I walked out of Carr building and headed straight for the nearest Wells Fargo ATM. Dr. Bettina Shuford, associate vice chancellor for student affairs at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, had just handed me my check for travel this summer, and I was still in disbelief.

I am still bewildered, confused and baffled. Sometimes, events happen in your life, and you cannot believe they are real until it hits you in the face. Watching the check enter the ATM and seeing the amount of money appear on the screen as it was being deposited into my account was that moment.

I needed to sign two separate contracts, which basically stated that I would use the money for the purposes listed in my itinerary and I alone was responsible for everything, including my health and safety. I already knew what I was getting into, so I did not have any concerns about the rules set forth.

Now, my next step will be to purchase plane tickets and to look into renting places to stay in Rio de Janeiro, Manaus and São Paulo.

This is an ongoing series of journal entries, in which I will explain and document my preparation for travel and travel through Brazil in May through August of 2015. You can read each journal entry on The Orange Traveler or on ojogobonito.weebly.com where they will initially be published.

Have any tips for traveling to Brazil? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.