It’s been quiet on my blog for the past month. Not because of some big, terrible disease I suffered from, nor from a hectic work-life schedule (although work has been hectic and life has been exciting). I’ve been quiet on my blog for one very simple reason: I’ve had some peace of mind, and I wasn’t ready to be ‘online’ yet.
Sounds very spiritual yeah, I know. Sounds very not-me, yeah, I know.
This month of mindfulness hasn’t come out of the blue though. Some of you might have already made the connection, if you follow me in Instagram, you most likely have.
At the beginning of July I traveled to Portugal. After spending a day or two in Lisbon I traveled to Cascais with my sister and stayed at the Salty Pelican for the course of eight days. The Salty Pelican is a surf and yoga retreat – very hipster, I know – and it was good. It is a trip I will never forget and will forever treasure. It was the perfect little escape I didn’t know I needed, and I am grateful for every moment of it.
I don’t remember how I decided to book this trip, but somewhere at the beginning of this year I started searching for surf and yoga hostels in Portugal. It didn’t take me long before I found the Salty Pelican, and it also didn’t take me long to come to the conclusion that I HAD to go. I asked my sister to join me, and I already knew her answer before she said so herself. Of course she would say yes – she surfed before in Australia, and she takes weekly yoga lessons at her gym at home. So why not combine it in a holiday with her little sister – even though we never voluntarily spent more than three days together before this trip.
For quite a long time I was pretty excited for this new travel experience I was about to have. But the closer we got to D-day the more nervous I got. And trust me: I don’t get nervous easily. However, I did get nervous this time. I was scared I wouldn’t be able to learn how to surf, and couldn’t keep up with the rest of my class. I’m really not a good swimmer you know – yeah, you probably know, I bring this up quite often.
So at the beginning of July I kinda forgot why I thought it would be such a great idea to step on a surfboard and book this trip. But nerves got overruled by excitement for this new thing I was about to try, and so I went to Portugal. Like a happy little girl who was about to travel for the first time.
From the moment I stepped into the Salty Pelican I felt at home. The atmosphere was relaxed and chill. You didn’t feel the need to do anything – no rush, no worries, no stress. As well the staff as the hotel guests were the most amazing peeps. Genuine, only sending out positive vibes. Our roommates quickly became our travelbuddies, taking us with them as if we’ve been friends forever.
We had the best luck, combined with the worst. During the week we spent at the Salty Pelican there was some kind of festival going on in Lisbon, which is why we were in the company of a lot of drunk, British guys, who didn’t join our happy surf and yoga moments. At the beginning of the week I was sad because of this – I wanted to be joined by yogi’s only! But the longer I stayed at the Salty Pelican the more I learned that this was actually a good thing: less yogi’s and surfi’s (surfi’s?), meant smaller groups, which was perfect. We got closer to one another so fast.
As I said.. I’ve never been much into yoga. Or, well, I was always planning to do more of it. But trying to learn yourself yoga is hard – especially now I know how professionals teach it. We joined our yoga lessons twice a day. At seven in the morning we woke up, walked straight to the beach and had an intense morning yoga lesson. While it was definitely hard, you wouldn’t hear me complain. The fresh morning air combined with the stretches and poses we did was the perfect way to wake up both my mind as my body.
In the afternoon we walked towards the park, close to our hostel. While the sun was burning on our skin we relaxed our body, released all the tension and breathed.
It only took me three lessons to become addicted.. to actually miss the hours I wasn’t working on mindfulness and yoga poses. It took away all the stress that I didn’t even knew I had.
Once a day we drove towards the beach for a surfing lesson. The first day I was nervous as hell. I got excited.. but yeah, I was definitely nervous. Once I saw the waves and got told the what seemed like a thousand safety instructions I almost felt dizzy. But once I tried to catch my first wave I was sold. I wasn’t able to stand up the first day (nor the second), but boy did I love it.
I’m not a good swimmer, and when I am on holiday I never go out into the ocean to far because I don’t want the waves to catch me. Everyone who knows me must have thought I was out of my mind while booking this spontaneous surf trip. But now, now I was craving to go into the waves. I felt happy when the salt water completely swallowed me and I felt the energy going through my body once I slid down the water, making speed while the waves were catching up to me.
The combination of surf and yoga is an iconic one. I can’t put my finger on the reason, but it is. Even though both sports are incredibly hard, it makes you feel more relaxed than you can imagine. But mostly, it makes you feel present – and it made me feel happy.
I’ve never laughed so many genuine smiles as I did this week. And for the first time ever, I cried when I left.
The Salty Pelican was my little happy place. Surfing was my energizer, while yoga brought me back to basics. I was inspired by the people surrounding me and the fresh air and sound of the waves reminded me that happiness is found in the little things.
The most genuine smile you will ever see on my face. Surfing in Portugal was the perfect trip, I absolutely loved every minute of it!