Over and out

Personal, Uncategorized

No one teaches us about the power of radical freedom, and solitude. They come along with all sort of emotions and, eventually, you need to face them when you least expect them. Why combining both at once? I recently started learning to sail in the open sea, and while taking practical classes and studying various themes, I thought exactly about the impossibility to decouple freedom from solitude. Especially when you are out in the open sea, making a distress call.

We are taught somewhat otherwise. That there is always the society and its limitations. We crave freedom and space but we are also told about all the dangers surrounding us, if we choose this kind of journey. In order to navigate it, you need a lot of sensitivity, insight into your inner voice, and discipline to remain safe. And we are told, it is one of the most difficult ways to live your live.

I have been fantasizing and preparing for years to be radically free, but there is probably no way to project it. Because creating bonds with your friends, partners, or family enriches our lives but eventually, you will end up all alone at some point, sooner or later. The career you’ve been working on for so many years may end up abruptly because of the economic cycles or for no reason. And as it ends, it will surely hurt at first. But then, you will depart from your previous point of reference not missing anyone, and not being missed. You will learn to embrace the moments of leaving a place where no one will be waiting, and arriving somewhere where no one expects you, and you are free, and alone at the same time. I will not even focus on the dilemma of ‘freedom to’ and ‘freedom from’. I don’t think there is a better place to experience it all than in the open sea.

I have ended my longest-enduring relationship so far last month (although the process of separating went on for a much longer period of time), and I got notified about the redundancy, a few weeks after. Two major crises at once, in the midst of the ‘tech winter’ and the humanity being pretty much fucked up after the years of the pandemic deprivation. Since I like to stay in touch with the reality, no matter how tough it is, I have been preparing for both crises in a way, with a long-term and in-depth therapy, asking myself and answering the most uncomfortable questions and bracing myself from all the angles: psychologically, physically, and financially. I surprised myself how strong I was. And while I do not know where this journey will take me, I stay calm, and at the same time, excited about what I will find out on the way. The winter will eventually recede. And I hope that the humanity undergoes some sort of cathartic activity through all these tough years.

Freedom is ambiguous, and there is no one to do the heavy lifting for you. There are life hacks and shortcuts, but they have their own price. You need to learn about being truly independent and it comes with its limitations. It comes with so much choice and so little time, at the same time. There are days and hours, when you will be very confused. Your friends will call you out on being contradictory. There are days you will use up all your energy, surprise yourself and be very creative and the other days you will barely get through the day and feel very numb. And it is ok not to be always ok. And it is even more ok to seek ways to get better. You need to create your very own set of safety mechanisms, and identify the distress before making the call. Put the metaphorical oxygen mask before helping others. Exercise self-compassion, self-love and self-reflection. Calculate your runway. Plan and execute what you can. Think about living without a goal for what you can’t, or define the anti-goals and know what happens a step away from it.

And this is where the bespoke magic happens. Once you don’t chase anything, you find a very powerful energy in you to be curious, be courageous and be resilient whatever your day brings, and it may surprise you in all the possible ways. Not being happy, not being sad, not needing much, just observing the world around you, while taking a step at a time. Or as my friend says, crossing the bridge when we get there. I am speaking a lot about the true meaning of the emotional resilience and agility recently while weathering the storm on a professional level, but I guess, the major learnings come from how I navigate the personal. Is there even a division between the private, and the political these days, I don’t think so.

It is also a very uncomfortable yet exciting state of not knowing what comes next. Being in control on a meta level of emotions, finances and your physical health (including sleep, sports, and diet), at the same time exploring the new data that enter our system and act accordingly. Looking back, I recall some character building and life forming years which led me to a completely different place than I would have expected. These would be the years I would depart from an important person in my life, a career, or a country – voluntarily or not. I would have grieved after the people, the places and still accept the fact that the only way is forward and we may need to leave people or places behind to evolve. And while you don’t know what the future brings, you can take control of how your emotions affect you, and have no urge to switch them compulsively, as some people do.

Then, you are somewhat irresistible. Even if I consider myself privileged, there is a lot of work and preparation that went into building that personal wealth, and it has been fucking hard at times. I am writing all this because some of you may wonder, how I am doing. I am doing fine, and there is a lot to it. And while I have all the freedom in the world, I don’t feel the urge to travel the world, to meet people every day, to act out, or to change the world. I keep looking at my Northern Star and remain calm while weathering this storm. I have been through a lot and can share all about the coping mechanisms and survival through the darkest moments but also, what happens when you get excited about the the possibility of something new coming up your way. I may travel here and there, I may meet some people, and help someone on the way to build something and get paid for my intel. But I avoid using great quantifiers or statements. I may also change the course as I am alone, and I am free to do anything I want to.

I am thinking that there are so many misfortunes in this world which are major, and there will be more trying times, while my personal crises mean nothing in the larger scale of events. This is why I want to keep that emergency channel clear for others, and metaphorically go ‘over and out’ to focus on sailing my little boat called life.

If you read this, you can check in from time to time, or join me for the part of the journey, you are welcome. The majority of it I will navigate alone, and will take this current gift of freedom very seriously, and responsibly. This is not a distress call, this is a routine weather forecast prognosis to all the vessels in my radius.

Saudade at the tip of Europe

Personal, Travel, Uncategorized

I returned to Portugal for 9 days this month to reunite with my best friend at one of the biggest tech conferences, and for the change of air. Or even more metaphorically: to hear a wind of change. Nous voyageons pour chercher d’autres états, d’autres vies, d’autres âmes. So we travel to search for new states, new lives, new souls.


After a particularly busy week at the conference we took off to Cabo da Roca, about an hour away from Lisbon, to the Westernmost tip of continental Europe (and oh how I like the extremes, remoteness and ends of the world).

I returned there after many years: first time I had gone there when my adventures with studying in Portugal started off and ended up quite abruptly, and secondly after my father’s death, my break up and my return from Brazil effectively. From such experiences one could think it’s a place I would only contemplate finiteness, or profound sadness. Truth is, my last weeks have not been too easy at different wavelengths, at the same time.


Being around natural wonders, vast spaces and with people who are close to me is a one way I recover, music is the other solution. I guess this is why I am not tired of coming back to the sounds and landscapes which cure the soul, and constantly searching for the new ones as well. Hence I still curate Lusofonetica after over 4 years and return to the positive side of life eventually. Like in this beautiful song:

Não me deixe só
Eu tenho medo do escuro
Eu tenho medo do inseguro
Dos fantasmas da minha voz

Despite the darkness this season, various insecurities and ‘ghosts’ in my head, I still write up about the beauty of things in life I have seen and hope to see again, enlightened by the SAD lamp in my Berliner apartment.

At the tip of Portugal, the sun was shining, the sound of waves crushing magnificent rocks brought me to a state of meditation, tranquility and strength at the same time. There’s undoubtedly magic in places at the end of the world, causing our exploratory imagination to move further and remove the artificial obstacles.

After this trip I just hope this winter will be transformational to me. I see the sun.


Islands of the eternal spring: Ilhas Canárias

Travel, Uncategorized

On the very first day of Spring edition 2017 I would like to dedicate some space of Lusofonetica to a place where spring lasts 24/7, 365/6 days per year.

It is not a secret that for people based in the Central/Northern Europe the winter seems to last forever and that one of the most popular getaway destinations are the Canary Islands. Since I have moved to Berlin in 2014, I have already visited  Fuerteventura and Lanzarote and would like to share some of my best photo shots and memories.

Canary Islands are the Norternmost islands out of the archipelago, which makes them accessible within less than 5 hours of flight from mainland Europe. They are located in between the other Macaronesia islands: Northernmost Madeira and Porto Santo, Westernmost Azores and Southernmost Cabo Verde. They are the only one where Spanish is spoken though! While Fuerteventura is more flat, offering vast white-sand beaches, Lanzarote is a smaller yet more diverse island in terms of its volcanic landscape.

Some of my Fuerteventura’s favourites include the beaches close to the town of Corralejo and it’s Dunes Park, and more remote village of El Cotillo with cosy, white houses by the portline.

On the Southern shore there is a vast coast of surfers’ paradise Playa Jandia. One can easily test the beaches for longer than a week, or drive inland to enjoy the Martian landscape of the deserts and volcanic hills.

Lanzarote offer similarly stunning beaches, and surfer spots like Caleta de Famara yet it’s worth mentioning that it’s more of a dramatic landscape with stronger winds and waves’ impact.

Some of my top picks of the Southern part of Lanzarote include the rocky Playa El Golfo and the volcanic Parque Nacional de Timanfaya.

The biggest town of Lanzarote – Arrecife is very pleasant and beautifully designed, inspited by various artists that influenced the island.

To the North of Arrecife, some interesting spots include Jardin de Cactus, or a surprisingly secluded community of El Charco de la Feliz.

The art pieces one cannot miss is the Monumento al Campesino or expositions of the Fundación Cesar Manrique or the inland town of Teguise. From the architectural point of view it’s worth visiting Omar Shariff’s house and enjoy the 360 degree view of the island (if you are a nervous driver like I am and can’t climb up the Mirador del Rio!).

Escaping the winter means also trying the local cuisine – some of my highlighted restaurants include ‘Sol y luna’ in the romantic town of Punta Mujeres and ‘La Tabla’ in downtown Arrecife, offering modern tapas and great selections of local wines.

Similarly like in Fuerteventura, the Southern part of Lanzarote offers endless beaches of Costa de Papagayo nearby a very pleasant town of Playa Blanca.

And like Madeira, Canary Islands are an interesting location to visit around the carnival, where local festivities take place.

Both Fuerteventura and Lanzarote can be visited during one stay, as there as various ferries connecting these two islands, but I enjoyed greatly coming back to Canary Islands and escaping the winter. I hope soon I will have an occasion to discover the remaining islands!