Throwback Thursday with Rebecca Brooks

Throwback Thursday


I went to Brazil twice when I was in my early twenties, first as part of a study abroad program and then again on my own. For this Throwback Thursday, I’m sharing some pictures from my travels to show the inspiration for Julia and Blake’s adventure in HOW TO FALL.

These are the Foz do Iguaçu waterfalls on the border between Argentina and Brazil. No photograph could ever capture what it’s like to be there! You can see that there’s so much green around, and lots of secluded places for Julia and Blake to, ahem, duck away.
I visited these falls with an Australian couple I met at a hostel near the falls, which is what gave me the idea to make Blake an Aussie traveling for months at a time.
One of the incredible things about the beaches in Brazil is the sand dunes. They’re huge and you can run all over them, drive dune buggies, or just sit and watch the sun set. I took this picture when I was staying in a small municipality in the northeast, conducting interviews at a governmental organization that provided educational and leadership opportunities for young people. Those are my feet in the middle, next to one of the new friends I made at my research site.
Here’s a picture of me on a rocky beach. When I was at that research site, the family I was supposed to stay with had to go to the nearest city six hours away to get specialized medical care for their baby. The baby was fine, but they stayed in the city for a long time. I lived alone in their house for weeks. It was a surreal and lonely time. I wrote every day and went to this beach a lot.
If you wonder what Julia sees when she goes hang gliding in Rio de Janeiro with Blake on the last day of the year, this is it! The glider has a camera on the wing, so you can get pictures of you doing something you never would have imagined and will probably never do again. It was scary but so worth it! What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done? Mine would be a toss up between this….
… and a few weeks later, when I met up with my parents and we helped a group of Brazilian scientists clean dolphin skulls with a toothbrush!

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