We rarely know where the road will take us. We’re not even sure if we’re on the right path. Or the good one. Yet we walk on it. We fear the worst. We hope for the best. And we endure anything that comes our way because one must take whatever life throws at you and go with it. And only when we reach a milestone, when we get a chance to stop and look around to see where we are, that’s when everything makes sense and we understand that we’re always on the right path because there’s always something to learn from anything and anyone.
The trip I took to Lisbon a few weeks ago came with a lot of expectations because it was my first holiday in more than 12 months, I worked pretty much non-stop the entire year of 2015. So I really wanted to relax, enjoy and get into my comfort zone. Also, all my friends told me about how wonderful Lisbon really is, how the energy fills you up and you feel like you’re in a lighter & better place than any other place in the world.
The holiday in Portugal was divided in two: we flew from Bucharest to Lisbon then took the train from Lisbon to Porto. Then we stayed (when I say we, I mean me and a photographer pal that came along, Seb) a few days in Porto and enjoyed the warm and rainy weather during Christmas Eve and Christmas day when everything was closed and the only way to get some late dinner was at a fast food. And then a few more days in Lisbon, wandering around through the beautiful crowded streets that go up and down the hill at every corner with warm people and colorful houses.
It was a different kind of holiday. It was one for self-discovery and, in many ways, it was a way of decompressing and unloading all the good and bad moments that happened throughout the year. When you work too much, you start losing focus of who you are. And if you don’t take a break, once in a while, your head becomes too crowded. Your body as well. And your soul, of course, they’re all connected. You might find yourself surrounded by people and situations that are always challenging, unnatural and difficult. And even if it is healthy to get out of your comfort zone from time to time, I found out that you cannot do it everyday. At least I cannot do it. I need quiet moments. I need situations when I look around and I see that some the people around me are a mirror of who I am on the inside, the kind of people that are drawn to me as a friend or more than that, the way those people are can say a lot about who I am and how I feel. And after many months of working on way too many projects and having too little of a personal life, you can easily lose yourself in your work and you also can lose yourself in the people that start hanging around you.
What’s kind of funny is that I could actually see that I am a bit lost in the way I woke up every morning and the way I dressed. It was becoming harder and harder to put together a nice outfit, I felt like the clothes in my closet didn’t represent me anymore and I felt like getting new ones or finding ways to combine them in new ways. But I couldn’t put together a very good outfit. Because I didn’t feel good with myself. That’s why I always say that our clothes are a reflection of our inner self. Because there’s a strong connection there. And when you don’t feel good on the inside (even if you’re not aware of it), you might look confused on the outside as well.
Well, this holiday was a breaking point. I managed to take a lot of quiet moments and enjoy the ocean, the streets, the Zoo and the sunset over Lisbon, walking by tram and by boat, crossing the river to the other side where we took these photos. It was the sound of Lisbon that reminded me that if you don’t feel peaceful in the most peaceful place on Earth, you must take a close look inside yourself and see what is wrong.
Most of my close friends told me that they’re sure that Portugal is the perfect place for me because it’s full of light, inside and out. Yet, I felt everything but peaceful. I had a few nice moments but most of it was a self discovery and a road to asking myself why I can’t keep up with the city, why I’m not connected and centered. And if you’ve done the self-discovery thing before, you know it’s not always the most pleasant feeling because you need to test the limits and the extremes, to see how far you can go, how high or how low. And it’s better not to have any people around when you do that.
I didn’t find the answers in Portugal but I found the questions that I needed to ask myself before I can solve anything else. And the sound of Portugal was the best thing that happened to me in the last few months. The sound of a peaceful city brings a lot of questions into your head.
The sound of Portugal is the ocean hitting the rocks and the sand, the sound of Portugal is the seagulls gone with the wind, the sound of bicycle bells, kids playing on empty streets and the wind hitting the glasses on the terrace in a forgotten corner of a 300 years old neighourhood. The sound of Portugal is also the sound of laughter, the sound of joy and the sound of Porto wine being poured into small glasses at every table, the sound of the portuguese language that feels very romantic, very rustic and very sweet, just like its wine. In the same time, it feels a bit strong and it makes you weak in the knees if you hear it in a song, it is full of charm. The sound of Portugal is the warm breeze of the Ocean. Nothing felt rushed in, the locals looked like they didn’t feel like living in a huge city with a lot of tourists, it felt like a quiet ancient port where there are a lot of traditions and people don’t feel the pressure of social media, technology and being up to speed with everything. The sound of Portugal was the sound of soft light travelling through the windows every morning and every afternoon and setting up nice yellowish tones everywhere.
The best thing you can get in life isn’t a happy moment. But a lesson. And feeling grateful for harsh lessons is a way of enjoying life as it is. I don’t search for happiness anymore, life was never meant to be happy, no one was born to enjoy the happy moments and hate the bad ones. We were born to enjoy life as a whole, with everything that its got to offer. 2016 started off with a big bang. With a lof of questions that finally got answered. A lot of yoga, a lot of waking up at 7 am and working out and enjoying life more than ever.
Portugal changed my life. I thought it was going to put me back into my place, feel like myself again. But I am new everyday. And I feel different everyday. And Portugal didn’t put me back into my old self, it showed me the way and it let the light in for a new me.
Photos & editing by Sebastian Florea
I am wearing
Zara dark blue pants
Zara serenity blue T-shirt