveled since the American health system is inexistent.

We went to the doctor and found out Josh has an autoimmune disease, called Nasal polyposis, which is a small benign tumor inside his nose, that can be controlled with antibiotics and medication.

The polyposis obstructs his nose, impeding the PCR Swab to go all the way up. The lady stuck up the swab to my brain, with him, she attempted, but he hurt so bad, she had to stop halfway before he slapped the swab away from her hands. Get the vaccine when it’s available to you, so you don’t have to go thru this invasive procedure.

This time we were requested to show the negative PCR at least three times before boarding our final flight. Once at the Airline check-in point, at the check-in to the international flight in Sao Paulo, and lastly, the Homeland security. Nobody asked us for it inside of the United States.

Traveling with the Covid restrictions was hard, but all worth it.

Seeing my family, spend time with loved ones, and getting josh the treatment he needs was all worth it. We didn’t visit places, didn’t go to any parties, all we did was staying with my family because I still need to protect my parents. After all, they are in the risk group.

I didn’t cry saying goodbye, but I cry my eyes out when the plane took off.

It was hard to say good-bye. It getting harder and harder, as when I go there, I see my parents and I’m not around to be with them. I just have to put on my big girl pants and plan the next trip, hopefully, next January, after the holidays. Since we have to go back to pick up Josh’s medication.

All I have to say is if you want to go home, go home. Life is too short to plan too much, wait for the next opportunity, or to the perfect time to do what you want. Take your chance and jump in, life is a short breath of air. Don’t waste it. Don’t forget to Live out Loud Too!

On the next post, I will write about how going back home re-centers my mind and focus.

J.G.Snelly

XX

It’s ok to be a late bloomer in a new career.

Are you a late bloomer in your new career? Have you finally had the chance to pursue your goals a few years after your 30’s? It’s ok. It happened to me too! There is nothing wrong with being in your 30’s 40’s or even older and decided to step up and work on something you always wanted to.

Warning: being true to yourself might cause dizziness, lack of confidence, confusion, doubts of a better future, sometimes inevitable crying, and skeptics from family and friends.

Deciding on your career at 19 it’s not very smart.

I had to decide on my first career at 19 years old. At such a young age and with no realistic expectations, the only thing I knew was, I loved traveling and I wanted to live working in fancy hotels. Maybe traveling and visiting places around the globe. In my second semester, I realized I wanted to write for Lonely Planet magazine. Had to bottle up because of circumstances at that time.

When I graduated in 2008, there were no Youtube Channels that had traveling as the main content. In our Tourism and hospitality field at that time, we were supposed to work at the hotel front desk or in a restaurant as a food and beverage supervisor, we had to climb our way up for years unless you mess around with a manager. Not my kind of climbing.

Years of running around in my 20’s and financial instability.

The reason why it took me so long to pursue what I wanted in the first place was, years of running around in circles, moving countries, and being out of status in the USA for three years. I finally had the chance to change careers in 2017.

Only after I got my document, the time I needed to dedicate myself, and the courage to apply and sink myself in debt. In my 30’s. It was not an easy decision to go back to school and learn a completely different subject. In a second language. While working as a waitress in a bar.

When old dreams knock on your door, open it.

In 2017, as I decided I was going to follow my long life dream to be a writer, having so much to say and my voice needs to be heard because I believe I’m not the only one going through this. I want to write for tv shows and create characters based on what I had to deal with being an immigrant. Of course, that not only valid for me.

I have seen a lot of young kids these days, making a lot of money in different apps, especially dancing around TikTok, teaching make up tutorials and that can be very discouraging. I feel out of place every time someone who is 17 is extremely successful because of an app, and I and others who work so hard barely can get by.

Last week, I received a phone call from the Career Center, from my school, to check if I had any success after graduation. I told him no. I have a blog, but I haven’t had any success, at least not in what I expected to succeed.

A career switch in your 30’s is risky but sometimes necessary.

As I explained to him, changing careers in your 30’s is not an easy task. Especially when you are competing with a super high tech new generation that was born with a phone in their hands. I’m used to working with customer service and run around in a restaurant like there is no tomorrow.

I can multitask, I’m street smart and I’m good with sales but put a photoshop program open in front of me, and I freeze. I know how to crop and resize. Work with brightness and contrast, but that’s it. I tried to remove the background of the image once and it made me want to cry.

It like being born again, but older and broke.

Relearning all the new programs has been the hardest part. It feels like I slept for the past 14 years, while I was hands-on in the restaurant job trying to survive, the technology of the world moved on and I didn’t follow.

Every time I look for a job, either in content writing or marketing, the position requires at least five years of experience, my heart, soul, plus the B2B copy samples to prove I can do it. How do you have five years of experience on something that you just started?

There is nothing wrong with starting over, as many times you need to. People tend to believe, because of the social standards imposed by society, you have to be successful before 30, married with kids and a white fenced house.

I’m sorry, but this American dream from the early ’70s doesn’t exist anymore. It only exists to put pressure on people and make them feel bad for their life path. It works the same way the beauty standards. Sephora would never sell you a 60 dollar foundation if they don’t make you believe you need it.

During the conversation I had with the career center, the person who called me told me he understood what I was going through because he was also in his 30s and majoring in Audio Production. I wonder how many people are frustrated about trying to start something over

The fear of wasting time and failing again.

A career change in your 30s is filled with doubt and an intense lack of confidence. It’s usually surrounded by fear and sometimes a huge push to move forward. Days that you will feel like you will conquer all your dreams, because you have a lot of experience in different life areas and days will you feel paralyzed by fear of failing again.

You will feel like there is no space for error anymore, is either now or never. Why didn’t you find out how to follow your dream sooner? Maybe you didn’t have the finances, maybe you had babies and had to take care of your family, or you spent some good amount of years, trying to be something or someone, an important person for you, though you were or had to be. You were filling someone else’s expectations and not yours. My mom doesn’t understand why I want to do it. Neither does my dad.

Ok, Boomer.

Being born and raised into a boomer generation family, who never followed any dreams, always worked 9 to 5, and expected you to do the same and be successful is very nerve-wracking. I tried to explain to my mom what a screenwriter does, and told her about my YouTube channel plans. She says “go for it” even though she has no idea of what I’m talking about.

There were a few times she threw some shade at me talking about my successful cousins are, who at the age of 30 got some assets like a house and a car under their names. Like happiness and success is measure by what you can purchase.

It will take time to become an expert.

Sometimes it comes to a point in your life you can’t pretend anymore. You have to work on something that fulfills you. It’s ok if you are not an expert right away. It will take me a good amount of years to be as good a screenwriter as I’m waiting tables. I never thought I was gonna be able to manage taking care of all those tables and customers, I was macerated when I first started. How hard can it be to wait tables, right? I will write in a different post. There was no hope for me, but I insisted, as I’m insisting now.

I will not let this go and you shouldn’t either. I made a promise to myself I would make it work. There is no timeline to make things happen, you can take your time. Surrender the pressure other people put on you. You shouldn’t be scared to try. You shouldn’t be scared to follow your heart, and find the happiness you deserve.

Keeping the dream alive

Forget about the idea that you are getting too old to try. One of my favorite authors, Rachel Hollis, wrote in her book” Girl Stop Apologize” and I quote “Dedicate one hour of your day for your projects” and that’s what I try to do since I read it. One hour a day to work on what I want, either illustrating, writing, making music. Keeping the dream alive, until you can work with it fully.

Let me know in the comments how are you keeping your dreams alive and if you had a career change later in life! Or if you still looking!

Follow me on my social media for more of my Mid 30’s life struggles!

Stay healty! Stay Sane!

How to get out of the rut in 5 different ways.

How my brain looks like in 2021
Photo by Ddddddarya on Unsplash

We turn on the tv, we listen to podcasts, and even on my IG feed is people yelling something about the government, the Corona Virus, the vaccine, and being a hundred percent honest, I’m exhausted.Everyone is loud and it seems like the voice in my brain is being muffled by the world’s crisis. It feels like it’s never-ending. This post is about how to get out of the rut and get things done, when the times are hard.

It’s been a few days that I feel like I’m on a rut. I sit down, look at my computer, type a few titles, and leave. It feels like my brain got me into a panicked mode, due to all that is happening with the world lately. Especially living in the United States. 

My blog is my passion project. I’m thankful for having a platform to write about what’s been bothering me, so I can help you to understand that I’m probably going through the same. What helps me to fix the situation, or at least manage it better. I’m no expert, but I believe we all have different experiences worth sharing. 

Almost every morning, I write on my planner what I intent for what my day should be. It usually includes some tasks over the phone and mostly my writing plans for the day. It’s usually one or two hours of writing and then work on some pins, schedule, and so on. But the days where the pages are empty and I need to force myself to sit down and write, this is what I do:

Watch inspiring videos. 

“You can fail at what you don’t love, so might as well do what you love”

Watch interviews or short videos of how people started their careers or how after a long time trying, they finally made it. Or a masterclass on a subject I want to learn more about. It usually helps me to get up and get stuff done. A few months ago, I watched Spike Lee on Indie Movies and now I just started Issa Rae. I need to see people who succeeded in what I want to work on, like Screenwriting. I look for classes where I know people can inspire me in terms of ‘I was different, but I made it through”  

Listen to Music or your favorite Podcast. 

Music somehow is always in the background, when I need inspiration for my stories, or just to get out of my couch, when bad days hit hard. I like to listen to the radio station, most of the time. I guess being a kid from the ’90s, I got used to switching stations and not just skip songs endlessly. 

Having someone interacting with you, about that song they are about to play is also fun. That’s probably why I like Podcasts. 

I wrote a post about Podcasts for Self- Care, where I listed the ones I like the most, like Gretchen Ruben, “Happier”, Jay Shetty “On Purpose” and Rachel Hollis Podcast. 

Here is the post if you like to know more about it 

Talk to your friends. 

Not just online. I know for us, millennials, it’s hard to make phone calls, but it’s worth it if you are checking in with a friend. It’s important to keep in touch with people that keep you grounded and inspired. People that listen to you talk about your crazy plans, and encouraging you, even though they have no idea if you will go through with it. 

I had friends in my teenage years, which we are still friends, who believed in me so much when I said I was going to move to America. They never laughed, they just supported me, the same way they still do, when I tell them I want to create a web series and have my own production company someday. 

Friends don’t laugh at your plans. They push me to keep working. Surround yourself with people that push you forward. People that make plans. Other than just sitting around waiting for life to happen. 

Be positive about your ongoing projects. 

Sometimes it seems hard because nothing is happening, or at least not happening the way you expect it to. When I have a new post on the blog, I monitor to see how many views, comments, how many pins I should keep working on. Even though I have SEO on the blog, sometimes it doesn’t happen. Not overnight. 

I read that a blog takes about two years of consistent work to pick up its pace. It all depends on the subject, the Niche, the sharing platforms, and the marketing. It’s a lot to work on your own. This is the very first time in my life, I didn’t give up on something. I want to make work.  

Creating a schedule or on what to work makes it easier. And don’t get bumped if it didn’t work at first. Keep trying. I heard people say and read in different articles about “How long are you going to be trying so you see this is not gonna work?” What I learned in life is, if it’s truly your passion you don’t give up. You adapt. You make your dreams work for you. 

I have a dream to be a screenwriter, but for now, I will keep writing what I can, to keep my dream alive, while I work for it.  

Read a passage from your favorite book 

Every time I read a book, I underline a few passages I like. The latest one I read was Untamed, by Glennon Doyle. The entire book is a blessing and she is delightful, I finished the book wanting to be friends with her and her family. One of the most iconic lines of the book is: “Now that we don’t have to be good, we can be free.” You don’t need to be good at everything, a good mother, a good wife, a good worker. You can be you, once you break free of whatever is keeping you attached to the wall. 

Another book I keep at my hand’s reach is Big Magic – Creative Living Beyond Fear, from Elizabeth Gilbert. 

This book is a constant reminder that yes, I can live my dream and you can live yours. It doesn’t matter how crazy it sounds. Have I told you about my dream of having a production company (again)? Anyway, my favorite passage of this books says “You don’t need anybody’s permission to live a creative life” 

I didn’t grow up with parents who were creative in any way. Those Boomers only taught me to get in college to get a job and be able to sustain my livelihood. Being an only child was what made me creative. 

From a very early age, I knew I wanted to write, I just didn’t know what or how. In school, I was a very good conversationalist, always telling different stories and talking everyone’s ears out. 

Take your time!

The last thing I want to say is: Take your time. You are not behind, you are not wasting your days if you are not always busy. Watch TV, laugh at those memes and when you feel ready, get up and go work on your dreams. I struggled with that for the longest time, as I keep thinking I’m already in my mid 30’s and didn’t accomplish anything. That’s why I ended up in this rut and had to find ways to cope and try to keep working, instead of feeling sorry for myself. 

Even though there are days when I mope and spend the day feeling sorry for myself. It’s all good.

Hope you had a good beginning of the new year!

Stay strong! Stay Healthy!

J.G.Snelly

Is Influencer The Most Trending Thing Now?

Hi Friends! Hope you had a great Christmas! This week I’m back with something that it was on my mind for a few weeks now.

Do you have what it takes to be an influencer? Or all it is left are endorsements and your self image?

For me, an influencer is someone who spread positivity. Who share stories about failure and encourage people to try their best. To keep trying.

Do you have what it takes to be one of them? I don’t have it. I don’t like my face or everyone else in my business. I enjoy my quiet writing and being at home. I write so people can find some comfort and realize it’s not all fun and games to live in the USA. Not only for immigrants, but for the born and raised American too. If my voice can be used for something good and I will do it!


Do you have the time to be even more on social media than what you already do? There is a fine line between yourself and the world you created to portrait your life. It has to be new and exciting. All the time.
I’ve seen all this frenzy starting. I was part of all those phases, since the beginning of Facebook in 2006, when the status updating was as simple as “Joana— is eating at a nice restaurant today” or posting entire albums on it and adding captions to all 66 pictures.

At that point it was all private, only friends could see what I was up to. The years passed and today we have instant celebrities, on IG, TikTok, Twitter, and all that comes next. Kids who grew up with phones in their hands and now are making tons of money dancing on Social Media.

What is an influencer?

According to a Wired website article an influencer “is anyone who has the power of selling an idea, items or a lifestyle thought their social media accounts”. It started in the early ’90s with the forum website pages on the internet, where people used to get the value of their products and generate interest based on what certain people had to say about them. Today an influencer can be anyone who has enough talent to manage a website with content to create affiliated sales, the so-called affiliated marketing.

There is a lot of different types of influencer in the media these days, for example, beauty bloggers, travel bloggers, Fitness, health, gamers, and others. Their job is to create content and attach their brand to the product, generating income for themselves and whatever it is they are trying to sell. The other branch of influencer is coaching. People who have some type of knowledge and instigate in you the need to be a winner in life. Over and over.

Why does everyone want to be an influencer these days?

Paris Hilton- The selfie pioneer.

In the early 2000s, Paris Hilton created a persona, based on what she knew and thought it was cool to be at that time. A rich heiress, socialite, who was blond, thin, and reckless. Her job was to be famous and to continuously followed by the paparazzi. If you are younger, you probably don’t know that she was the one who started the Selfie. I watched her documentary on youtube, and in 2004, she was already taking photos of herself in a little digital camera.

Making all the faces kids born in 2005 are mimicking today.Paris started this maniac seeking attention. And guess who she was friends with? Kim Kardashian. So whatever they did in 2004/2005, are the reflection of kids today.

Everyone wants a piece of the attention, with all the social media being so open to all kinds of people, it’s easy to get dragged into this “influence world”. People started selling themselves as a brand and with that, endorsing products, clothing, food, restaurants, club, making them look cool among the other humans

Who do they influence?

The unicorn cupcakes with sprinkles gets my attention.I’m sold.


I don’t know who they think they influence, as I’m not a marketing person. What I understand is there is a niche for all kinds of people. People who work out a lot, influence people who want to be fit, people who live off their beauty, influence people who want to be beautiful as them, and people who sell food, influence the chubby kids at heart. I’m a fat kid in my mind and I’m influenced to eat that unicorn cupcake with sprinkles. Get into my belly!

The problem with the influencers, most of the time is that they started acting like celebrities, as soon as they get some status on social media. As their brand grows, so does their ego. They start to pick and choose who they are gonna work with, like a company. Most of the time it’s some bland people, selling necklaces, or some other product. How many times have you seen this image: A blond girl, holding a coffee mug, in a white sweater, in a monotone photo?

The answer is dozens and dozens. Pinterest is full of them. What are they selling? The necklace, the coffee mug, or their boring lifestyle? People lost the hang of their creativity to look and act what it suits the eyes. I’m ok with whatever you do, unless you are biased.

Please don’t be that person.

I’m sorry, but you cannot yell Black Lives Matter, post a black stick-on IG, Justice for Brianna Taylor and George Floyd and continuously erase people of color or Black business because it doesn’t fit your “brand”. Be a better person with the influence you think you have.

The fact that you, as an “influencer” hurt people that I love and that I work with, it’s not gonna pass. There is much talent to be seen beside the pastel monotone, leaning in a granite counter photo.

I’m not an expert in anything, what I feel is like people are losing track of their lives, to be a product of social media. That instigates a lot of younger people and even older people to think they are not up to their standards, when in fact, not everyone wants to live that kind of lifestyle. Some people are just ok with how they live.

Influencer as a career choice.

Being an influencer is now some type of career. Ask anyone younger than 20 years old, and the answer will be the same, they will either want to be a nurse, an influencer, a TikTok star (who wouldn’t since there is a 16-year-old making 100K a month only on endorsements on the platform) or have an account n OnlyFans.

You can do whatever you like, of course, the only advice from the 35-year-old me, who saw the internet transformed to what it is today, is: Don’t forget to be a decent human. Being a decent human doesn’t cost you anything. Even though being trash will keep you giving some good endorsements, don’t forget who is on the other side.

Thanks for reading and let me know in the comments by who and what are you influenced by? I’m influenced by food and travel tips! Can’t have enough of this type of content!

Stay Healthy and be safe!

J.G.Snelly