Dear friend,

I hate the moments when I realize that if I won’t react rapidly I’ll be turning into a creature of habit, stuck in a scenario that is ingeniously knitted by numerous intangible elements.

We all need to feel safe and routine brings us exactly that.  How perfect would everything be if you’d have every little detail considered and analyzed. Would that make you better prepared for what’s to come? Slowly, I realize that nothing can make me ready for the unpredictable.

But I ask myself, how many opportunities have just passed me by in those long nights spent on worrying and trying to find answers on life dilemmas that, as time later proved, weren’t so difficult after all. I have always forgotten to stop for a second and just appreciate what I was experiencing. I live in the future with stories of the past kept in a mental journal. I set my goals and try to achieve them. Doing so, I’ve thought until now that certain parts of the present have to be sacrificed. Enough with this! The feeling of totally letting go of everything that was constraining me was more than welcomed for my concerned mind. I experienced this sensation in a cozy armchair, sitting in front of an opened balcony of an old Portuguese building and admiring Lisbon’s city center at night. Everything around me got quiet and slowly vanished, and I was left enjoying that particular moment and the view that caught my attention. It was that certain instant of the present that I’ve been longing for. And the truth was that I felt proud of myself with my good and bad and opened to anything that my future will deliver.

So, I must admit that my New Year’s resolution is sort of unclear, something that can’t be really achieved and just be crossed on a to-do list. I would simply want to leave my doubts apart and taste more of the present. This promise is unquantifiable and I won’t be sure if I can achieve it or not. But this type of uncertainty, that maybe in the past would have made me feel uncomfortable, will now help me in better adapting to this random future of mine.

I hope the days to come will bring you the adventure of your life and will get you closer to what is really important to you, whatever that might be. I could only suggest a small to-do list with cities that maybe someday will be the scenery for your stories. In this case they are quantifiable and accompanied by soothing music.

It was almost six in the morning when I realized that I was sitting for over 10 hours at the same table in the back of the bar. I still had half of beer and a bottle of Unicum in front of me and a quite exhausted waitress just brought me a strong coffee. I wasn’t tired or drunk, if that really matters. I was just amazed that answers have been found to some of my questions. The bar was empty for some hours now and the conversation with one of my good friends was still continuing.

I can name more than 20 people that stood with me at that table and of course at some point went home as any normal person would do. They were friends that I haven’t seen in a while and I was really looking forward to have a nice talk with them, to find what is new in their life. A couple of years ago they were my best friends and I couldn’t imagine the world without them. But things do change and most of all, people change. I’m not the same guy that I was 2 or 3 years ago, a lot of things happened since then. But, you still hope that things would remain the same as you leave them.

I was utterly disappointed in the beginning of the night, people came, people went away and instead of feeling glad about seeing them again, sadness just filled my chest. I felt that all I had, all the good memories were slowly slipping through my fingers. I started the night having an old imagine of my friends in my head and after some hours I was a stranger amongst them.

The answers came from the person that I was expecting the least. After a couple of stories and drinks I realized that this kind of things happened also to others and the moments we love the most are the first to go. I mustn’t get stuck in a particular period of my life and change is the only constant I can rely on. The first sunrays filled the lonely bar and I suddenly realized that I just have to modify my perspective. It was time for me to grow up!

I will simply write down a couple of things that I can say I’ve discovered in these last few days:

  1. the fresh morning air of the mountains really helps even in the worse hangovers
  2. I shouldn’t seek to understand the small things that makes a person happy, I’m really trying to learn not to criticize every little thing
  3. it was written in a book I’m reading: “L’homme c’est rien – l’oeuvre c’est tout” – and now it’s trapped in a corner of my mind
  4. it is really the best thing to get mail from someone special and simply forget about everything else while you are reading it
  5. I’m trying to learn some basic Portuguese, “Obrigado” was my first word and now I’m stuck in the bad words chapter – Merda!
  6. some charm of the mountain side was lost when mobile phones started ringing
  7. I just booked a meeting for the 11th of September at 3 o’clock – it’s my first long term thinking, I hope I won’t forget about it
  8. take 50 minutes off from your busy schedule and try one episode of the Planet Earth Series from BBC in HD, I guarantee you won’t regret it
  9. and finally, I’m surprised that lately I’m finding basil everywhere, in a flower pot on a rooftop terrace in Vienna, yesterday in my Mediterranean pasta and today a dry one in an old book. Is it really basil good for everything and everywhere?

Some time ago Lonely Planet had a really good TV show which I loved. Six degrees of separation refers to the idea that, if a person is one step away from each person they know and two steps away from each person who is known by one of the people they know, then everyone is at most six steps away from any other person on Earth.

The key of the show was to meet local people from all over the globe and discover their cities in a special way, without anything planned, just following the flow. The idea seemed to me really interesting and I was wondering when will I have the occasion to do the same thing. In my travels I always tried to get away from all the city guides and see the place through other eyes.

This last month of discoveries with great companions by my side, covering miles after miles was one of my best experiences until now. There were beautiful cities, but overwhelmed by tourists with predefined itineraries, holding guides like bibles. I felt free and really relaxed knowing that I won’t visit all the cities “must see”. I enjoyed spending hours in striking places, sipping a cold drink and getting to know the persons around me. Because finally this counts: people and their stories, a source of endless curiosity and ideas for me. The countries I’ve seen this July would have been sour and colorless without the local touch and all the good times and laugh that followed it.

These thoughts crossed my mind in the journey from Prague to Vienna when this was playing quietly on the radio

“I’m Starting With The Man In The Mirror
I’m Asking Him To Change His Ways…”

Just live as you want to live!

Suddenly there is nothing around, your focus is on a little speck in front. Just heartbeats pealing strong, but distant. The pressure on your temples gets stronger every second and cold shivers go down your chest incredibly slow. You start moving sideways, fearing not to lose control of your muscles. The bitter taste in your mouth is still there. Be prepared to act fast, there’s no time to think. Breath, don’t forget to breath, because it’s not going to be easy at all. A bizarre fear catches your body.

Fear of what? Fear of losing, of rejection perhaps, of not achieving your inner goal? Is this anxiety real? You try to catch up with your set aspirations and when you are on the verge of failing you start panicking. For that matter, what do you actually lose? Nothing. Only the mere projection of yourself, therefore intangible, something that you never tasted before. Instead of concentrating on the situation in front, your mind builds up scenarios and tries to answer hundreds of what-ifs. The hell with it, just press play and face the moment.

How many times did you have this feeling in life? That’s why I love tennis, the perfect playground to tame my inner outs.

We store all our photos nice and tidy, chronologically and maybe we put besides them lovely letters full of memories. Only to take, once in a while, one more glimpse. But what about your music? There are a lot of my memories stored very nicely in hundreds of songs. It’s rather interesting how some musical notes arranged one after another can make your mind go nuts.  My own multimedia memories archive. If I want to relive something I only start the music and hello sunshine. For example, I had a beautiful week in Vilnius this April, trust me, a lot of fun and friendly people in a truly international city. I just listen to this song and I’m back on Vilniaus Gatve street looking for the Artistas Bar.

I need to thank Lluis for bringing this tune with him from beautiful Barcelona and playing it in the cold old town centre. A little latin passion didn’t hurt anyone.

Enjoy your music, take a look into your collection and just pick one, like an old vinyl record covered in dust. Play it, try to remember every little detail and just relax. If you’re the sentimental type, no one will condemn you if you listen to some Kenny G. (not my first choice, I must be honest)

Curiosity walks all the time hand in hand with a question mark. It fires your imagination, goes straight to creation, just passes relaxation and stops in frustration. Why frustration? Because whatever you do, you can’t run out of erotemes and sometimes that fuels us, but always leaves us with other dilemmas. We need to know when to stop and leave some of them unanswered. Just let it be and go with the flow.

Focusing on something else, recalibrating your curiosity is one small pace in diversity. Look far far away on the road, look into the white and blue sky, take a deep breath and don’t be afraid to take the leap. This time don’t ask so many questions, embrace the unknown and take everything as it comes. It won’t be everything like honey but it will be the best way to learn about compromises, compliance or injustice, words that don’t mean anything when you are a child.

Freedom comes with curiosity and also courage – the freedom of movement, of speech, of choice. I find my freedom in knowledge, questions, people, stories, pictures and music. Travelling besides me in this new journey is the duo from the land down under. I begin my journey with them, who knows, maybe they will bring me good luck.