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"I am teaching myself perfect freedom…the great first principle is that the clamour of th

My trip to Brazil was comically short. Only four and a half days before I got in a cab and rode back to Salvador airport, changed my ticket and came home.

It was an expensive and mostly unpleasant mistake – but fabulously instructive nonetheless.

Primarily, I learned that I am at core still a seasonal animal. And ripping myself from dark winter into an alien summer only upsets me.

I realised it most sharply on the 30th of December, less than 36 hours after having arrived in Brazil.

I was standing in a yard full of Brazilians, all hysterical with summery happiness, singing along to the divine and golden Marienne de Castro, and I knew, to my mild embarassment, that I didn’t want to be there. My body and brain were still in the British winter. And the transposed animal part of me was miserable. I wanted quiet introspection. Brazil (quite rightly) wanted a giddy party.

When you think about it jetlag is the one thing human evolution can not anticipate. Sudden brutal movement from one hemisphere to another? The genome’s never going to come up with a biological bandaid for that.

I feel happy that I had the courage to tend to my misery and not brush it aside with the heartless rationalisation of the thinking mind. I didn’t let the mental superstructure persuade me to stay where I was uncomfortable. And I am delighted to be back in the cold darkness of British winter, where paradoxically, I feel happiest.

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