The life of a traveler is undoubtedly full of surprises; yet, not all of these are the kind of you’d like to receive on your birthday. It’s easy to fall into the trap and believe all wanderlust suckers on Instagram lead the perfect pretty life. It doesn’t feel normal or relatable at all, because, you know, life is a struggle for the most part. Luckily, more and more bloggers out there are making an effort to un-photoshop the idea of the carefree, nomadic path. And who am I to do any less? I’ve actually encountered my great load of misfortune while roaming and buzzing. Sure, in the end, the mess turns into a fun story that your friend will kindly bring up at the next zoom call. So now that I’ve entered the “do you remember that time when” phase, I’m ready to share some of my sad adventures with you all. Feel free to send me a virtual pity hug.
My move to Lisbon wasn’t so thoroughly planned. At the time, it was full-on summer, and I was hopping from one country to the next one: I thought, as long as the sun shines, nothing can go wrong. But sunny funny Lisbon had a whole different idea about it. So I picked my apartment a bit blindly, right before traveling to Portugal: the choices weren’t many if you wanted to stay on a budget. Which I always do. I was going to share the place with another 8 people, but I wasn’t scared of the pre-pandemic crowd. Of course, there’s always a chance one of your housemates will love stabbing things and storing onions under the bed, but ain’t that life. I did not end up getting killed in my sleep; the only initial disappointment I got was from a noisy, unannounced construction site right in front of the kitchen window. But as long as it didn’t disturb my bedtime, I decided I could live with it.
And then the water pipes exploded and people in the house started getting water poisoned.
Incidents happen, though. Yes, I had to go without water for a few days, so what! I could totally do that. That’s a perk of remote work: you don’t have to mingle with people if you don’t want to, or, like in my case, if you stink too much. Now, let’s get back to the spooky housemates’ element, while these pipes get fixed by loud plumbers who heavenly enjoy smoking inside. As I said, no stabbing took place; but soon enough, the whole house started reeking like drama. And that’s how one night, at 3 am, a girl burst into my room while poor me was peacefully sleeping as naked as a warm. Keep in mind that I barely knew this person: at that point, I had been in the house for only a few nights. Long story short, I hastily covered my privates as she stuttered a very agitated story on how another housemate of ours, who was allegedly involved in shady business, just robbed her laptop. It was as chaotic as I’m recounting it, so pardon me: to these days, the memory of it gets me puzzled and dizzy.
I told myself “it’s fine”, once again. I wasn’t going to stay in Lisbon for a long time anyway, and things could only get better at that point. Right? Wrong. Maybe I had a fat, black cloud above me chasing me wherever, maybe I had chosen a cursed house. Because very quickly, the bathroom ceiling began looking like it got a bad sickness. Now, I’m no mold expert, I’m a nothing expert; yet I feel like I’ve lived long enough to know what mold looks like. And smells like. But the owner of the apartment refused to believe me and my documentary-like videos of the situation. And that’s how, a few days later, the bathroom ceiling collapsed on us.
My misadventures in Lisbon were not just house-related, of course. As I’ve said before on this platform, personal issues don’t disappear just because you leave your home and opt for a nomadic life. Like many, I sometimes get hit by crippling anxiety. And my friend, anxiety has a bad habit of popping out in the most inappropriate moments. One day, for reasons unknown to my memory, I hopped on a bus. I do remember being on a very tight schedule, with a couple of work deadlines and a dozen chores. All of a sudden, I zoned out, feeling anxiety tingling my skin and blurring my eyes. I’m not sure how long I was on that bus for, but it must have been quite a while because when I managed to get off, I was basically in the woods. I couldn’t even see the city from the distance anymore. It would have been quite funny, had I not run out of data on my phone that day. But I needed to act fast, as the sun was about to set, and we all watched enough horror movies to know how a lonely lady plus a walk in the woods at night is never a good combo. Off I went, looking for a road sign, or divine intervention, or a bus stop – which, eventually, I found. Only for the bus driver to look at me waiting at the stop and decide to drive on. And when I finally got to my apartment, I almost gave myself an ultimate mental breakdown: I could not understand why the house key wasn’t working anymore. At that point, my frustration was off the chart and I manically turn the key into the hole without success – until I realized that was not my door at all. Well, I’d like to formally apologize here for my downstairs neighbor: I’m sorry if I scared you that day.
Point is, you can be unlucky no matter where you go. You can have bad days even on the prettiest beach in the world. The unexpected is always around the corner: I have a hard time remembering a trip that went exactly as planned. The mess is just a part of the whole, and you’ll find it whichever journey you decide to undertake. But who knows: one day, hopefully, you’ll be laughing at it with me!