I had very little expectations for Portugal. None, actually. Other than some sunshine. This is probably considering the fact that I booked tickets and tentatively "planned" my trip two days before boarding the plane. I left Colorado and flew to London where I had a short and sweet layover before boarding my flight to Lisbon, Portugal.
By the time I made it to Lisbon, I had spent over 15 hours flying and 1.5 days on airplanes and in airports. I reeked of recycled air and was desperately in need of some good drinking water. (I flew Norweigan Air to London from the mainland and was so so so disappointed that once I finished my Kangen water from my Hydoflask, they refused to re-fill up my own water bottle with drinking water, as they sold plastic water bottles on board and it "defeated the purpose" according to the flight attendant I spoke with. "Defeated the purpose of what exactly?" I wanted to ask. There were small plastic cups with drinking water being served every 10 seconds on board and hundreds of plastic straws and cutlery dropped among the plane floor by the time I disembarked.)
I met my friend Matt as soon as I landed in the Lisbon airport and was so happy to see a familiar face (and have someone help me manage my bags). Matt and I jumped on the metro and only managed to miss our arrival stop once before hoping on the return train and trying once more. We lugged our bags from the metro to the bus stop until we made it close enough to our hostel to hop in a quick taxi and finally arrive (put my backpack down, most importantly.) We stayed at a "surfer's hostel" in the heart of Lisbon city called Surfgasm that was simple and relatively clean. The owner Joe was a sweetheart. Unfortunately for me, who was lugging the weight of two dead carcasses in my backpack, the hostel was located on the fifth floor of a five story walk up and I was already mentally preparing what I was going to permanently eliminate from my bag by the time we hit the third floor. (The converse were one of the first things to do. Can't be bothered to lug around heavy shoes when I rarely end up wearing them anyway).
SLEEP DEPRIVED IN A SLEEPY CITY
We only spent 1.5 days in Lisbon, but I enjoyed our time there more than I thought I would have. I am not at all a city person, so Lisbon didn't really seem like it would be my groove, but the quiet, cobblestone streets, light, white city landscape with terra cotta roofs and fast paced murmur of Portuguese spoken by the locals throughout the city streets was the perfect balance of upbeat and laid back at the same time. We spent the first day roaming the streets to find a Black Coffee concert in the local city park, and ended up getting lost .... six times before managing to hop in the back of a car with two local men in search of the same show. Tickets ended up being sold out by the time we got to line, so we headed back to our hostel and spent the evening eating olives and vegetable entrees at a small little Portuguese cafe tucked on a side street while the sun set in the sky.
I barely slept that night, as the jet lag had officially hit in and our stuffy hostel bedroom had the most adorable little wooden window above the bed that you wouldn't dare to close at night. Open glass window meant beautiful city top view, fresh air, light breeze, and the sound of Portuguese teens drinking until 4 in the morning while they sang Rihanna "Sex With Me" again and again and again until one of them lost their voice or my abundance of direct mental messages to "please please please stop singing now" were finally received. I have a video on my iPhone that I recorded at 3:30 am documenting the ridiculously loud karaoke as I half hung out the hostel window and couldn't help but laugh at how exhausted I was.
Matt and I spent the next morning going for a long run throughout Lisbon city and jogging up and down small cobble stone alleys and streets in the early morning. I loved how silent the city was. No honking, no fast cars, no sirens or blaring music. There were people and vehicles all around us, but all of the chaos and city hustle effortlessly felt like background noise. We ate the most delicious fresh, warm, gluten-free toast, jam and fresh green juice ("no plastic straws, in a glass cup please!") at a nearby cafe and then headed back to the hostel mid day to organize our bags and decide on our next adventure. Soon enough we were in an Uber headed to the Rede Express bus stop to board a four hour bus from Lisbon to Lagos. We ended up having to wait an hour and a half until the next bus (with two available seats) rocked out so we piled our bags on the floor and sat amongst the small mountain of our belongings on the concrete while we caught up on journaling and people watching.
After our sleepy four hour bus ride came to an end, Matt and I walked off the bus in Lagos and were immediately approached by a local woman who asked us if we had accommodation booked for that evening. "No, as a matter of fact. We don't." She eagerly guided us to her "very nice, very clean double room accommodation" that she swore we would love. "Love" she actually used the word. We followed her about 2 miles up the road as we lugged along a few steps behind her with bags, and packs and yoga mats in hand. The room ended up being more like a dark dungeon, and less like a bedroom (Marissa, if you're reading this, I want you to picture the airport "hotel" we stayed in Sri Lanka, but 2x worse, if that's even possible.) We did not "love" the room at all, to say the least. We quickly dodged that bullet and decided we'd sit down for an early Indian dinner and use the restaurant wifi to book a place while we ate. We feasted on pappadoms, mango chutney, dahl and vegetable curry while booking one night's stay at an over-priced AIR BNB apartment down the road. New accomodation, same mediocre night's sleep. I have yet to shake the jetlag at this point. We woke up, sorted our bags and once again.. searched for affordable accommodation in the Lagos area (which was presenting itself to be much more difficult than we anticipated.) We finally tracked down a beach hostel called "Big Chill" right outside central Lagos (which I wouldn't exactly reccomend, personally) and have spent the last two days hanging here and cruising around the near by area by bare foot.
SURROUNDED BY THE MASSES IN LAGOS
Lagos is beautiful. Right on the water. Incredible coastal views. Adorable, cobblestone town center filled with a variety of restaurants, bars, cafes, churches and shops. Not only does Lagos appeal to the restaurant goers and vacation shoppers, it attracts beach goers from around the globe. Lagos has an array of massive, (relatively) clean, hot summery beaches, that are absolutely stunning, but touristy. So so so touristy. It's a bit ridiculous. Off-putting may be another word I would use.
We have enjoyed our time here so far, long runs on the beach, foraging the sweetest fresh figs on the side of the dirt paths, walking around the long cobble stone roads and amongst the colorful, aged buildings and chipped-paint churches, but are feeling like we cannot escape the slews of tourist families sipping on beers, beef burgers and pepsi sodas at 10 am and enjoying their third junk ice cream cone by mid afternoon. It feels a little too Miami/Waikiki for my personal preference.
On a positive note, the beaches are scattered with the most beautiful pieces of cracked and flattened seashells and ocean treasures that have washed ashore over time. The vibrant clay colors of the sea shells reflect those on the roofs of the near by homes and buildings. On another positive note, you can tan naked on the beach. Which is also totally my jam.
FINDING FREQUENCIES IN BIG CHILL
Today we went for a long morning walk to the nearby Algor bay and ran 6K on the beach before going for a chilly dip in the Atlantic sea. Matt saw a sea snake and practically peed his board shorts. We stopped at a local grocery store on the way back and stocked up on fresh squeezed OJ, plums, peaches, coconut milk and all necessary ingredients to make a proper avocado toast for brunch. We cooked up mushrooms, tomatoes and baked beans in the hostel kitchen and sat outside in the shade listening to techno music from the hostel's speakers while we ate.
After completing a few work emails and international phone calls, we threw on our board shorts and bikinis and made the mission to the nearby beach which was at absolute maximum tourist capacity. We found a *relatively* quiet zone and soaked in some sunshine while I chipped away at the last few chapters of "Journey to Awakening" by Ram Dass (one of the books listed as required reading for my meditation coaching course beginning tomorrow evening!) Once the sun began to set behind the massive sea cliffs, we enjoyed a beach mediation and then slowly mozied back home to our hostel for a cold shower and some de-compression time. Matt and I have been listening to hours of various Solfeggio scale frequencies via Youtube on my bluetooth speaker recently (they appear to be the only thing helping me fall asleep on the random hostel mattresses these nights) and I have been loving them so much. Solfeggio frequencies make up the ancient 6-tone scale used in sacred music and chants throughout history. The chants and their special tones are believed to impart spiritual blessings when sung or played in harmony. Each Solfeggio tone is comprised of a frequency required to balance your energy and keep your body, mind and spirit in perfect harmony. The tones are: 396, 417, 528, 639, 741 and 852.
The main six Solfeggio frequencies are:
396 Hz – Liberating Guilt and Fear
417 Hz – Undoing Situations and Facilitating Change
528 Hz – Transformation and Miracles (DNA Repair)
639 Hz – Connecting/Relationships
741 Hz – Expression/Solutions
852 Hz – Returning to Spiritual Order
I recommend downloading these frequencies on your laptop or smart phone so you can listen to them offline, while running, sleeping, traveling abroad or even flying overseas. These frequencies are powerful for emotional detox as well as releasing anxiety and the feeling of being unsettled. I've been playing these frequencies while I enjoy my self practice each day on my yoga mat (on the sandy hostel floor) and have felt immense calmness and clarity while meditating and simply being these past few days bouncing from one location from the next.
You can listen to some of these frequencies by clicking on the images below
Three times throughout the course of the week, I have experienced flashes of indigo/purple light flares come to me while meditating here in Portugal. Yesterday on the beach, the flashes of purple light were consistent throughout my entire mediation (which is not common.) I'm not sure if this has something to do with the Solfeggio frequencies I have been listening to consistently over the last few days, or the new environment I am in.
I came home to the hostel and immediately hopped on the internet. I looked up the the blue, indigo and violent colors as well as the auras that are affiliated with these colors. I came across this information below.
THE COLOR VIOLET
The color violet represents transformation of the self or of some aspect of your life into a higher form. Connecting to your higher self. The color violet represents an "I am God" presence.
Aura: This color in the aura is the highest vibration for the human spirit. A person who is in command of his life and energy. A visionary. Violet with a gold outline is a person who is one with spirit and God and is in service to mankind.
Healing: Connecting to spirit, the opening of the third eye, the clearing of the head, purging the auric field of distortions.
THE COLOR BLUE
Blue is the energy of pacification, self protection, sweetness and tenderness, and of loyalty. It represents contentment and reunion with the Earth.
Aura: Blue in the aura represents a teacher or a very sensitive person. They are kind and caring and will do much to help others grow.
Healing: Cooling, calming, restructuring of the etheric level, taking away pain when doing deep tissue work and work on bone cells. Blue also helps to expand a person's field to connect to his/her life task.
THE COLOR INDIGO
Purple or indigo in a dream or meditation signals some kind of psychic power or ability or some kind of psychic force.
Aura: In the aura shows a very intuitive person, a person with prepackaged abilities that come from before birth to be used physically in this incarnation. These people tend to be square pegs as far as society and fitting in is concerned. This will change as more of the current generation is born with this color and takes its place in society.
Healing: The opening up of intuition or of some psychic ability. It is also used to prepare the individual of the entering of the divine spirit.
You can read more about the meaning of these colors and others here.
(Article provided by JensReviews.com)
MY MEDITATION TRAINING BEGINS
On Wednesday night, I stayed up working on this weekly blog as well as completing my first class with the Sura Center Online Meditation Coach training. The class takes place Wednesday, midday on the mainland, but because I am ... not on the mainland, the class began at 12 midnight in my time zone and didn't finish until 2 am. Matt and I explored the sea cliffs for sunset and sat down for a very mediocre (vegan) pizza and pasta night before heading back to the hostel early to get some work done online before my class began. I ordered my first glass of red wine since the trip began and nearly spat it out on the table, as it tasted like bitter battery acid. Either my taste buds have transformed tremendously since eliminating alcohol from my life, or the wine I order was just really, really crappy. The first week of the twelve week intensive training course included a 30 minute guided meditation as well as focusing on the importance of creating sacred space for ourselves, so we can create this same space for others, as well as facilitate them to create this vibrational space on their own. I sat in the hostel hallway in the pitch black to access the best wifi in the building while Matt slept. I was literally sitting cross legged in the center of the dusty staircase meditating for 30 mins while an array of young adults and backpackers scurried up and down the stairs past me all night headed out/home from the bars.
We spent one final day in Lagos, sipping orange juice, cooking in the hostel kitchen and foraging figs along the local walking trails. So many figs. I was in heaven. I may have ripped my favorite tank while navigating around tree branches, but it was well worth it for the sweet fruit. We spent the afternoon tanning topless at the beach (with all of the other gorgeous, tanned, and half-naked men and woman) and then sat overlooking the cliffs and enjoying some sea breeze. In the evening, we cooked up a massive pot of veggie pasta and walked back down to the beach to "picnic" for dinner. We did use forks, eventually.
That night we relocated into a second room in the hostel which was a bit of a last-minute resort type deal. Almost $100 USD for a small room located in the loudest part of the hostel with two tiny bunk beds in it. We were a bit over paying for crappy accomodation at this point, but it was the easiest option at this point. That evening we decided it was time to make our way from Portugal and embark on a new adventure. We basically got on Google Flights and looked up the cheapest flights leaving Faro, Portugal. We booked a ticket, packed our bags and set an alarm for 5 am.
FLYING TO FRANCE
This morning we flew to Marseille, France from Portugal. We arrived mid day and were informed that the president was in town so all roads were closed temporarily. We hopped on a train to get as close to our AIR BNB as possible and ended up having to walk a mile with our backs and backpacks to finally reach the cute Air BNB we had booked the night before. $93 USD for the two of us, which is considered a "splurge" for me while traveling, but we were desperate for a quiet space with an actual, physical, adult sized mattress. We spent the afternoon eating falafels in Marseille and walking around the neighborhood in search of bike rentals. In the evening, we grocery shopped for fresh veggies and made massive salads in the Air BNB while listening to Petit Biscuit (when in France, ya know?) and getting computer work done. Matt and I spend a few more days in Europe before he heads back to Australia and I fly over to Athens, Greece to meet my girlfriends for the next leg of our adventure.
I've started reading the "The Artist's Way" bu Julia Cameron for Sura Center Meditation School and am really enjoying it so far. I recommend it to anyone reading this who is interested in aligning with their own creativity and utilizing self expression as a powerful addition to your spirituality practice. You can find the book here.
As I type this, we've been in Marseille one night and basically spent 70% of our time hanging in our sweet air bnb and watching movies on the tiny french television. Matt has been traveling for over two months now, and I haven't owned a TV in my house for 5+ hours, so any opportunity to escape a nosy city and lounge on a comfortable, clean couch is a blessing. I've learned how crucial it is to take these "rest" days about once every week while traveling, as to ensure I don't "burn out" too quickly over the next few weeks and monhts. We worked online with the windows open and appreciated the sounds of the french city as we walked to the nearby grocery store and then cooked a dinner at home. I am just about to finish this blog before sitting down to look up ferry boats out of Marseille and decided where exactly we're headed next.
Loving these weekly blog posts so far. It's like the ideal accountability travel journal. I check in every 2 days to write and share a story before I forget the details and become consumed by daily travel chaos. If any of you reading this are about to embark on your own adventure (wether that be travel, personal, spiritual, physical, creative, etc.) I highly encourage you give yourself a dead line and create a blog today. I learned everything I know about web design and online content creation through personal trial and error. The leaning begins as soon as you commit to accomplishing a goal.