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Day 1: The Journey Begins

This is the day that we fly from OR Tambo airport in Johannesburg, South Africa to Guarulhos airport in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Being from Durban, we had to take a connecting flight from King Shaka airport. Leaving Durban wasn’t easy, emotionally overwhelmed would be considered an understatement. Will definitely miss my family, friends, pets and garage. As much as I yearn for the adventure that the unknown undoubtedly holds and I am at peace with the choices I have made thus far, fear has a way of creeping in during these final moments before letting it all go. Anyways I kicked fears ass to the curb and I’m feeling a lot better. So we arrived in Johannesburg three nights ago to spend some time with the rest of our family, which was a pleasure and full of love as usual.

Being the procrastinators that we are, during this time we sorted out forex/cash passports, accommodation for our first couple of nights in Sao Paulo and an exit ticket out of Brazil to Argentina. We read that an exit ticket was compulsory in order for us to fly to Brazil, we assumed that immigration officers in Brazil did not want foreigners to overstay their welcome. As RSA passport holders, we don’t need to apply for a visa to visit and we would be granted a visa upon arrival for the duration of 90 days. Not completely sure of our plans, ok we have no plans. Meaning we have no idea how long we will be in Brazil or how exactly we were going to exit the country but flying out isn’t high on our list of exit strategies so we couldn’t exactly purchase these exit tickets. The situation was “travel hacked” by booking exit flight tickets from a certain website which would be reserved for us, we didn’t have to actually purchase them immediately but we could get a printout or screenshot showing the ticket. The plan was to use this “exit ticket” if asked.

We arrived at the airport early enough to check in and planned to spend the remainder of the time enjoying our last South African breakfast with family who were at the airport to send us off. That didn’t go exactly as planned because when we tried to check in, we were informed by the airline that just an exit ticket out of Brazil wasn’t sufficient and they required a return ticket to South Africa in order for us to board the flight. The airline did not care that we were backpacking the whole of South America and maybe further for an undetermined amount of time and couldn’t book return tickets because we obviously didn’t know where we would be flying from and when.

This is when the proverbial shit hit the fan and needless to say we were in a bit of a tizz. With limited time, Dee hacked the situation once again by using the aforementioned process to book “return flights”. Thankfully after a lot of Ooing and ahing, the “return tickets” were accepted and we were checked in. No time for breakfast, just a quick drink and bittersweet farewells.

No that’s not the end of this story, we were stopped once again at the boarding gate because the lady that checked us in either placed or did not remove a note on the system to check our return tickets. For sucks fake, here we were again sweating with our hearts in our throats and nonchalant looks on our faces praying that these ice holes wouldn’t pick up that the tickets weren’t actually purchased. Managers were called and tickets were checked, unsure but unable to prove otherwise the tickets were once again accepted and we were eventually allowed to board.

Yes! Internal fist pump and sweat dab, we made it. See you later Mama Africa.

Leaving on a jet plane