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In Portuguese there's "ao sabor (do/da)", a term/expression that literally translates to "to the taste (of)", example: viajar ao sabor do vento (literally "travelling to the taste of the wind"). In this case, it means you travel freely, without a specific destination or path.

You can also apply that to other things, like a conversation, uma conversa ao sabor do tempo e da vida, literally "a conversation to the taste of the time and life".

Is there a similar expression in English that I could use in this last case?

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    Your second example may be more helpful, but what does "a conversation to the taste of the time and life" mean, figuratively? Commented May 9, 2017 at 16:37
  • Hard to explain... let me put it this away: a conversation that you let go thoughts, remarks, etc. about life without being concerned about the time or path the conversation itself takes. That kind of open and honest conversation that starts after dinner and when you realize it's already four in the morning.
    – PauloP
    Commented May 9, 2017 at 17:05
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    After dinner, we had a conversation that touched on anything and everything. After dinner we talked about all kinds of stuff. After dinner we talked about everything under the sun. Commented May 10, 2017 at 6:07
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    Maybe a freewheeling conversation.
    – dangph
    Commented May 10, 2017 at 8:04

6 Answers 6

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A common idiom in English is to go where the wind blows, meaning "to do something without preparation" (MacMillan)

I travelled wherever the wind took me.

Our conversation started after dinner and it took us wherever the wind blew. The sun was rising before we were done.

Being more literal, you might use wander or aimless:

In my aimless travels, I wandered wherever the wind blew me.

We had a conversation about life that wandered aimlessly until morning.

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Willy-nilly might meet your needs.

suddenly and without planning or order:

Her words tumbled out all willy-nilly.

From Phrases.org.uk:

This term has two, slightly differing, but related meanings: 'whether it is with or against your will' and 'in an unplanned, haphazard fashion'. We tend to use the latter of these meanings today; the former was the accepted meaning when the term was first coined.

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    Thank you, but I think it lacks a "poetic" sense to it. It's more a "flow" than a willy-nilly thing.
    – PauloP
    Commented May 9, 2017 at 16:51
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I’ve seen ao sabor do translated as “at the mercy of” or “at the will of”.

I think this works well for your first example, but not so well for your second example. That’s because where you go is dictated not by your intent but by the wind itself.

I think Canis’s answer is a good one.

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The phrase in English would change on context, I believe. In your case, with the last example, I would suggest you say 'a conversation regarding time and life' or 'a conversation via time and life', depending on what you want to say.

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  • Thanks, "regarding" might work, even if it is a bit dry.
    – PauloP
    Commented May 9, 2017 at 16:53
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    "do", in Portuguese, probably means regarding. "ao sabor" is something else. Removing "ao sabor" from the sentence, it becomes "A conversation regarding time and life" and misses the meaning of ao sabor, if I understand the question correctly. Commented May 9, 2017 at 18:12
  • Exactly! The "ao sabor" makes all the difference.
    – PauloP
    Commented May 9, 2017 at 23:45
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Conversations "ramble":

"The Elusive Miss Ellison" - Page 46 Carolyn Miller 2017

The conversation rambled easily, the repartee reviving memories of his time in Oxford, as the reverend's family talked of cropping, music, books, and health.

"The Lost Manuscript: A Novel" - Volume 1 - Page 347 Gustav Freytag 1890

As has been said , the conversation rambled from greater matters to small talk like this . And amidst other trivial remarks it naturally happened that men were quietly discussed ,

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Might I suggest “to the rhythm of” or “to the tune of“?

The idea would be to let life carry you along in its current rather than by imposing your will on the circumstances.

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  • Those don't really evoke freedom, but constraint. Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 6:02

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