It has been 6 months since I hopped on a plane and moved to Portugal.
And I’ve been trying to write this post 3 times by now.
The first time was when I just moved to Portugal, about a week after landing I thought that is the right moment to start putting my adventure into words. But, as those who moved countries before may know, it is a freaking mess. I found myself getting sucked into this whole turbulence of finding an apartment, finding a job, eating...you know... human stuff. I was so overwhelmed that I needed to drop everything and simply focus on getting my sh*t together. Fair enough.
Days went by, and it was 3 months later that I thought — now is the time. I had where to sleep, a job, food, and already told most people that I was here (aka it was all over my Instagram). But then, life being life, I had other priorities. Starting a new job didn’t go as smoothly as I imagined it would. Plus my lack of social life didn’t exactly help to lift up my mood and create that mental space I felt I needed for writing. There were some lonely, yet Netflix filled weeks.
You might be thinking — well that’s life honey. And it’s true, life is nothing but a bunch of highs and lows, and there is always going to be something to interfere with your plans. But I guess it is also about learning that everything has its time and place, and sometimes waiting for the right time instead of forcibly pushing for something to happen might give you a better outcome. And here I am— 6 months into this adventure called moving to Lisbon.
So back in July last year, I booked my one-way ticket to Lisbon. What seemed like the most abrupt, irresponsible, and impulsive decision, was actually cultivated in my mind for quite some time. Maybe even forever.
It wasn’t much about moving to Portugal as much as it was about being on the move. Keep changing where I was, who was around me, and ultimately who I am.
I have just come back from 3 crazy and incredible years in Australia. It was also where I realized how much I love change. Not just any change, like getting a hair cut or going wild and ordering Mocha instead of your usual Latte. It was the big changes that fascinated me. The ones that completely shake up your life. Like, well, moving to a country across the globe you have never visited before without knowing anyone. That kind of change. Fresh start. Clean slate.
You can say Australia was my trial period of a new way of life that deep down I always knew I wanted. It was my first step out of home and into the unknown; and man, it was one hell of a leap.
Whether it was moving from one place to the other. Meeting new people. Learning about cultures and languages that have never crossed my mind before. It was something that I found myself more and more attracted to. It was embracing, while also challenging, the idea of what is home.
Fast-forwarding 3 years (minus 6 months), I was once again ready to start over. I was ready for another new beginning. And so my Lisbon plan began to form shape.
“And suddenly you just know it’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.”
For most people, changes are scary. In the stability vs. change match, we almost always tend to cheer for stability. Stability is that responsible friend who will hold your hair while you generously share your breakfast (lunch and dinner) with the club’s toilet seat, while change is probably the one who convinced you to take that 10th tequila shot while rambling something about how when life gives you lemons reach for the tequila and salt. I think.
Changes are usually something we try to avoid. They’re uncomfortable and require us to make an effort. They catch us off guards, force us to face our biggest fears, and push us outside our comfort zone — and who doesn't like comfort zones? THEY’RE COMFY AFTER ALL.
New beginnings have a sense of freedom mixed with discomfort.
But changes can also be extremely addictive.
There is something exciting about navigating the streets of a new place, knowing it will soon become home. That bit of newness is like an adrenaline shot. It fills you up with energy ready to explore the endless possibilities a new place holds, the different people you’ll meet, and the culture you have yet to discover. Starting your little community from scratch.
I became addicted to this feeling. I became addicted to the fears and challenges it bears. But also to the sense of accomplishment and belonging it ended up bringing. This brief moment when I felt as if I have found my place in this world was worth every single emotional or mental obstacle I had to overcome. A passing, yet beautiful, feeling of home.
I learned to appreciate these sweet victories over loneliness and embrace them as they happen. But almost as quickly to also let them go, and patiently wait for the next ones to come. Because, once again, that is all they are — brief moments.
Maybe looking for a ‘home’ isn’t finding that one place, but always embracing the little moments we feel as we belong?
And new beginnings, they set the ground for that.