THE BLOG

Reality Check: Life in Brazil Through the Eyes of a Foreigner

20/09/2013 11:36 BST | Updated 19/11/2013 10:12 GMT

I have been living in Brazil now since the end of 2010. It's been quite a journey with far more positives than negatives, but enough surprises along the way to keep life exciting - and I still love it here. Six months ago I moved from a city of 20m people to a town of 30k and that has been like a new adventure all over again - getting used to the countryside rather than the concrete jungle of São Paulo.

One of the things I noticed about being a Brit overseas is that people like to hark back to the old country. Of course this would traditionally have been through drinking in the local English pub, but now there are so many discussion groups on Facebook you don't even need to involve alcohol before listening to a friend talking about how much he misses shopping at Boots.

I wrote a blog here in Huffington Post earlier this year about how the gringo community endlessly complains about their new home. I'm sure this applies equally to the Brits who have retired to Spain or the language teachers in Tokyo, but it bothered me that so much of the foreigner discussion was around the problems rather than opportunities for foreigners in Brazil.

So I took that original essay and expanded it into a full-length book. It was just published this month and is called 'Reality Check: Life in Brazil through the eyes of a foreigner.' The book features a foreword by Richard Turner, who is the British Deputy Consul General in São Paulo and also the deputy head of UK Trade & Investment for Brazil.

But there are loads of books about Brazil already. There are travel guides, backpacking guides, books on the history of the Portuguese in Brazil, and endless economic commentaries on the growth of the BRICs. What did I plan to do differently that would make this new book worthwhile?

I really wanted to capture what daily life is like for a foreigner based in Brazil. What is different about this enormous nation compared to living in many other places or even back in the UK? What is important to know before you make the decision to move here?

From what I have observed in my time here, much of the 'foreigner-in-a-strange-land' literature in books or blogs is focused on how much the author hates their new home or how to see 128 tourist destinations in 10 days. I'm not backpacking around Brazil; I'm living and working here, running my own company and taking my dog for a walk every morning - talking to real locals, not sheltered from reality in a gated community full of expat bankers.

The book explores some of the experiences I have had in Brazil - like buying a house and starting a company - and contrasts them with the same processes back home in the UK. But I have also explored the national paranoia about security, gun crime, and the causes of the recent street protests.

You might be interested in some of this information even if you don't have plans to move to Brazil, just because the country is becoming so important economically and will dominate the sports world for the next few years.

With the World Cup and Olympic games both coming soon to Brazil I fully expect a lot of businesses are going to be exploring the country. I hope that by taking my Huffington Post comment and expanding some of it to become a full-length book in this way, I might have helped a few future visitors to the country.

To find out more about Reality Check, and my other books, come and like my Facebook page here: www.facebook.com/markhillarybooks

Click here to locate Reality Check on Amazon.co.uk.