We were relaxing on the coach one evening and my phone rang. I joyfully picked it up and she said, “I just booked my dream trip to Portugal. I have my flights and most of the accommodation booked. You would just need to get your flight. I know you have so much going on, but is there any way you could join me?”
My husband, hearing the whole conversion, looked at me with wide eyes nodding and saying, “You need to go. You need to go.”
I said, Jamie - one of my bestest friends in all of this world, who I lived with for over four years in college, who for the last decade we’ve lived in completely different places, yet every time we get together, we pick up right where we left off, “I don’t know how I’m going to make this work, but girl, you better believe I will make it work.”
We giggidy hung up. I looked at Dan and said, “Are you sure?” He said, “Yes, please go. You need to go.”
For the coming weeks, I started to dream.
Starting making small moves to turn this new dream, into a reality.
I looked at my calendar. I figured out the dates that I could go, 4 days short of her two week trip. I blocked them out on my calendar. I had a few small meetings, that I immediately rescheduled.
I began talking to my husband, Dan and my parents to see if they were on board. And how things could look. What would be most supportive for everyone. As after-all, Dan has been in Paramedic school since January of this year (2023) and I hold down the fort Monday - Friday as he is quite literally gone. We came up with a plan, pretty quickly.
Most importantly, I started looking at how I would even fund this. Let’s be real, money has been tight as Dan’s in school, I’m transitioning my business and we only have help with the babes three days a week.
I researched flights.
Started a Pinterest board.
Even started a dream outfit cart from my favorite online shop, Lulus.
Then, my world slowed, and actually came to a halt about a month later. Just as I was about to buy my ticket, we experienced the biggest blizzard of a century. For weeks, my whole life was quite literally turned upside down. What started as a beautiful storm, turned into a very scary and catastrophic one, very quickly as we were declared a State of Emergency and began having the national guard come in, FEMA, it all - oh, was it jolting.
I had just, the day before, called Jamie to tell her I was going to buy my ticket. Two weeks later, when I could breathe again and resurfaced from the storm, I messaged her, “Girl, I've been rocked and haven’t had a chance to book my ticket, but don't worry, its happening.” She replied with, “You take care of you.”
As my world started to resume post blizzard, so too did the magical moments begin flickering in.
The nudges from the universe began getting louder.
One Saturday morning, just a month before we were supposed to leave, I found my flights. I looked at them, over and over again. I showed Dan, over and over again. I called my parents, over and over again.
Oh my gosh, is this happening?
I can’t be gone for 8 days.
8 days is too long.
What if something happens while I’m on the plane ride and no one can get ahold of me?
I can’t go.
It’s too far.
Who am I kidding, I can’t do this.
Orion will be so upset with me when I get home.
Is Dan really on board?
These were a few of the thoughts and questions I had while staring at my flight, credit card in hand, Dan saying, “Just book it already.” I said, “I can’t. This anxiety is too bad.”
I quickly got up, went into my office and immediately grabbed one of my favorite decks of cards. I knew in this moment, spirit would guide me. Holding the cards in my hand, I said, “Universe, my guides, protectors, creators, please tell me when I need to know about Portugal. Am I meant to go to Portugal with Jamie from April 15th - 23rd?” I knocked my deck and began shuffling. A card flew out. The yard, “YESSSSSSSSSS. A million yesses.”
I began laughing. Dan smirking because he knew what I was doing.
I came out of my office and said, “I’m going.” I immediately booked my flight, called my girl, we squealed like little girls. I screamed, “Mama’s going to Portugal.”
Over the coming weeks, I turned my fear into courage through action.
The week of, I packed the car to the brim.
Every being, coming with their manual.
Arrived at my parents house.
We got our nails done.
Nearly bought out Trader Joes with every fun treat Orion wanted.
I printed my itinerary.
And on that Saturday morning, hugged my girl good-bye, drove away crying big mama tears, spending the morning shooting the most magical families at the most inspiring locations in LA and a few hours later, boarded my first flight.
A 10 hour trip to Paris. It was surprisingly quick and smooth. Had some dinner, a couple glasses of wine. Put on a movie and quickly fell asleep (so grateful to have an aisle seat with no one to the left of me). I woke up and we landed in Paris. A few hours at the airport. And then onto a two hour flight, landing me in Lisbon Portugal.
While on that flight, I intentionally spent time connecting with a new deck I bought just for this trip and really setting my intentions for this sacred, 8 day trip. What did I want to embody? How did I want to show up? What did I need to support myself while there?
I landed. Jamie had arranged for a driver to pick me up. On facetime with my girl, I walk out and quickly saw Carlos, my driver. We walk to his van and I jump right in the front seat. He looked at me a little startled, I said, “Is this okay?” He said, “Of course.” I kissed my girl good-bye and Carlos and I chatted about everything from the country, to politics, to working wages, who even knows. It was a quick 20 minute drive that was the most beautiful welcome. I arrived, Jamie waiting outside our apartment in the most vibrant long blue beautiful dress. I wave profusely from the van, she jumps up with a smile that literally could puncture someone's soul (in the best possible way).
We went upstairs, I quickly showered and got dressed, deeply aware of what time sunset was, ensuring we didn’t miss it. We walked out and I cried. I was there. This quick dream turned into an even quicker reality.
We spent that first night, walking around, eating the most glorious pizzas, and sharing a bottle of wine. Walking around some more. Listening to Fado music. And doing what we do best, picking up right where we left off.
Below are our days and the best recount I have of the magic present :
The magic, I can best describe was presence, full presence.
The scenery, was absolutely breathtaking.
The food, truly divine.
The county and its people, some of the kindest, most welcoming.
The friendship at hand, truly a synergy I had dreamed of - a seeing, a knowing, a supporting, a joyous laughter filled love, connection and union. So much so, I peed my pants from laughing so hard (more than one occasion).
Day 1 : Sunday [Lisbon]
Day 2 : Monday [Lisbon]
We woke early, went to the most glorious breakfast and quite literally spent the entire day walking around the city. Stopping in small shops, having a drink in the park, stumbling across a local artisan market, eating, drinking, laughing, breathing, exploring.
Day 3 : Tuesday [Sintra]
We woke even earlier and took the train to Sintra. The most magical little city. We spent all morning exploring the sacred grounds of Quinta de Regaleira. And then all afternoon, getting lost on public transportation to eventually take a tuktuk to a lovely little beach town known as Cascais where we shared Rose while nesting on the warm sand.
Day 4 : Wednesday [Porto]
We packed and boarded our 3.5 train ride to head from Lisbon to Porto. This was our "boujee" day where we stayed in a really nice hotel, went to a fancy dinner and bar hopped around the city! Absolutely divine.
Day 5 : Thursday [Porto]
We explored the city, checked-into our Air BnB, had sunset drinks and a walk, an early dinner and movie in bed!
Day 6 : Friday [Porto]
It rained all day and created the most perfect experience for a day of wine tasting at the local Wine School where we were guided in a private wine tasting and educating of all the insanely yummy wines of Portugal. We ended the day with a sunset walk around the city - the sky showing off after a day full of rain!
Day 7 : Saturday [Lisbon]
I took the train and headed back to Lisbon for one last night in the city before boarding my flight early the next morning!
Day 8 : Sunday [Travel Day - back to the U.S.]