For all of us, I think the first trip we take abroad in this pandemic world will be poignant but especially for travellers like me who have desperately missed the adventure and discovery. Travelling is a privilege, not a necessity, and I don’t think a week goes by when I don’t realise how lucky I am that I’ve been able to visit so many incredible places and make all these memories. But not being able to travel for 2.5 years honestly felt like a bit of me had been cut off on top off that intense stir-craziness we all experienced being stuck in our homes with every day feeling like Groundhog Day.
For the first few months of 2022, I joyfully (and enviously) watched Instagram stories of fellow travellers getting on planes for the first time in years, flexing foreign language skills again and revelling in their change of scenery. I longed for it to be my turn.
Having spent two and a half years cooped up at home and yearning to get back into the world, I found myself at Heathrow Airport in April 2022, masked up and surreally waiting to board a flight to Lisbon. While climbing the steps to reach the plane, I thought it was cliched how it felt both nothing and everything had changed. I was three years older than when I’d last got on a plane yet I still had that same giddy excitement of heading to a new country, had the same trusty DSLR camera and was even wearing the same shoes and backpack.
But I was also fresh out of a long-term relationship (side note: I highly recommend doing a post-break-up trip), no longer living in London and I had spent those in-between years struggling to work out where my life was heading. And like most of us, the pandemic had taken a big toll on my mental health. A remedy for all the above was to head off to a country I’d never visited to pull me out of that pit, soak up some new scenery, new language and dust off my travel photography tech. Portugal was both my first pandemic-world trip and my first solo trip in Europe!
I packed three different cities into my two weeks in Portugal; Lisbon, Sintra and Porto. I met lots of lovely local people, ate some amazing food, drank lots of good wine and saw lots of stunning architecture. I can’t wait to share everything here! While you wait for my next blog post, make sure to check out my Instagram where I’ll be posting more regularly.