Travel Anecdotes from July

Hey guys,

The entries you’re going to read in this article were taken from my journal’s pages I wrote through the month of July. Naturally they’re more personal and encompass a wide array of topics. I wanted to share these entries with you in a separate blog post solely devoted to that purpose since I found mixing my photography and personal anecdotes didn’t always work together.

Furthermore, I want to make it clear to you guys, my readers, viewers, and friends, that my goal with this blog is to be as real, as raw, as… I hate to use this word in the current vocabulary climate, but as authentic as I can possibly be. The last thing I want is for my blog to be distant, indirect, and impersonal.

My promise to you guys is to be myself- no more, no less.

I think it’s important I make these types of posts considering the majority of travel blogs adhere to the impersonal, professional travel- influencer, “this is where you should go and what you should see and eat” narrative. There’s an abundance of blogs you can go to for recommendations and a scarcity of blogs that give their personal accounts of the places they go.

If my photographs are the external landscapes in which I visit and see, then my anecdotes are the internal landscape in which I interpret and make meaning from my experiences.

With that said, the following entries are my thoughts and observations, my point of view, my perspective.

Thank you for sticking with me.

-When I passed by cafe Lajense I saw Frankie’s long white beard and recognised his wife Cathy by his side. I stopped in to say hello and we got to catch up for a while. I reminded them that I still keep the card they gave me four years ago which when read in Hebrew from right to left: ” Hay kof men” means ” Rising from depression.” I expressed how appreciative I was of them for inviting me to their home and sharing their time and food with me.

Frankie and Cathy introduced me to their friend Amanda who told me she moved from England to Pico Island on a whim. Pico was the place to be and apparently when she she arrived sometime in the late winter season she had the intuitive, gut feeling that she came to the right place. Although we only shared a small conversation, it left me curious in what more she had to say about her travels. I’m sure we’ll cross paths again and talk more about how she ended up here.

Which brings me to this question:

How does one accurately describe how they ended up where they are?

Is it possible to acredit a certain series of events as to why you are where you are, or do you have to take everything into account before those said events as well? I once listened to a lecture by Alan Watts about how it’s almost impossible to state in absolute terms when an event begins and ends since prior to the events there is an accumulation of “pre events” which are the cause and afterwards there the effects which ripple far past the actual occurrence.

Are we not products of the decisions we made in the past? And don’t the decisions we make today change who we are tomorrow?

-When it comes to traveling, you’ll meet people from all over the world who are there for various reasons. The reason is one thing and the reason behind the reason is a whole different story. I could say I’m in the Azores right now because my plan is to travel throughout Portugal, throughout Europe once my family migrates and settles here in Lajes. The reason is a means to travel more.

Yet someone could ask me further, why I come to the Azores in the first place and the answer to that includes numerous aspects of my story/past. Those stories- those memories are just as important, if not more important than the reason I’m here right now, but at the same time all of it is just one collective reason as to why I’m here.

Some people travel solely for business purposes and spend their time in other countries simply because those are the requirements/ job description.

Other people travel for vacation; spending their time in resorts, cruise ships, and perfect getaways from their busy lives.

We all travel for different reasons. What interests me are the people in search for existential answers to questions regarding mortality, self, and what composes a meaningful life.

I remember asking the Australian guy on the chiva bus tour in Cartagena why he was in Colombia. He kinda just laughed at the question and responded, “the same reason you’re here.” The truth, as I’ve wrote in another article, is that there wasn’t a specific reason besides getting out of the complicated, stressful muddle in Florida.

My friend and I wanted a break and an adventure we’d never forget. We got both those things and more.

Although my reason wasn’t solid, I don’t think it really matters since by the end of that South America trip I learned so much about myself in a matter of two months. A strong part me of thinks the reason for traveling anywhere can only be revealed once you return home from the trip and are able to form meaning out of your experiences.

Now that I’m thinking about it, you don’t really need a logical reason to go anywhere. Like Amanda, you just need a feeling inside of you.

This place I know so well used to be my childhood curiosity.

Now that I’m here, here again, my days spent living, learning, knowing seem like a chestnut dream.

I wake up in Lajes do Pico, here I am in summer’s flare recalling memories back when I only imagined so.

If you’re in a haze, snap out of it!

Walk looking forward, not downward.

The haze meaning a sense of frustration, sadness, confusion, anger, self-pity, jealousy. These are all normal to experience and feel, but if you live your life in a haze you’re wasting time. Feel what you feel but don’t allow yourself to perpetuate it any longer than its natural duration. Feel the emotion and then let it pass. Don’t let it linger.

Walk looking forward with purpose, you have somewhere to be. Don’t drag yourself around and fake a smile. Pick yourself up, breathe, come back to your senses and if it helps; count to ten. By the end of those ten seconds know that when you snap your fingers you’re out of the haze and into the clear.

June passed as quick as it could’ve. Last night I was taking in the view from the terrace atop Avo’s house. The grape vines completely cover the spaces between each faded post and the grapes themselves, although not fully ripe, are already plump and in abundance. Sitting down on a cement filled flower pot I was admiring how the sun struck the leaves in such a way that made them appear more gold than green. The pointed edges flapping like a flag.

I kept returning to my breath trying to prevent any senseless thinking. Minutes passed. A few more. More still, and with the last moments of daylight I sipped my last bit of coffee, placed it on the floor, stood up resting my hands on the bars above where the grapes grew, and stretched my arms, shoulders, and back. I felt slightly more relaxed before heading in for the night.

An Afternoon Getaway to Madalena: Ilha do Pico’s Main Port Town and Home of the Cella Bar

Madalena, located north-west of Lajes do Pico, is home to the main port which connects the neighbouring islands. The town acts as a centre for tourism, commercial shopping, communications, trading and basically everything else the smaller villas lack. For example, I wanted to buy a tripod for my camera but I couldn’t find one in Lajes so I asked around. Where did everyone tell me to go? Madalena.

If you’re arriving on Pico Island the chances are you’ll want to stay in Madalena for at least a night considering it’s the closest town to the airport and has the best options for lodging, food, and touristic activities like hiking, sailing, cave exploring, scuba diving, snorkelling, wine tasting, or if you just want to chill by the ocean. Whatever you want just name it, Madalena has it.

It was my day off from work when I looked through a travel guide magazine and came across the “Where to eat” section. The top pick was an architectural award- winning bar/restaurant called the “Cella Bar.” The front image was enough for me to decide to go.

Image taken from Cella Bar’s Facebook page

An hour bus ride later, I arrived in Madalena. I didn’t have a plan except to find the Cella Bar, nor much time to spend before the last bus left back to Lajes so I walked around snapping photos along the way to my destination.

The following images are from my afternoon getaway to Madalena. I hope you enjoy them.

Running away from Karma
I ordered a gin and tonic for my afternoon relaxation
caixa de pão/biscoito tradicional + degustação de azeite + gin and tonic = muito bom!

Photoshoot Collection, Lajes Do Pico Azores

Location: Aldia da Fonte

Barbara and I have been good friends since we first met four years ago! She’s always been super helpful when it comes to learning Portuguese. Not only is she patient, understanding, and unapologeticely herself, Barbara also has an act for modeling and composure which made this set that much more enjoyable!

For this photoshoot we headed down to Silveira’s Aldeia da Fonte and walked along the sea trail until we found a nice area to take a few shots. Afterwards, we headed back to Lajes do Pico to finish taking photos along the island’s rocky shoreline.

I hope you enjoy what we created!

Photo Collection: Lajes At Dusk

By the time the sun starts to dip behind Pico mountain, the town of Lajes quietens and the soft glow of lamps cast their orange light over the cobblestone streets.

I always enjoyed going for a walk at dusk here. There’s something special about watching the day’s light dampen while the street lamps generate an inviting ambiance late into the night.

In this photo collection I take you on a walk with me around Lajes do Pico to show you the charming views that extend past daylight hours.

I hope you enjoy!

Look at these awesome photos from Pico, Azores!

Hey guys,

I just passed the one month mark since arriving in Lajes do Pico, a small village on the south coast of Pico Island in Portugal’s archipelago. The last four weeks have been great. I picked up a job at a local restaurant, reconnected with friends, and on my free time I take photos.

Down below are a collection of photos I took on my second and third week. If you like these photos and are interested in seeing more, you can check out the photo collection from my first week and stay tuned for what’s to come!

Pico Island, Azores, Portugal

Day 1

I arrived in Lajes do Pico last night around nine.

I was here two summers ago with my family and before that I lived here for a little more than six months after I graduated . Coming back to this island for the third time feels normal now.

My first visit was unlike anything I experienced in the past. When I stepped outside the airport doors I felt a profound sense of adventure. I heard stories about this island growing up but now that I was here in the flesh it was completely surreal.

Everything was a subject to my curiosity those first few weeks. The simplest of things were fascinating to me. For one, I couldn’t get enough of the fact I was on an island and at anytime of my choosing I could look out and view the seemingly infinite sea. I spent a large portion of my time walking along the wall (the locals here call it ”o muro”) listening to the ocean and watching the sunset behind mount Pico.

A montanha do Pico at sunset
Lajes Do Pico

At first I was totally enveloped by the natural beauty and as time passed I eventually became conditioned to routinely sight seeing. It wasn’t that my surroundings were any less beautiful, no, definitely not. It was more so that I was familiar and less intrigued with them.

When I stepped out of the airport doors last night I wasn’t filled with the same profound sense of adventure I experienced say, the first time I arrived more than three years ago, or when I arrived in Cartagena, Colombia last summer. Instead I just felt normal ,which isn’t a bad thing but it isn’t as exciting.

This time around I know the landmarks, I know the town names, the bakeries, the restaurants, the architecture, the roads, the street names, the people, the language. I know this because I’ve spent close to a year here and after awhile an unknown place becomes home.

As a traveler I seek that sense of adventure or “wanderlust” but I also understand that constantly seeking adventure elsewhere greatly limits our ability to notice it right here. With that said, there’s an abundance of opportunities here for me that I can’t wait to experience and share with you!