Adventure Highlight ‘Real’

If I have learned anything in the last few years, it is this – ‘one day‘ rarely comes, so do it now.

For the first time in my life, I pushed pause and went traveling for more than a week or two. For all 31 days of December, we explored southern Spain, Portugal, the English countryside, and NYC.

Malaga, Spain

You know you’re in a different world when there is a bullring in the cityscape.

If something inside of you screams, “YES!“, then find a way to do it.

Word of caution, the path to achieving your, “YES!” may fraught with difficulty, but who cares? Not living the life you want to live is hard too, just in a different way.

Over the last 14 months, after the company I was working for shut it’s doors, I worked completely for myself. HR consulting, executive coaching, marketing, editing magazines, and other random contracts have come my way and I have said yes to nearly every single one of them.

Balancing 6 jobs at one time is not for the faint of heart.

In the midst of having 6 contracts and trying to keep everything organized, there was a small window of time opening up where I could push pause on everything and explore a few corners of the world. Oddly enough when I decided to go, there was no indication that when I returned I wouldn’t still have the flexibility to go on adventures when it suited me best.

Cordoba, Spain

There is nothing quite like an amazing adventure to make a woman like me happy. And I have a thing for old doors … so many pictures of doors!

  • It is way too easy to not say yes to opportunities when they come your way.

Working and staying home for the month would have been easier. The few days prior to leaving were complete insanity – somehow I managed to pick up some Euros, get all the loose ends of work for my 6 contracts tied up, and found a way to get the laundry done so I could start the trip with clean clothes.

Tavira, Portugal

It was worth the extreme chaos. The white towns along the coastline of Portugal and Spain are simply stunning!

Due to new work, my extreme flexibility has ended. This makes escaping the -30 degree weather for weeks on end look like one of the smartest things I have done in awhile.

My personal love / hate relationship with travel isn’t actually about airplanes, rather it is because in the midst of being out, away, and in new places, there you are; the best and worst parts of you on display to notice in new ways.

Who am I without?

Without my work, friends, house, little red Jeep, gym, morning coffee, cozy bed, a language I can communicate in, a normal grocery store, and my self constructed definitions of who I am and supposed to be?

Lost? Or found?

While away from the mundane, every day details which consume most of us, you can’t help but take a macro view of your life. Looking at your current life from a bird’s eye view is an interesting perspective. You see things you may normally choose to turn a blind eye to and whether or not you mean to; asking yourself questions about what you want in life and your happiness simply bubble to the surface.

On this trip, while navigating the narrow streets of old town and nearly driving over pedestrians while on the way to the next adventure, I found myself face to face with myself.

Lisbon, Portugal

Surviving epic trauma doesn’t mean you are useless. The beauty in this convent that survived the 1755 earthquake in Lisbon reminded me that you always have a choice – crumble or stand tall. And even when you can’t stand tall the way you used to, it doesn’t mean it isn’t worth doing.

Answering questions about what I truly want in life and who I want to be aren’t easily answered in the context of my every day life. It is too easy to default to what I HAVE to do or be in a situation, rather than what I want. This is true for most of us, after all life usually hands us a script and we know how to deliver amazing performances.

Hopping around the world looks like fun and it is — but not every moment.

My Instagram feed, as always and like most people, is the happy, fantabulous highlight reel of my life. There are moments when you wonder what in the world you’re doing and the stress of the situation results in you being less than pleased with how you showed up.

Hey, if you find yourself trapped in a maze of streets as wide as your rented Mini in the middle of old town Cordoba and then finally emerge in a cobblestone square full of people, restaurant seating, and birds and then have to employ your Spanish skills while running ahead of the car to find a way out of the winding chaos … you might find parts of yourself you’re not that pleased with as well!

Cordoba, Spain

The Mezquita was worth nearly running over a few Spaniards in old town on the way to find it.

Highlight Real.

Travel to have amazing adventures and see the world, but also travel to find yourself and be cognizant of who you are becoming. I loved exploring cities built on Roman ruins, climbing over the cliffs in the Algarve, and experiencing the history of the world through architecture, but at the end of the trip, I was happiest to bring myself home – a woman who always needs a mountain to climb and an adventure in the wings.

  • At the beginning of an adventure, you rarely know if it will actually be a good idea or not in the end.
Porto, Portugal

Porto was one of my favourite places and we nearly didn’t make it there. Last minute decisions to change the plans are sometimes the best kind of decisions you can make!

The only way to know is to experience it, to try. Having a list of things you will never do again is not a bad thing, it simply brings clarity to the grey. In a world where nothing is as straightforward as it seems, knowing what you’re about is a good thing. For example, I am never going to install laminate in my whole house ‘on the weekend‘ again and catering a banquet for 100 people is definitely a once in a lifetime experience for moi.

Abandoning responsibility for weeks on end while immersing myself in a whole different world stays on the list of things I will do again, and hopefully soon!

Portimao, Portugal

The beaches on the Algarve were stunning. I am still sad we missed Sagres due to the EPIC wind storm that cropped up while we were there.

I am happy to report that the latest adventure was a 100% success – and at the end of it I came back to the subarctic with a happy, full heart, ready to conquer my corner of the world yet again. The next corner in my backyard – a new job and about 14 random adventures which may or may not involve attempting to avoid death while making it to the finish line.

Why do you adventure? What is it about travel that you have a love / hate relationship with?


If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!


  1. Fantastic! Travel is such an amazing way to step outside your comfort zone and find out who you really are, not to mention all the wonderful memories you make along the way.

    I’m a lover of doors too! I took oodles of pictures of doors when we were in Mexico last winter.


  1. […] the ridge and running the cliffs in the Algarve was my favourite outdoor adventure during the month we spent in Andalusia and Portugal. There is nothing quite like seeing the blue-green Mediterranean mixing with the Atlantic from […]

Speak Your Mind


Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.