The day before I have to leave for my 10 days trip to Portugal, another mass shooting had happened in Thousand Oaks, CA. This time it was different, it was someone we know who’s niece is a victim of this senseless crime. Tamara Mowry Housley’s niece, Alaina Housley. Anyone who grew up watching Sister, Sister definitely can relate. I’ve always admired Tamara’s interracial family and her extended family is as well. And my hearts go out to them. Alaina was only 18 years old, beginning Pepperdine University. A life cut tragically short. This gloomy frame of mind and with my anxiety of traveling alone only compounded the loneliness I was feeling. So I went searching on the internet for how other people cope with this feeling. I know I’m not alone in this, but when I’m feeling this way, it’s hard to find comfort in that. However, I found this blog that really resonated with me. She talked about how to satisfy your basic needs first, like hunger, or just a good night sleep because in those times, stress and tiredness, can heighten your emotional state.

The next day, I met with my group and that anxiety slowly subsided. 🙂 I am grateful for my group, my familia, as our tour leader, Fredy, our papa, calls us. I’ve never been in a tour group before and I feel very fortunate that I was in this one. I always consider myself independent, capable of taking care of myself, but it feels nice that the men in our group, made sure that we feel safe, and were not walking alone at night.

Part of the group toured the Belem Tower.

Patricia and I hiked to the top of the Moorish castle in fairytale town of Sintra. It’s an enchanting castle with tree stump as chairs and little green ponds/waterfalls cascading down the rocks. None of the gold and grandeur that many of the castles have but, to me, more special because of the natural beauty it possess. Green moss and koi fish swims in the pond. Secret hiding spots and trails to explore.

Batalha Monastery with it’s star shaped dope. Magnificent isn’t it? I would like that in my bedroom please

Me, attempting to emulate the cover of the Lonely Planet: Portugal, with it’s blue tiles.

I really love this picture (below)! The archway, blue tile wall, and just that timelessness feeling. It will survive us.

The ancient ruins of Conimbriga. And the adventure we took to get here! Never felt safer with my familia by my side. 🙂

View outside my hotel room in Porto. Probably one of my favorite hotels in all my travels. Nice central location in Porto. Cozy inside with windows that open out into the streets. I didn’t spend much time inside the hotel room but it was nice to come home to. Breakfast area with fresh squeezed orange juice and nice street view also. Julia and I and company would have warm tea at nighttime. Nice ritual in cozy bar. In Cod we trust. LOL. Yep, Portugal is known for their cod fish and I tried it fried, in a stew, baked, etc.

Sunset view at the top of Clerigos Tower.

Porto, by sea, or the Duoro River!

Amazing artist from Russia! I was so tempted to get this painting…but, alas, I have too many and not enough space! I wished I bought it though because it is magnificent (I can’t think of another word).

Amazing adventure for sure! I’m reminded of this excerpt from a book about two female travelers who’s journey was the stuff of nightmares, enough to scare anyone from traveling again, but she did travel again (alone even), because what scared her more was not seeing the world. As my roomie, Kyra Parker, said…if she waited for someone to travel with, she’ll never go anywhere. I work to travel.


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