Catalin Ghila decided to totally change his live at age 34. The Romanian, who worked as a truck driver in the United Kingdom, grew tired of the lifestyle he had and decided to follow an old dream of visiting Brazil. In the search for some project that fueled his desire for change he found Eco Caminhos. In an interview with our website, Catalin told us a bit about what happened during the six months that he was working as a volunteer at our eco farm in Cardinot, Nova Friburgo. Check out:
What motivated you to travel to Brazil and be part as volunteer of the Eco Caminhos project?
So. 10 years ago, or maybe more, I started dreaming about visiting Brazil… I was hooked by Bossa Nova and Sepultura in the same time and this made me curious about visiting this country to see what makes people here create this music.
And in 2017 I decided that I need to change my life, take a break from everything and start doing something else. I remembered about my dream with Brazil and so I decided that is time to make my dream come true.
I was a truck driver in the UK at that time and I wanted to do something else, more physical and with a nice group of people. So I started looking for volunteering programs in Brazil where I could do those things I was looking for.
That’s how I discovered Eco Caminhos, on worldpackers.com. I was amazed with the scenery they have in Cardinot, with the project and the way they presented themselves, so I said to myself that this is the right place for me and what I was looking for, so I applied, got a positive answer from Bart and this is how my Eco Caminhos experience started… an experience that changed my life.
Was the experience what you expected? Did you manage to find out what the Brazilians have to create songs like Bossa Nova and Sepultura metal?
Being a volunteer at Eco Caminhos was the best experience I lived so far. To be honest, I got from it much more than I expected…I got new friends, new outlooks on life and I managed to do do things I never saw myself doing.
And I can say that I found out how brazilians are able to create so many great things…they simply love life, love enjoying it and taking the most out of it. I see brasileiros as being nice people, warm and happy in general. And by being like this they are able to see life differently than we do in Europe.
What’s your tip for people who are hesitant to get into the project?
Hesitant? Why be hesitant joining such a great project as Eco Caminhos? People here are great, the location is great, the work is great (even if you sweat and get sunburned, if you don’t wear sunscreen, or get wet when it rains, and get tired of walking uphill to the Eco Lodge)…so there’s no reason of being hesitant joining Eco Caminhos.
All efforts will pay off somehow because with hard work comes great rewards. So my tip to those that are hesitant about joining Eco Caminhos would be to simply say Yes! to this experience and join. I’m sure that Bart and everyone else will take good care of them and make them feel comfortable there as they did with me and all other volunteers I met there.
Do you have a favorite place in the ecofarm?
I guess I like the road. And the bushes. I was the one designated to work on the trenches and cut down the bushes and because of this I can say that these were my favourite places there. But I enjoyed working everywhere and that’s the beauty there, because you can work on different projects and in the end to choose the ones that suit you best. I really enjoyed everywhere on the Eco Farm.
What were the main difficulties you experienced during your volunteering period at Eco Caminhos?
Getting used to the program, with the schedule… I also had to get used with the people there, the other volunteers and their personalities.I guess this was the most difficult thing for me to do because I was not used to work together with other people and to even live with them. But now I’m happy and thankful for having this opportunity because I learned new life skills and even make good friends.
How was your first day in Brazil? Did the trip from Rio de Janeiro to Cardinot go well?
Well…it was my first day on Rio and I was surprised to see how hot and humid is there, but i got used to it in a couple of minutes. The ride with Patrique from Rio to Cardinot was very nice because he is good company and also because I got the chance to see how Brazil looks like. I was very happy with the ride.
And your last day? Was difficult say goodbye for everyone?
Oh, yes! I got tears in my eyes and was very difficult to say goodbye to people there knowing that I might never see them again, or at least in the near future. Eco Caminhos was the nicest experience I lived so far and was hard to say goodbye, to end those six months spent there.
Would like to say anything else?
I would like to wish all people there to keep up the good work they’re doing and to future volunteers to enjoy the Eco Caminhos experience as much as I did.
Do you want a different life experience like Catalin? Read more about our volunteer programs.