Lisbon was the last month in Europe before we head to South America for 6 months. Before coming to Lisbon I had only heard of raving reviews. I also liked it a lot when I went during INSEAD 10 years ago. So I had very high expectations of the city. After the initial high of loving our cute and charming traditional Portuguese style apartment and day 1 of walking around the city and going to an outdoor jazz festival,
I fell into a mode of missing Split for a good two weeks. I missed the ocean breeze and my daily routine of going to the work space and swimming in the sea, even the Tommy (the supermarket next to the work space) became so endearing to me. As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t connect with Lisbon for a long time. I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed the openness of Split – being able to look out to the sea everyday and seeing the open view. Lisbon on the other hand is very narrow and felt closed up – the streets are narrow, I can only see buildings, the air felt not as fresh, and it got very hot very quickly without air conditioning or being able to dip into the ocean.
So I buried myself into work. A big milestone for work was my coaching written exam. I was quite stressed out about it when I realized how much reading I hadn’t done and how many recordings I hadn’t listened to. Luckily I managed to catch up on everything over a weekend. When I finished the exam I realized it was actually a great learning experience and I was thankful that I had to do it. I also had my last certification call with my cohort which turned out to be quite an emotional experience for me. The call made me realize how much I value the last 6 months being in certification with this group of 8 other amazing individuals led by our wonderful certification leader. It made me realize how much of a better coach I am today from when I first started. I find myself not stressing about the client sessions anymore, and I’m able to relax more, exhibiting more fierce courage, playfulness, and aliveness. I am so grateful I got the opportunity to go through this program and want to celebrate the achievements I have had. I still have the oral exam to do which I will be doing next month when I’m in Buenos Aires (post script: I did pass my oral exam and I am now a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, CPCC!) If you are interested in taking your life to the next level, book a free sample coaching session here.
Even though I was slow to connect with Lisbon, I eventually grew to like it very much. I found a lot of joy in my little routine of being the first one at the work space everyday, as I did in Split, and enjoying my cup of coffee in solitude. I also loved having a small supermarket next door, like the Tommy in Split, where I could get my daily staples of vegetables, nuts, and cheese. I also loved the almost daily routine of doing, and sometimes leading other Remotes, to do yoga, meditation, and workout on the rooftop of the work space – a really relaxing location.
I also enjoyed my moments of exploring the city on my own – a MeetUp session that turned out to be not so great but that gave me the opportunity to take a long walk back to the apartment.
Perhaps the most iconic view of Lisbon
Beautiful street murals
Sunset by the seaside
Then there were really fun activities we did in the Remote Year Ohana group. Some of my favorites were:
Dinner with the local team in the gorgeous apartment of our city manager:
having delicious food (this is just the hors d’oeuvre before the dinner)
with the most amazing view.
Painting traditional Portuguese tiles:
Here is one of my painted tiles before it went into the oven.
A cocktail mixology class in a local bar learning how to make cocktails from two awesomely talented bartenders and playing fun games.
A bike ride through a local neighborhood outside Lisbon and having delicious home-cooked Portuguese food and hanging out with the local family.
Walking through Alfama and doing most things in this article including walking through the backstreets, drinking Ginjinha overlooking a beautiful view, and listening to Fado while drinking Portuguese wine and nibbling on Portuguese food.
One of my favorite memories was waking up at 5am with the hopes to see the sunrise at Castelo de São Jorge but realizing we couldn’t go into the castle at that hour and unexpectedly finding another view point which turned out to be even better. At Miradouro das portas do sol we saw one of the most beautiful and one of the longest sunrises of all time. What a great way to say goodbye to Lisbon, an absolutely gorgeous city.
I also took a side trip with my two best friends in Ohana, Susanna and Susan, to Porto and Douro Valley. I loved Porto when I went in May to visit Grant and I loved it equally the second time back. We got to see more of Porto, which is absolutely a stunning city.
This time I got to go to the other side of the river and took a gondola ride.
Day 2 we drove through Douro Valley and did wine tasting, which was absolutely magical.
I saw some of the most beautiful and unique landscape ever.
Before Douro Valley I hadn’t seen landscape with such a narrow river with picturesque mountains on both sides.
There were also some sad moments this month. Two of my best friends in the group decided to leave the program after this month. It was great to be able to help plan Antoine’s birthday before he left and to go to Porto with Susan before she left.
Here we are at the Lisbon city farewell party where we said goodbye to them, wearing our new Ohana shirts.
The leaving of Antoine and Susan hit me quite hard and I realize now that I couldn’t fully process everything I felt back then. It was the start of another low point for me which continued to go down and bottomed out in Buenos Aires next month. I started questioning more whether I should stay in the group or could I do this better and easier on my own. I started questioning again what is the value of being in the group. If two of my closest friends have already left what does that say about me and the people who are still left? By the end of Lisbon we had 7 people leaving, which is 25% of the group and I knew there were other close friends who were contemplating leaving. So I left Lisbon with a heavy heart – a mix of emotions of sadness, doubt, uncertainty, and at the same time looking forward to the start of the next chapter of our journey in South America which was a big part of why I chose this program.