Adam Carter on Why to Relocate to Brazil and Establish Residency

In Chapter 5 of 13 in his 2012 Capture Your Flag interview, micro-philanthropist Adam Carter answers "Why Did You Move to Brazil and How Has the Experience Informed Your Future Plans?"  After traveling to over 80 countries, Carter finds a calling in the personable and positivity of the Brazilian people and culture.  Feeling a special connection, Carter decides to visit for a while, learn Portuguese and acclimate to the culture while doing micro-philanthropy work in the favelas.  Ultimately, he commits to the move and establishes residency in Brazil. 

Adam Carter is a micro-philanthropist currently living in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  He is the founder of the Cause and Affect Foundation which raises small amounts of financing to provide direct-to-source project funding for individuals and communities in need across the globe.  To date, Carter has traveled to over 80 countries.  He earned an MA in International Development from George Washington University and a BA in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Michigan.


Erik Michielsen: Why did you move to Brazil, and how has the experience informed your future plans?

Adam Carter: Well, I moved to Brazil because it was the single place in the world that called me more than any other.

Erik Michielsen: How so?

Adam Carter: Brazilians are one of the most gregarious and friendly and open-minded people that I’ve come across in the world, and they’re simply a joy to be around. I think anybody that’s been to Brazil will tell you that the Brazilians have a zest for life that is hard to find anywhere else, and it’s a kind of place where, even after the first time I was there, I felt a special connection. I’m not one for hyperbole, so I didn’t walk out there saying, “this is the best place in the world, “ but I said to myself,  “all right, Adam, you need to come back here, spend a little time, learn Portuguese, get into the culture a bit.” I took it slow. I went back for about three, four months, learned Portuguese immediately, I studied on my own, and I’d already spoken Spanish, so that was easy, and the more I learned about Brazil, the more I got into the culture, the more I felt comfortable, and it got to the point where I started doing my philanthropy work down there, so I had that whole ‘nother connection there, and I started to make friends that I just—every time that I was there, I felt more comfortable, and it’s the kind of place where I’m always happy. I feel happy when I’m there. There’s something about, between the people and the natural beauty and the culture, and it’s just such a lively place. It just makes you feel alive, so I got to the point where instead of ferrying back and forth from Chicago down to Brazil, and then going back home for the summer, I decided to just pick up and move to the place where my heart was calling me, and I landed in Brazil.

Erik Michielsen: And how has that informed your future plans?

Adam Carter: So moving to Brazil has really dictated my future plans because I realize that I had to make a living there. It’s different going down for a few months and having a good time and doing this charity work which is volunteer, that’s a lot different from realizing, okay, I got to find a way to support myself. So for me the only way to do it is to really jump in headfirst. And so I got down there, started to assess my opportunities, realized that it’s very difficult for a lot of these companies to get a work visa for foreigners, so I realized that I needed to, if possible, get my own residency there. So I went through that process through investing in a business and this and that to obtain my permanent residency. Some friends and I have a start-up based here in the states, so at this point, I’ve been able to do my work remotely from Brazil which is wonderful because it just goes to show, this would not have been possible even ten years ago that I can live in one country and in effect, be doing my business in another. I mean, and over the years I’ve seen so many people living these lifestyles that I realized, well, hey, why sit in an office in the States if I don’t have to? When I can be down in Brazil where I can continue my philanthropy work, and I can really be where my heart is. So it’s an adjustment, you know, living in another culture and trying to find out what your place is professionally. So I’m trying to keep my options open to see exactly where the start-up, how it matures and how it progresses because I need to just be sure that if I am doing something different that I’m down in Brazil that I need to make sure that I’ve got a niche down there as well.