Simple living in Ubatubu

Learning to live with less was definitely highlighted for Peter and I this past week. On arriving in Ubatubu I knew straight away that my quest for rustic living was going to be brought to life. When opening the door to our Airbnb we were hit by that damp sort of smell reminiscent of undried clothing (not a bad smell but just sort of what you would imaging rustic to smell like). The place felt like a beautiful treehouse in the jungle as the house was made of a combination of wood and brick. With rustic living however, came mosquito bites, spiders, very very large moths and a strange looking bug that made bird like sounds that even Peter was afraid to get out of the house when I shrieked for help (he might of shrieked too but that’s between you and I). Thank heavens that we brought Tabard that we generously lathered on ourselves each night. The mosquitos didn’t care much about the tabard though as they bit as anyway. What sort of mosquitos bite you through tabard??

When waking up on the second morning in Ubatubu,I found myself sick (not an ideal situation in the middle of a jungle). So our stay then consisted of short walks to the beach and swims in the ocean but mostly relaxing so I could get better. It did my soul well in a way as I managed to get through reading a whole book which I haven’t managed to do in a year. It made me think why don’t we take more time back home to do the things that we enjoy? I mean how could I have not had time to even read a book in the past year? On Monday morning we ventured out to the main road in town and the streets were littered with bikini and souvenir shops. Ubatubu is mostly a beach and surf town so Brazilian bikinis and beach balls along with beach sarongs/ towels and chairs are the things to buy. The prices were high though as I’m sure they’re geared towards tourists. Just before coming on our massive world adventure, I managed to buy 3 bikinis back home for $7.50 (R100) each at a factory store called Oggi. The brand funnily enough was called Lenny Niemeyer – a Brazilian brand. I looked for the brand here to see if possibly I could get another good deal but the Lenny Niemeyer bikinis that are in the boutiques here are over $112 (R1500). I was shocked. Clearly it’s a high end brand and I just got lucky with my purchases back home. Check out their website though even though I’ll never be able to afford another one, it’s always nice to look!

One of the beautiful Lenny Niemeyer bikini’s for sale on the Ubatuba main street

Peter had bought a piece of luggage a few years back by the brand Kipiling. Back then you didn’t see it much at all. We bought it at a boutique luggage store and it was not cheap. It has outlasted all of my luggage though. So for this trip I decided to invest in a Kipling piece of luggage too. I haven’t been disappointed as all the storage areas in the bag are amazing. It separates my shoes from my clothes to my underwear. Funnily enough since I have bought the bag before this trip and have subsequently used it, Peter and I have seen the Kipling brand everywhere from Rio to Ubatubu and even here in Montevideo. The brand is clearly blowing up and perhaps Peter and I should think of bringing the franchise officially back home. You should go check out there website ( if you have a chance. Their bags and luggage are amazing and worth the investment.

Kipling luggage is everywhere you turn in South America. It seems very popular here
Some of the Kipling luggage on offer, the range is so much bigger than what is on offer back home in South Africa.

Besides coming across the Lenny Niemeyer bikins and Kipling bags, Aiden enjoyed a Macdonalds meal and toy in town and we headed back to our jungle home. It was a 1.9km walk to the main road where the shops are (no Uber service or taxis where we were staying much to our dismay) and another few km’s walk back home, so you could say we were pretty much exhausted on arrival. It didn’t help my flu like symptoms at all but in Lauren fashion I pushed on. We spent seven days in Ubatubu in total and 6 were spent going to the beach. The beach and its 50 metre proximity to our jungle home was the highlight of this leg for me. I used to hate the feeling of sand on my feet but now I enjoy its warmth and texture. I don’t mind getting sand in my bikini either when I swim and Peter is teaching me along with Aiden not to be afraid on the waves. I’ve never been a great swimmer and have always had a morbid fear of drowning even if the sea only comes up to my knees. Peter thinks this is hilarious as he is obviously a keen swimmer (like a fish in water). The last time someone pushed me to swim in the ocean I naturally got dunked by an enormous wave and got spat up on the beach. Thankfully this didn’t happen in Ubatubu and I can say the experience as a whole was fantastic. The time on the beach also helped my growing tan and restfulness. There’s something to be said for the healing properties of the ocean and I even gargled with some salt water (not sure if this helped my sore throat or not but some of the passers-by did give me strange looks as I was gargling on the beach in the ocean….). Perhaps in hindsight I should of bottled some salt water and gargled in the privacy of our Air bnb.

Ubatua has helped me to learn to do and live with less which has been great for me. I must admit though I did miss the city living and the conveniences of life such as a kettle and toaster. But learning to live with less can only be deemed as good in the sense that it teaches you that you don’t need a kettle and toaster to make you happy. What makes me happy currently is seeing the pure joy in Aidens face when he makes sandcastles on the beach or jumps in waves in the ocean fearlessly for the first time. What makes me happy is having a conversation and beer with Peter with no time limits. We literally have nowhere to be and no one to answer too. We are currently enjoying the freedom and the life we have always dreamed about on our massive family adventure. Follow us on instagram @ourmassivefamilyadventure to read more about arriving in the city of Montevideo in Uruguay….

Aiden and Peter playing in the waves at the beach close to our home

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1 Comment

  1. Jeannette says

    Love the fact that you are discovering the joy of really living in the present, enjoying the simple pleasures of life and sharing in family time that is just too precious for words. How wonderful!

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