Ugh, Portugal. It has been on my top three, alongside Greece and Iceland since I can remember. And man, did I ever feed a longing. Portugal has proven to me that you are drawn to things for a reason. Something awaits you. The same was with Iceland. Forever people would ask “why Iceland?” Well, besides its beauty and outdoors scene, I never had a reason. I had a feeling. I felt a pull to Iceland. And it didn’t disappoint. Iceland was amazing and I will return again someday to finish exploring the island. Portugal was similar. I had the same feeling – the same pull. Africa was a job and an opportunity for experience – there was no pull there. Get what I mean with the pull? You don’t need an outright explanation for what your heart longs for. No one knows you better.
Anyways, back to Portugal. When I truly think about it, Portugal influenced me in three ways – conscious living, the effect of power, and the deception of dependence. I spent seven days in the Algarve region, and later took a bus up to Lisbon to meet up with Jobey. Southern Portugal (the Algarve) is a piece of paradise where the waters are blue with wonder, the terrain and beaches are a dream, and the people are welcoming and friendly. Here, was my first taste of power, and it was from mother nature, of all creations. From torrential downpours the first day or so, to the roaring waves unrealistically grandeur in size, and down the hundreds-of-feet-high cliffs lining the ocean. She made me feel small and humble again, grateful for every minute, reminded me of my size, and brought me back to being conscious in a never ending warp of time. Earth and the mind have a complex and unidentifiable bond. I don’t understand it. I think to truly understand it you have to be a bit mad. Thus, I will continue to seek this connection, with no desire to live off acorns and give up my pants for a giant leaf pad.
I also met the most wonderful group of people at the hostel in Faro, which made my time and experience there sunny, bright, and blissful. The other half of my rendez-vous with power comes later, in Lisbon.
The Algarve also reminded me of conscious living, specifically with food. I love food – thus I always eat too fast. I’m always hungry, occasionally hangry (ask my mom – she had to start packing snacks in her purse for me again at the ripe age of 19… or she never stopped, I’m not sure). Food is the last thing I cheap out on when travelling. I am a foodie through and through, but I have forgotten how to actually enjoy the food. I am SO excited at the sight of food I devour everything humanly possible, and I always have this fear that if I do not devour like me-woman-who-loves-food, it will all disappear or be eaten by someone else before I get the chance, and I will be sad and maybe even more hangry, resulting in a food baby and the odd stomach ache. Do not be alarmed, I was not starved as a child or denied food of any kind. I also do not know where this fear of disappearing food stems from. Nonetheless, I actually wasn’t enjoying food. I learned from new friends how to savour the taste and find gratitude for its origins and preparation. For added bonus*, the more you chew and savour it in your mouth, the more your body recognizes the amount of food you are eating, it is much more accurate in sending the “stop eating you sloth, I am full” signal to the brain, and the food ACTUALLY tastes better. Lots of bonuses. Try it.
*Advisory: this does not pertain to ice cream – you may still stuff your face with ice cream.
The second half of Portugal was spent in Lisbon. Lisbon is a really artsy and hip city, the original San Fran, as Jobey informed me. I guess that explains the copycat San Francisco bridge, alongside the Brazilian Christo Redentor (I apologize for being a lazy traveler with no photo proof – look it up if you must, it is a cooky sight).
My whole trip really brought to light the reality of dependence, which I will talk about in the next post. Instead I will be honest and tell you how terrible I am at planning transportation. The plan was to return with Jobey Monday night so we could have a few days to wrap up our journey before nana arrived. But, of course, I waited too long to book my bus and it was full. Thus, I was “forced” to spend another night in Lisbon – sad I was missing quality time with bae, but not totally crying cause, well, its Lisbon and Florence and the Machine happened to be playing that night, it wasn’t sold out (see instagram/facebook for details on the wheelchair ticket story), and a very lovely fellow Canadian named Dervla was attending also. Florence is the other half to my experience with power.
Florence, I have a deep love for you, your hair, and your power. The power from your voice, literally and rhythmically, and your womanhood. Never have I felt so empowered to be myself, with such certainty in my life. I would love to give Florence all the credit for this moment, which so happened as I was jump-dancing and tearing up from the extreme emotions as she played Ship to Wreck, but I think credit needs to be handed to the lead up to that moment. The last eight months have been full of what I can only describe as extremes. The combination of extremes, life in that moment, Florence, and, I must admit, I goblet of Caipirinha, was too much. I don’t want to share this, but I was maybe comparable to that 14 year old girl at a Justin Beiber concert. Just maybe. I am not commiting to the entirety of the confession. It might be true, might half be true, or I could have not even gone to Florence and the Machine…
Life’s a freak show my friends. When you get those moments of raw, deep emotions, feel them to their absoluteness. You wanna cry? Ball your eyes out. Feel like dancing? Nay Nay and break those legs. Find gratitude in every moment, lesson, and blessing. You don’t need reason to ball your eyes out behind the Town N’ Country Mall or bust the Nay Nay at the bus stop. Those who question your tears are lost themselves, and those who are as free as you will understand, your groovy moves will make their day, and they will love you for your authenticity. The later people are the people you need to surround yourself with. The next time you feel a pull in any which direction, know there is a complex reason, a connection, beyond your comprehension. Trust your gut. You’ll go a little mad trying to understand it, but you will also go mad if you decide to play tug-of-war. Your best bet is to fall into the scary, unknown pull. You’d be amazed at what following an intuition can do.
All my heart,