Some people come into our lives for a reason
Some people come into our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime, there’s no doubt about that..
Have you noticed? Sometimes people enter your life and change absolutely all the perspectives you had about the world and yourself.
As much as I love traveling outwards, the real experience comes from traveling inwards. As much as the old streets of Bucharest, the buzzing vibe of Manhattan or that quiet paradise beach in the Philippines turns me on, this journey called life is what I’ve been chasing all along.
And my outer and inner travels have been so deeply intertwined I can barely dissociate one from another. I owe everything I am to the people I’ve met and the places I’ve visited. Every single experience molded me to the human being I became.
When I left home as a teenager in 1998, before internet had swamped the culture in Portugal, I was a blank canvas waiting to be painted. I had been an uncontrollable rebel, with an untamed personality who never settled for conformity. A girl who questioned incessantly every attempted of society to convince me into settling down into a routine like life of consumption and emptiness. My parents looked at me as a force of nature they’d never be able to control, boycotting me the only way they could: financially.
Without a bank account and no money on my pocket, I took a flight to London on a leap of faith. That would be my first experience abroad as a solo female traveler and I was terrified. I was so scared, I remember locking myself in the airplane’s bathroom and crying. I cried so much I felt nauseous. But once I landed i got my shit together and put a smile on my face. That was the day my outer travels met my inner journey. That was the day that people who i thought were randomly entering my life, started molding me to the shape and form I am right now.
And if you think the journey of life is easy, you’re ought for disappointment. The journey is neither easy or hard, it is exactly the way it needs to be for you to grow. Every person will challenge you, helping you reach your greatest potential, or force you to meditate over your ability to say no, to stand up for yourself, to rise above adversity.
And so it was for me. My very first attempt abroad was a complete “failure”. When i returned to Portugal, I was greeted with: “I told you it wouldn’t work out. Your place is here. Get a job and settle down.”
So I had to ask myself: what action shall I take that is in alignment with my dreams and desires? I knew I couldn’t allow a negative first experience to define my choices. And at a very deep level, I knew that every single experience was preparing me for the next big adventure.
Since that day in 1998, I have lived with different host families around the world. I joined a hippy community, got completely immersed in the Eco-village and communal living style. Went for Monday Polyamorous dinners for months just to find out how monogamous I was. Squatted houses for over 9 years, in Portugal, London and Barcelona. Got seriously involved in the counter culture and activist movement in Europe and USA. Cooked and served vegan food for homeless people in the streets of Charllotsville and Richmond. Fell in love and left everything behind to follow my heart. Traveled all Europe by train with no money on my pocket. Slept in beaches, abandoned buildings, squatts and forests. Climbed Europe’s most active volcano. Visited an ancient Roman brothel in the old city of Pompeii. Ate the best Italian pizzas in Italy, the best Barszcz soups in Poland, the best salads in Myanmar, tried Pad Thai in Thailand, couldn’t get over the curries in India and went nuts with the mongo soups in the Philippines. Flew over the skies of Catalonia in a hot air balloon. Saw the Alpes from my bedroom window. Contemplated the Himalayas from my terrace. Petted sacred cows in India. Prayed in Buddhist temples in Myanmar. Felt an incredible spiritual call at a mosque in Istanbul. Got sexually harassed in Malaysia. Witnessed tremendous amount of poverty in Asia. Saw tremendous amounts of waste in the west. Made friends from every nationality. Made love in the most creative and surreal places. Laughed… Cried… Felt empowered…. Felt vulnerable… Felt loved…. Loved unconditionally… Hugged a lot… Lived life to the fullest, with all my heart and all my strengths.
What if I would have quit after the very first failure in London? What if I had allowed fear to rule my decisions? My life would have been deprived of the tremendous value thousands of people brought into my life. From every country I’ve visited, from every adventure I’ve lived, from every shared room, every long bus ride, every bonfire somewhere…
Fast forward 17 years and I find myself at my friend Eric’s place. A cozy and welcoming apartment in central Lisbon, surrounded by a multi-cultural group of people who gathered at the same time and same place to celebrate the 2016 new Year.
“People come into our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime” – tells me the wise and fun Iranian traveler sitting in front of me across the table. – “Some of them will leave a huge mark in our lives, some of them will challenge all our perspectives about the world” – she ads with a smile.
“I know” – I confess, while holding a cup of warm Jasmine tea, prepared by our host, Eric. – “Some will even treat us disrespectfully, abusively or violently; they might however, be the teachers we need in order to learn about self respect, self empowerment. Same goes for the ones who seem to only bring us joy and happiness. They’re the ones who remind us that life is worth living!” – I tell her with a smile – “and I’ve been getting a few of those lately.”
The fragrances of our last meal impregnate Eric’s kitchen. It’s funny how four complete strangers (with the exception of Eric, my good friend) could have come together for such inspiring and deep spiritual conversations on the last night of 2015. Are we all going through a vortex? A massive change of direction?
“I can see how perfectly everyone has entered and exited my life in the last few couple of years. I can even realize now, how people who had initially brought nothing but sorrow, would have a tremendous impact on how I held myself up high. I never thought I would ever say this, but I’m even grateful for people who radically changed my path, like that horrendous tenant who forced me back to Portugal when I was basically settled in Asia. Without him, I would have never returned on time to meet a few people I needed to meet right now ” – I tell Zahra while taking small sips of hot tea – ” It really seems to me that whenever we’re ready, the master will come. And by master, I mean the people who will carry the next big lesson in life; either for a reason, a season or a LIFETIME!
The fireworks start outside! It’s 00:00 and a new Year is ahead of me. Ahead of you. Grab every chance wih both your hands and thank every person for every lesson!