Just off the coast off Portugal, smack dab in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, you’ll find nine volcanic islands that are said to be remnants from the lost city of Atlantis. I’ve found throughout my life that most people don’t actually know these islands exist until I tell them that 50 percent of my heritage emerges from such mysterious lands. Before immigrating over to the United States when he was one, this was the birthplace of my father – the island of Sao Miguel to be exact. We traveled as a family when I was about eight years old so needless to say our recent trip there was approached with wide-eyed wonder, as memories from our previous trip certainly weren’t forgotten but a bit blurry. I have come to appreciate the true joy in traveling in the last year – how I grow with each new destination and walk away with new perceptions. And this awareness undoubtedly brings better understanding and marvel.
But despite what may be perceived from the abundance of exotic landscapes and travel pictures that so often occupy our feeds, I’ve found traveling isn’t always filled with picturesque moments. And that’s perfectly ok. Just like in “normal” life, you can’t have ups without some downs no matter where you are on this planet.
There were a few family arguments, more rain than sunshine (the worst weather the islands had seen in 40 years), and veganism just isn’t a thing on this island.
Still it was the utmost pleasure to witness the breathtaking nature here while getting in touch with my Portuguese culture – one that has still managed to hold on to so many of its traditions despite the worldwide onslaught of technology and industry. Never had I seen so much green in my life. Luscious gardens. Rolling hills. Thick forests. Vibrant hydrangeas. Skyscraper trees. Not to mention the sweetest pineapple I have ever tasted.
If this trip has taught me anything, it’s another reminder of how astoundingly vast this earth is. And even if there was some unfriendly weather and brief moments of frustration, a sense of wander and appreciation for this planet should never be forgotten. And stepping out of the comforts of our everyday existence is uncomfortable for a reason, as we are reminded just how lucky we truly are.
Obrigada for the perspective and the scenery, Sao Miguel. You’re one hell of a beauty.