South America | Brazil

Ilha Grande / Distracting Convenience

outrunning comfort to create memorable moments

   Ilha Grande takes it from concrete jungle to jungle jungle only 150km west of Rio de Janeiro. The island serves as a weekend getaway for weary city folks from Rio and São Paulo as well as a palmy base for expats and backpackers.

​The common interest of the syndicate comes as no surprise given numerous heavenly beaches, among which Lopes Mendes; the star of the island made it into Vogue's top ten of the world's most beautiful beach exemplars, but no bay on Ilha Grande is ugly per se. They are accessible by boat or on foot from the island’s only settlement, the little village of Vila do Abraão, where all trailheads congregate.

"Outpacing the convenience of a boat ride back to some snuggly dorm bed was the whole agenda..."

So there I started my petty conquest of Lopes Mendes on an overcast day. The path was quite strenuous, or maybe I had made it that by carrying my crammed hiking backpack – my physical challenges have become shamefully few over the years, so every now and then a little voice inside my head tricks me into these endeavours to prove who knows what to who knows who. This voice also stubbornly insisted that I camp out there, completely ignoring the clouds, brewing a foreboding grey above my head. Comfort-me felt increasingly uncomfortable.

​Outpacing the convenience of a boat ride back to some snuggly dorm bed was the whole agenda for that day, a rewarding micro-challenge that was to liven up the dullness of a cozy comfort zone where dwelling is all too painless. Traveling, nay life, meets us with the most intriguing mementos somewhere off the easy route I feel.


Well, to be fair, it wasn't that hard: beautiful beaches hemmed the trail and every one of them would have been worth staying. But none of them was Lopes Mendes, and I was in it for the long haul, the farthest bay, the infamous shooting star.