How to cope with life when you hit a crossroad?
How to cope with life when you hit a crossroad? What do you do, when life pushes you around like an autumn leaf swirling to the rhythm of the chaotic wind, not knowing where it will take you next? Not knowing what to do…?
It was past 7pm when I landed in Lisbon after a life changing trip through south East Asia. That was my 3rd trip to Asia and somehow I always feel at home there.
I was truly happy through every country I visited, through every culture I experienced, through every delicious vegan dish I tried.
And then life played a tricked on me, sucking me back to the place I wanted so much to escape. Forced me to return to my home country; filled with sad memories of a year that felt like an emotional torture, sparkled with a few moments of light.
Here I am again. It’s dark and warm in Lisbon. I’m so tired… I’m so tired I can’t even bother taking public transportation to my mother’s house, I take a taxi which I never did before.
After a short chat, I lock myself in the room, and turn the tv on. I just want to watch a movie and sleep. I feel so miserable to be back, predicting what is awaiting for me.
As I skip through channels, a movie with Julia Roberts grabs my attention… Ohh, and I haven’t see that one yet…
As I watch it, tears start falling from my eyes. It was the true story of a woman who went through an intense break up with her partner and ran away; first to Italy, then to South East Asia, in search for herself again.
She found the joy of self nurturing through food in Italy. She searched for herself through prayer in India, and once she dropped the old baggage and made space for the new to enter her life… she found true love in Bali.
If I could resume my trip to Asia, I would say It was all about eating and praying. I prayed every single day to have the strength to go forward despite the enormous emptiness I felt. I prayed for courage, for the ability to push through… I prayed like I had never prayed before. And although I don’t believe in any God, I prayed…..
That was also the story of my life, literally. Eat. Pray. Love. Is love what comes next?
The reason I returned was the fact that I rented my apartment in southern Portugal (Algarve) before I headed to Asia, as a way of having a small source of income.
But 3 months after signing the contract, and once I was already in Asia, the tenant stopped paying and disappeared. I was 100% dependent on that money. I knew something was very wrong, and according to previous experiences I knew I had to return immediately. My time in Asia was cut short.
My fears were confirmed. The guy payed the first months to get a key and once he had access to my apartment he did as he pleased. There were actually 10 men living here for free, trashing the place. When I arrived, they were still using it.
According to Portuguese law, people can live LEGALLY without paying rent for 3 months, in which the landlord is NOT allowed to disturb the occupiers or enter his own house. All rights are on the hands of the occupiers, and there’s absolutely nothing the owner of the place could possibly do.
I called the police twice, the first one they didn’t come, said it was not their problem. The second one they gave me trouble.
I grabbed an old key and entered my place, knowing there could be people living still inside, just to find a completely desolated scene. Part of my furniture was broken apart, destroyed or stolen.
I couldn’t hold the tears. The police arrived and I could not even talk. I was in absolute shock. My house had been vandalized and robbed one more time by tenants. Soon after, I get a really rough reprehension by the police who warns me what I’m doing is illegal and the occupiers have all the right to press charges against me now, for trespassing and theft if any of their belongings disappear. They took notes of my crime so the occupiers can press charges against me later on. Did I bite my own tale by calling the cops? Absolutely and I’ve learned my lesson.
Being Portuguese and living the 18 years of my life here have taught me that right and wrong is sometimes, very often here, disconnected to what is legal and illegal. Well, if getting my place back is illegal,then be it.
I want to believe that maybe there’s a reason why I’m here. Maybe my time in Asia was done and there’s something greater waiting for me around here. Maybe out of every door that closes there’s another one that opens…??? I immediately started fantasizing about turning my place into a travelers house, where people could temporarily rent a room here and explore this beautiful part of the country.
That exciting feeling kept growing as I spent the days cleaning up the broken pieces. I can add my place to AirB&B, welcome travelers and tourists, do something really amazing in this place. Maybe that’s why I returned. I had been craving for a place to settle and call home, why not bring the world to me?
As much as I hate the Lisbon area, I love the southern Portuguese coast where my place is located. The beach right next to me, the calm and gentle sun. People here are friendly, they take the time to greet you. Southern Portugal really is a magic place.
Desolated with my constant bad luck, my neighbors have been searching for trusted people to whom I could rent my apartment. I hit a crossroad…. Of wanting to stay and build a community, a safe house for travelers and small source of income for me, and the reality of life: my bank account is empty and I’m desperately broke after this. Soon, I won’t have enough money to eat.
I’m on the crossroads of building a nest and a dream here vs. facing reality, packing my stuff after fixing the place and leave. Rent it to some stranger and wander around the world homeless like I’ve done most of my adult life.
Everything in life has a reason to be. Everything happens at the right time, at the right place. I’m wondering what the surprises will bring for me. That’s the message what I’m trying to figure out now.
If there’s something I brought with me from Asia was the belief, that at the end everything will be alright.
WHAT DO YOU THINK I SHOULD DO?