In 2006, we traveled to Manaus, Brazil for the wedding of two of our close friends and to meet up with one of Eric’s best friends Josh, who was spending a year traveling around the world. Prior to the wedding, we, along with Josh, spent a few days in the Amazon, staying in a tree house hotel in the rainforest. From there, we played with spider monkeys, fished for piranha and swam with pink dolphins. All of these experiences were amazing, but we still felt trapped inside the tourist bubble, feeling as though we hadn’t really seen the Amazon for what it was yet.
On our last day, the guides at our hotel gave us and a small group a unique opportunity to visit the home of a local family, and we jumped at the chance. A small boat cruised along the river for about an hour and a half, deep into the rain forest, before we arrived at the home of a beautiful, native Amazonian couple and their 7 children. The couple was in their 50s, but they looked like they were both in their early 30s, with little wrinkles and healthy figures. Their elevated house along the river was one room, with simple cots lying next to each other. They showed us their garden and small farm, where they grew all their own vegetables and plants for other uses, including dyes for their clothes. They sold handmade artwork, and taught us how they made all their food. All the while, their children laughed and ran around the small, peaceful corner of the world that they were privileged to call home.
We both realize how hectic our world has become, and all the things that we set upon ourselves to accomplish. But in the end, we both believe that life is best lived when it is simple, as the family that we visited that day so beautifully demonstrated. We are a constant reminder to each other to appreciate all the small pleasures that are part of living in this world, and that our journey will be one that is stripped from all the background noise, filled with love, peace and simplicity.