Finding an Airbnb in São Paulo

So one of the most exciting things I’ve done so far is researching where I am going to be living for seven weeks. I first looked at hotels, but I soon realized that Airbnb would be the cheaper and it would give me the more authentic experience. I spent weeks researching different neighborhoods because the topic of safety in Brazil is a thing…


So I quickly realized that the areas around the main popular street in São Paulo, called Avenida Paulista, are the safest, but also the most expensive when it comes to apartments. Coincidently, my language school is also located in one of these areas. I knew I wanted to be around here, because this is also where things are probably most exciting and safe for me. Also, São Paulo has thousands and thousands of high-rise buildings, so a great view was high on my list of things that I wanted.


I looked at a ton of different options and I listed some requirements:

  • 24/7 security in the building (door man)
  • great view with balcony or something
  • safe neighborhood
  • walking distance to subway
  • walking distance to a grocery store
  • modern apartment
  • washing facility in apartment or building
  • Superhost (which is a trusted host on Airbnb)
  • Less than € 1,100/month

I had a favorites list on Airbnb of a bunch of apartments that I really liked and that were around my budget for the seven weeks. I read hundreds of reviews and compared many different locations and narrowed it down to a couple. Some were further out than others. Some didn’t have a balcony, others were a bit further away from a subway station.

Making the decision

I soon narrowed it down to two options. One was right off of Avenida Paulista, it was a gorgeous apartment with a fantastic view and a washer inside the apartment, but no balcony and also not in walking distance to school. But it was only 2 blocks from the subway and just 2 stops away from school.

The other choice was a gorgeous new apartment building with the most terrific view, laundry room in the building, pool, co-working spaces, walking distance to school as well as Avenida Paulista, just a bit more of a walk. It had big windows that could open to give you that balcony feeling, even though it isn’t technically a balcony. The neighborhood wasn’t as nice as the first option, though.

Avenida Paulista
Avenida Paulista

I then had to think about if I wanted to ride the subway to school 3-4 times a week. After much consideration I decided that no, I would like to be able to walk to school and be there in 20 minutes instead of having to walk to the subway, wait for it, then walk another half mile to school from the subway. So, I chose the second option.

It’s a gorgeous new apartment building in Vila Mariana with 24/7 security. I will probably write a post on it soon and obviously when I am there, take some pictures.

I wrote the host and he was really excited and nice. I booked it for the seven weeks. So there’s no going back now!

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What I do when I’m not traveling

More than once a month I get the comment “you’re always traveling!” And I guess if you compare it to what’s considered normal, I do travel quite a bit. We usually do one or two really big trips each year of 2 – 4 weeks long. We go overseas and often do some cruising. In between we take several trips within Europe, usually in combination with a concert, an NFL game or for an anniversary. We will fly somewhere for a long weekend or something.

I actually like working

So it sounds like my life is very eventful, but really, it isn’t. If I’m not traveling, my life is most uneventful. I love working. I am a business owner and on average I spend about 25 hours a week, 4 days a week on my business, working and doing administration. This is plenty for me. I earn a good income *knock on wood* and get to recharge with a long weekend. As a highly sensitive person, I need this to stay sane. Ever since I started working for myself, planning my own work hours and working from home I have been 500% happier and mentally in better health than before. I may blog about this.

I don’t enjoy chores

If I am not working, I am doing chores around the house. Sometimes. My husband works 40+ hours a week so I try to keep the household chores to a minimum for when he is home. I am not the perfect housewife, but I clean, do dishes and try to do some laundry (admittedly, I am not great with the latter). We cook together, because we enjoy this time in the kitchen. We try to have a date night every week, out or in, doesn’t matter.

Literally me when I'm not traveling or working
Literally me when I’m not traveling or working

I love doing nothing

Besides that I get to spend time unwinding and doing things I enjoy and that recharge me. I catch up on my YouTube subscriptions (obsessed!), I watch some crime documentaries on Netflix or YouTube, I write a blog here and there, I listen to lots of music, browse on social media (even though I try to cut back on this) or I am planning and looking into my next trip. Right now I am doing a lot of research on my trip to São Paulo in 3 months, and I love watching videos about what to do, where to go and read blogs about the city.

I also have about one Portuguese lesson a week where I Skype with my tutor/friend for an hour and it’s a lot of fun and it motivates me to keep learning and stay curious.

I guess I try to balance my super active travel life with my super passive regular life. And it’s working for me!

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Going to São Paulo

Well. It’s happening. I am moving to Brazil. I mean, it’s only for seven weeks, but still. I fell in love with everything Brazilian seven years ago. The culture, the music, the food, the language and the people. Ever since I’ve been wanting to visit Brazil. My husband and I passively made plans a couple times, but they fell through each time, mainly because we ended up going on vacation somewhere else.

Stepping out of my comfort zone

For over a year I’ve also had this urge to live abroad. Move away and step out of my comfort zone. My initial thought was Los Angeles, but I know that city like the back of my hand so where’s the challenge in that? So then I thought about Brazil. How scary is that? I do speak the language well, but it is a completely different world. I would be lost going there by myself. My next thought was: I want to do it! There’s something so liberating about exploring a new-to-me country and culture by myself. I wanted to go for an extended time so I could feel what it’s like to live like a local.

Learning through immersion

The perfect excuse for this trip was a language course. I found that immersion courses are something quite popular. It’s a language course where you learn through immersion. So you have regular classes and you get to know the city/country through activities. The language is being taught 100% in Portuguese.

Why São Paulo?

So I had to find a language school and decide where to go. I first looked into Salvador da Bahia and Olinda, because there’s some EF language schools there, but upon further investigation I found that big cities would be a bit safer and if I register myself, it would be much cheaper than doing it through an organization. Plus, this is another step of the whole “explore the country by myself” as well. Figuring things out without the middle man.

Anyway, I looked into São Paulo and Rio, the country’s two biggest cities. Rio sounds fun and when I talked to my Brazilian friends they told me I should go there. But when I asked them why, they mentioned the party atmosphere and beach life in Rio. “That would be more fun.” But this is exactly the reason I decided against Rio.

São Paulo
São Paulo

I’ve always been into São Paulo, or what I think the city entails. It’s a very cultural city, a financial metropole. Free-spirited. This is what draws me to it. So I soon found a language school that offers 5 week immersion courses and I registered.

The plan

On June 22nd I am flying out to São Paulo with a layover in Lisbon. I will arrive there in the evening and then go to my Airbnb (which, by the way, is absolutely amazing… blog coming!). The course will start the following Monday on June 24th. It will be 5 weeks. On July 27th my husband will fly in. I am so excited to show him around and to have him there with me. We will stay in São Paulo and do a 5 day trip to Rio as well. I also plan on going to visit a friend in Belo Horizonte one weekend.

All in all, this is going to be an exciting seven weeks and I expect to come back with a ton of stories to tell. And that is why I am keeping this blog, so I can keep everybody up to date and I can look back on my time there later.

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