Monday, May 5, 2014

Unexpected Adventures

A couple weekend's back, I had such a typical "me" traveling experience. I went with two of my Italian friends to Portugal with a tent, sleeping bags and backpacks, and zero plan other than camping out at the beach in Faro, Portugal. What we ended up doing and experiencing was so much different than what we originally set out thinking, but proved to be such a blessing, and was time spent beautifully, as well as a reminder to just go with the flow and stay open to everything that comes along.

After arriving at Plaza de Armas (the bus station in Sevilla) on Friday afternoon, we found out the bus we intended to take to Faro was already full. So we looked into other options, and learned that we could take a different bus in just over an hour, and decided to take it, but get off in Tavira, about 40 minutes before Faro.We figured we could always make our way to Faro the next day, and that since we had a tent, we could sleep anywhere we wanted.

In Tavira, there's a little, nearly virgin island, and they have a boat that takes people back and forth all day long. We asked around, and learned that the campsite on the island was closed, but that if we just set up the tent for a night we wouldn't be bothered since it's not really the camping season yet and no police would pass. So, continuing with our going and flowing motion, we headed to the dock. And, since we were just going and flowing, not getting caught up on this or that along the way, it was no surprise we made it to the dock just five minutes before the last boat would be crossing to the island. Which worked out perfectly, because we definitely didn't have enough food or drink rations to last us on an island till the next afternoon. So we bought a couple sandwiches and beers apiece at the bar, and then loaded up for our big adventure!

Of the six people on the boat over to the island (a trip that costs 1.50€ round trip and takes about 5 minutes), two were working the boat, and three were us. When we arrived to the island, it was completely empty, aside from some fishermen finishing up their day down by the mini lighthouse. We took a short walk, looking for where we´d set up camp and make our home, and ended up on top of a flat dune right on the beach. It was perfect. We relaxed, roamed the beach, ate, watched the stars come out, and enjoyed each other´s company. Then, we turned in for the night.

The next morning was just as relaxed as the night before, even though someone came by to tell us we couldn't use a tent on the beach. We spent the day at the beach, and then decided to stroll through the town, have lunch, and then catch the bus to Faro. After 45 minutes, we arrived in Faro to continue our "finde sin plan" (weekend without a plan). We weren´t sure there was even a campsite in Faro, but we didn´t really care, because we knew there was a beach and that we had a tent. We asked around, learned there was a campsite, but that it was closed, but that again, if we set up a tent on the beach in a certain area, no one would bother us about it. So we caught a cab to the beach (about 10-15 minutes away by car, 15-20€ in a taxi), and started the trek to what we would call our home for the night.

At Faro Beach, there is a small-yet-expansive collection of magical little beach homes. Many belong to fishermen, and most are rented out during the summer to people coming to stay at the beach. They line the beach, and there is one small, narrow road that runs between them. There are restaurants, bars, and a mini market, but once you get to a certain point, it´s nearly all little beach homes. They are so literally beach homes, that the sand from the beach, is actually running up to the front doors. I saw sandbags in front of the entry ways to keep the sand from pouring into the entrance as it is at this house:

As we were walking, we arrived to the part where the street ends, and a wooden path begins, leading you to the beach. We had noticed a guy sitting in a beanbag chair outside his house in the sun, and after we´d walked a few minutes, started to hear someone yelling, "Guys! Guys! Come here!" We turned and made our way back, and then he asked us if we were planning on camping, and upon us saying yes, told us we could stay at his place for the night if we wanted. So after exchanging stares, thinking to ourselves, and going over the scenario, we accepted the offer and we went with it!

It ended up being the current home of a Portuguese guy and a Colombian guy (a Frenchie as well who was, of course, in Sevilla for the weekend), finishing a masters in Faro about marine biology, and it ended up being a fully-blessed experience!

By the time night had fallen, we had covered such a range of topics, that I was speaking to my friends, and we all agreed that it felt like we'd been staying with them the entire week, at least. Two amazing guys, incredibly motivated, and dripping with passion. It was so cool to see a couple people who are so amped on doing something to help the planet, and living lives that are full of experiences and learning. Any initial doubts any of us might have had vanished with each passing conversation and thing we learned.

The next day, I spent a couple hours talking with one of the guys, and we hit on some pretty heavy conversation topics. We talked about conservation, sharks (his thesis topic), the world and her population, religion, and one topic that we had more in common that anyone could have guessed upon our chance meeting -- nearly identical ex [gf/bf] situations. And it was in this conversation, that I really let myself open up. I hadn't talked about the situation with my ex to anyone else the way I did with him. I haven't ever asked anyone some of the heavy questions that I asked him. And what I learned, was that I am not alone.

Of course it shouldn't have taken that conversation for me to realize or know it, but it did. It took me asking someone else if they had moments like I had been having to know that ok, I am ok, I am not losing my mind, and no, I am not the only one who deals with this set of circumstances. Quite egotistical to think I would be, and had I stopped being so emotion-driven, I would have been able to reach this conclusion, hell, I probably already had, but to actually hear another person say it, see it in their eyes, I really knew. And something about that conversation, that opening of the wounds, bearing them to a stranger, and sharing it all, has helped me really get on the path of healing.

Since that, I have entered into my old ways of thinking -- positive, loving, guided in the bright direction. More importantly, now I actually care about guiding my thoughts in the positive direction. I didn't even realize before that I was depressed, but now that I can feel the difference in my thoughts and Being, I realize how far I was from my usual self.

It's amazing, really, to think about all that came out of a situation that all began with:
"Hey, we're going camping in Portugal this weekend, do you want to come?" "Yeah, I've got nothing to do, let's do it! What's the plan?" "We're going without one." "Perfect, let's do it."

Just another example of why it pays to stay open!

The sunset in Faro from the beach <3

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