After graduating I volunteered in Nepal and that showed me a part of the world which I didn’t know before, and had a big effect on me. I came back to Portugal and worked for a multinational company for 2 years in IT, which was the worst experience of my entire life, and when I quit, I bought a ticket to India, which was the place which really made me fall in love with travelling and with living a different kind of life. Before moving to Southwest Alentejo I did a 22 month trip, which really shaped me into the person I am today: I realized I can do whatever I want in my life, there is no limit, and this was the greatest lesson in my life – I challenged myself and I want to inspire others to push their boundaries and go out of their comfort zones as well. But I also realized that I really wanted to come back to my own country and do something meaningful for myself and for Portugal. Travelling is very important but after a certain period of time it is pointless, because you’re not creating or producing anything. My higher purpose still is to be happy, but I like to think along the way you leave something or you help to build something.
I was privileged to participate in the Rota Vicentina project from the beginning, I’m very proud of that and I feel blessed. This is actually what defines me as someone who now lives here. I like to see myself as a citizen of the world, I love talking and engaging with people, so it is really good to be able to work in tourism and to have this opportunity to be in contact with so many people from different countries. Hiking is my passion whenever I go travelling I go hiking, and then I can return to my country and be involved in a team which is developing a walking route. It has given me the opportunity to work on something which I am passionate about, Rota Vicentina is part of me, and I am part of Rota Vicentina, this can never be taken away.
I was born in Lisbon but have been living in this area for almost ten years. I love going back to Lisbon and feel almost like a tourist, but I could never imagine myself living in such a big city again. I enjoy here having no traffic, feeling free, being able to go swimming when I want, and to take a micro-holiday: it can be one hour or one afternoon of holiday, but I like that I can do that and that this region provides that quality of life.
I enjoy having different parallel projects running at the same time, but I want to have more free time, to be able to travel and to be more and more contemplative again. I would like to be able to exercise that privilege of travelling, when I can spend several months in another country and let myself go and disconnect. The countries I have travelled in so far have taught me to feel blessed for every single day in my life: to live it and accept it as it is. In Nepal and India people don’t have the standard of living we’re used to in the West, and they are happy, because they accept that every day is a blessing, and they value every single thing that they have. I think we spend way too much time not loving our lives.
The photos were taken by Machados beach.