Between 2005 and 2012 I worked as a social worker with refugees and migrants in the UK, and I was often intrigued to listen to what they thought about my country, as well hear them talk about adjusting to life in a strange place whose way of life they were unaccustomed to and whose language they barely, for the most part, spoke upon arrival.

Then, in February 2012, I moved to São Paulo and thought it would be fun to give folks back home an account of my experience of being a migrant / expat.

Looking back I think my earlier posts reflect a difficult initial phase in which I compared everything in Brazil to back home, and this, I imagine, made me sound just like just another whining ‘expat’. However, over time I think the blog has increasingly come to reflect my growing affection for Brazil, Brazilians and, of course, the city of São Paulo itself.

São Paulo is forever maligned and unfavourably compared as being Rio’s ugly sister. However, São Paulo is, as I’ve slowly discovered, a city in which if you take the time too explore it you’ll find a place as fascinating and complex as any other you are likely to visit.

Most of my observations about the city have been made on foot and gradually this has led me to incorporate concepts such as those of psychogeography into my writing – which I guess means my degree in Sociology and Social Anthropology finally came to some good use. 

Elsewhere, you’ll also find posts relating to travel (both in Brazil and around South America), futebol and Brazil’s burgeoning taste for microbrewed beers.

Basically, there’s a bit of everything.



See here for an explanation of the title of this blog, the book is on the table.

28 comments on “About

  1. Hello.
    Thank for this blog. I’m from Poland and as the reality is forcing me to go abraod to earn a living, I take into consideration to move to Brazil.
    All these information I will read on your blog , will help me a lot in my preparations.

    • Well, I recommend Brazil very highly. The posts on here should be taken very light-heartedly and should hopefully give the impression that really I am actually loving living here.

      One of the reasons I moved sounds similar to your current situation – my job finished because of the economy in the UK. Anyway, hope it works out well for you and if you have any questions about Brazil I’ll try my best to answer them if you have any!



  2. Loving your blog! Congrats on work well done. I’m still working out what it means to “blog” as I don’t particularly write well, but I’m an American in the Amazon and yes, we do find really odd things from time to time… armadillos and really freaky spiders have been the most interesting to date.

    • Hey Becky, thanks for your comment – it’s always good to know people other than myself are enjoying it!

      I went to the Amazon in Bolivia once for a few days and have to say I found it pretty tough and also unlike anything I’ve ever done before. I’ve added your blog to my list on Google reader so I’ll be keeping an eye-out for what you spot in the future!

      As for blogging, this is also my first blog so I guess I’m still learning. I think my motto is to just try and keep it as simple and humorous as possible without intentionally being offensive. Apart from a few complaints it seems to be going ok!

  3. Hi

    Great blog. I found it through blogexpat.com

    In three weeks I am leaving to take a 5 week tour through Argentina and Brazil. To be honest I am super nervous about going to San Paolo because so many people, and the Lonely Planet guidebook, say how dangerous it is. Do you have any recommendations on how to stay safe outside of “don’t go to that neighborhood.”

    Kind Regards
    Britta Pichler

    • Hi Britta, thanks for checking out my blog!

      With regards to safety in São Paulo I’ve never had any problems here. Obviously, you have to be careful (don’t go around overtly wearing / carrying expensive items – jewellery, etc), but at the same time if you’ve ever lived in a big city before then SP will not be massively different to what you have experienced there.

      Unlike Rio, SP’s favelas are on the outskirts of the city so if you stick to the centre (there’s not reason to venture further out) then you should be fine. All in all, I’d say that yes be conscious of your surroundings but don’t let horror stories about SP being dangerous effect your time here too much as in all probability you won’t see anything to unusual than from what you’re used to.

      Enjoy Brazil!

  4. Hi Andy!
    We love your blog (me and my brazilian husband)! I’m a russian living in Brazil.
    Please keep updating your blog, it helps new and scared people 🙂 like I was when I found your blog.

    • Hi Elena, thanks for reading and I’m glad you and your husband enjoy the blog….Don’t be scared, it’s never as bad as you think!

  5. Hi Andy,

    Really enjoying your writing on and photos of São Paulo. I lived in the city for five years in the 1990s (specifically in the Santo Amaro district), and still have a strong affinity for São Paulo and Brazil as a whole, even though unfortunately I haven’t been able to visit since.

    I appreciate the psychogeographic approaches in your posts. For my own take on São Paulo psychogeography, you may be interested to check out one of my posts here:


    Keep up the good work, I’ll be reading regularly!

    • Hi Zoltán

      Thanks for your comments and RTs. Love your use of Google Street Views in your post. Really nice idea.

      How come you lived in SP? I’ve really come to have an affection for the place now although it took a bit of time – as I’m sure you can relate to.



      • Hi Andy,

        I lived in SP when I was young, as my father was working there. It was an interesting place to spend some formative years, although I didn’t have the opportunity to do the walking/wandering/exploring you’re writing of on your blog, so I very much appreciate that perspective.

        Yes, SP is a super intense city, but it has so many pockets and different atmospheres to check out, it really is an incredibly intriguing place and continues to live vividly in my memory.

  6. Hi Andy,
    Have an assignment for my course (Writing for the Web): to create a blog and maintain it during the winter semester. The first assignment is to write one– to three–paragraph post about one of my favourite blogs. Chose you. Will tell you the link when it’s written.
    The point is, when I read about you and your adventure in Brazil, I think about mine in Canada. (If you don’t remember, I’m Brazilian.)
    This is gonna be fun! 😀

  7. Hi Andy,

    I stumbled upon your blog recently. A lot of your experiences and insights really chimed for me as a fellow EFL/ESL teacher in SP (I use the word “teacher” loosely in my case – four week training course, one previous job at a cowboy school in Italy).

    I’m living and working in the ABC area of SP (Santo André) at a private institute which, although managed by extremely talented and competent local teachers, does not publicize itself very well. Consequently, my hours are limited to evenings and weekends. Do you know of any schools/agencies that hire teachers “on demand” as and when needed? Ideally, this would allow me to remain in my current place of employment and supplement my income with additional casual hours.

    Any suggestions you may have will be welcomed.



    • Hi Jack

      I worked for a company called Global, who are based on Avenida Angélica. The pay was pretty good and I got fairly regular hours (morning and evenings mainly).

      Contact them at atendimento@ globallanguage.com.br, and mention you know Andy Martin.

      Hope that helps 🙂


      • Cheers Andy

        I’ll be sure to contact them in due course.

        It’s raining here in the “Terra da Garoa.” And they say it rains in Ireland! One day of rain here is enough to flood the country!

        All best,


      • Yeah, the rain is quite incredible especially during the summer months. I wrote a blog where I spoke about that. I think SP gets about four times the rainfall we get in London, which is quite impressive. Let me know how it goes with Global!

  8. Will do! Many thanks again! I’ll have more time over the weekend to navigate through your blog a little more! I notice you mentioned psychogeography in your “About” section. I’m a big fan of it myself. Have you read any of Will Self’s stuff on the subject? If you prefer to contact me via email it’s <>

  9. Pingback: Thinking of Emigrating? Expat Blog Recommendations - Destinations Uncovered

  10. Dear Andy,

    My name is Joyce and I work for ExpatFinder.com.
    ExpatFinder.com is a free one stop website for people preparing to move or working and living overseas. We provide a myriad of services for expatriates and we have over 2,000 articles to help and support the people moving around the world and we are now creating an interview section to help the expats with real life experiences!
    We quite enjoy your blog about living in Brazil, it is very interesting and informative. Would it be possible to interview you to further share some of your tips and feature some of your first hand experience as an Expat and your interview will be published on our Expat Interview section as a guide for our expat readers. The questions are mainly about the day to day lifestyle of an expat. If it would be possible, could you also send some photographs that we can use?
    Of course, if you accept, we can add a link to your blog or some of your website.
    The questions are enclosed, feel free to respond freely. You can return the doc with your answers if you accept this invitation.
    Thanks in advance and do let me know if you prefer other means to conduct this interview and we would be happy to accommodate your terms.

    Best regards,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s