Hey y’all. Emily here.
(duh, like always).
After two months in chilly Hamburg and five months floating around everywhere from the Caribbean to Iceland, I’m back HOME! And in case you were wondering, “home” is now Portugal. As I sat on the plane headed towards Lisbon (P.S. I’m an aisle-seat kinda girl, anyone else?), I realized how loose the definition of home can be. For instance, I was born in Atlanta, Georgia, but moved when I was four years-old. Nothing about Atlanta feels like my “hometown” and I certainly don’t identify as a “Georgia Peach.” In fact, Maryland (where I moved another four years later) felt like home for most of my adult life. It was only after seven years in Manhattan that I finally considered myself to be a New Yorker (with training wheels). But I always referred to my quarterly Maryland trips as “going home.”
But now things are changing a bit. A few visits into my story with Portugal, I was hooked. I quickly set a goal to make my dream of European life a reality, though I’m sure you can remember I had no idea exactly what I would “do” (and if not, you can read all about it right here). I guess, at the end of the day, my soul felt a sort of clarity in Portugal that I’ve only ever felt at “home.” And to me, that feeling bore enough weight to take a chance on moving, without the security of any sort of plan. You see, the musical scene isn’t exactly buzzing in Portugal (yet) and besides singing or running a restaurant, I don’t have many “CV-worthy” skills.
So I started this blog.
And I realized I liked writing… a LOT… So I decided to run, sprint and hurdle my way through the writing world, while living, singing and dancing on a boat. I’d say the past seven months were the definition of chaos. Bargaining with Jamaican taxi drivers to get a good price to the beach cafe (where there was solid wifi), editing a new post for the Travelettes, applying for any job with the word “english” in it, running back to the ship by the back-on-board time, performing two rock shows at night, and waking up in another port to repeat the entire process all over again. My cast mates must’ve thought I was insane, and I’m sure if they heard the word “blog” one more time, they’d slap all of the sparkly ABBA makeup off my face. But I was on a mission to figure out what to “do” and writing was my portkey (any Harry Potter fans out there?).
AND GUESS WHAT Y’ALL?!
After two years of longing to establish myself in Europe, I’m stupidly excited to say…
After googling how to write a cover letter (lol. I swear I’m actually 27 years-old), constructing a resume with actual information on it besides “I can drive and I was on the Rachael Ray Show”, and interviewing for a bunch of jobs I’m definitely unqualified for… I “booked it.” I landed a full-time, remote job for an awesome company, encompassing everything from copywriting to social media content to analyzing Excel spreadsheets (I’m trying to minimize my role in the Excel department…). Bottom line, I’m stoked. I wake up at 7, start working at 8 in my living room, with the french doors open to the cobblestone street, take a walk to the beach at lunch, and go to post-work yoga at 6. Don’t get me wrong, there are stressful phone calls, copy that doesn’t get clicked enough, and a bit of pressure to prove myself, but otherwise… it’s like… a dream. And I say that because I think this message is important. One year ago I started hashtagging my adventures in picture-perfect Portugal with “follow your unstable dreams”, and while I know it may sound carefree, I genuinely mean it.
(with a better hairdo, I promise)
By following my heart, and setting a quality-of-life standard with happiness as the compass, I’ve transformed my life over the past few years, and in turn, become the happiest, most sincere version of myself. Traveling the world is my new norm, and I have no plans of stopping anytime soon (Hey remote job!). But I’d like to emphasize the fact that I’m not some no-good, freewheeling hippy. I’m organized, employed, and most of all, incredibly optimistic. And it’s the optimism I credit with making all of this possible. The optimism that intensified with every run along the beach in Ericeira, sparked my desire to find a community, and believe in this “crazy” idea of moving abroad. And the community of people I found in Ericeira blew my mind in terms of supporting, encouraging and nurturing the fledgling writer who moved here knowing nothing but “olá.”
So, I guess what I’m trying to say is, yes, it worked. I’m in the process of accomplishing a pretty swell goal, and I’m pretty stinkin’ proud of myself. But more than anything, I think it’s important to know that I’m not doing anything revolutionary. I’m a person who got a job. People do that every single day. But what people don’t do, more often than not, is follow their heart and their internal compass. Because it’s inconvenient. It’s hard, and most of all, it’s scary. Terrifying, in fact, to land in a country where you don’t speak the language, armed with nothing but your happiness.
But it can work.
It may take time, and a lot of bargaining with Jamaican taxi drivers, but it can work. And the feeling of accomplishment, when the pieces start to fall into place, and the visas come through, and you master a sentence in Portuguese besides “I’m a girl. I am nice.” ? Well that feeling is just as magical as watching the sun set over Praia Pescadores, with a Super Bock in hand, surrounded by the very people who believed in your capability to combat the fear of the unknown. I believe it’s a feeling called…