Back to good old Europe.

I remember this so well…

I was in Japan, close to Tokyo, having a wonderful time and one day I woke up and though… “where the hell am I going for Christmas this year?” And in my head I could just hear this little voice saying “go home, go to Portugal, you do miss your family so go back home for a little while” and as much I was trying to avoid that annoying little voice, I knew I couldn’t ignore it forever because that voice was right…

Without thinking too much and on a robotic mode, I got on my laptop, went to skyscanner, looked at flights and prices and as soon as I found something not excessively expensive, I bought it. Just like that. The whole thing happened in less than 10min. I didn’t think too much about it, I let the little voice win and I did what I knew it was the right thing to do. My family needed me, my friends needed me and I was missing everyone terribly and yes, I also needed them all. That was a good enough reason.

Before this trip, the longest I have been away from my family was 4 months. It was so difficult but I am quite good programming my brain and I did it well … at least for a while.

The original plan was to spend roughly a year and a half in the Australasia region before going to the Americas (and only then stop over in Europe to see everyone), but I ended up staying much longer than initially planned in Asia and I then realized that I would need at least 2 years in that side of the world to see things the way I wanted and to experiment the way I desired.

But I couldn’t stay away for so long. I knew it would cost me a lot to travel all the way back and return but I felt that was something that had to be done.

As I love good surprises, I decided I wouldn’t tell anyone about coming home… it should be a completely unexpected surprise!!! And only closer to the date, I decided to plan something fun. Told a very restrict number of people about coming home for Christmas and begged them for their confidentiality (thank you all, very proud specially of you Danny ahahah).

Secret Christmas party in London

Secret Christmas party in London

It went all very well.

While in Vietnam, I just took a bunch of pictures and for a while, I kept lying about my location.

Traveled to Bangkok where I spent some time with my beautiful friend Corrine (which was inspired to do the same to her family and flew a couple of days before me), did a new tattoo, flew to London, met some of my besties (surprising most of them), got them promising me to not to share the news that I was back, had a wonderful Christmas party with them all, and only then I flew to Portugal – and during all this time, I kept pretending I was still in Vietnam, by posting pictures daily.

Surprising my family was so special that I will never forget their faces and reactions.

For months I could feel like they were expecting me to go home, however, I kept telling them how it didn’t make sense to go, and how it was not going to happen … I knew I had finally convinced them I wasn’t going back to Europe for the holiday when my mum told me I should go and spend Christmas with some family we have in Sydney, Australia, as my Christmas present was already there. By this stage I knew they were not really expecting me, my acting skills were great – I won.

So with the help of my dear cousin Bruna, the only person I told about my intentions, we got a plan in place. She invited my parents and her mum (which is like a second mum) to me, for dinner at her place. I arrived a couple of hours before and lived a few adventures in my own country (my luggage literally flew out of the bus in the middle of the highway – managed to get it back even tho I end up almost making a deal with the devil to get it back ahahah – true story, really).

Was very nervous waiting for everyone because they were all late. And I knew one of my sisters had spent the day at the hospital so was worried of course… but for my surprise, they all made it, even tho they all arrived at my cousin’ an hour late – Latins…!

Plan was for me to wait in the bedroom while they would be in the living room. As soon as they arrived, my cousin told them she saw me on Skype, and that she wanted to surprise me by doing a Skype call as I had no idea they were all together… and so it was, while they were all on Skype trying to call, I picked up, pretending to be surprised about them all being together, but warning that the internet connection in Vietnam was really bad and that I could disconnect at any time. And then I turned off the laptop.

What happened next, was pretty cool, and instead of telling, I rather show it as I obviously filmed it.

Back home

Back home

It was so cool, and even tho I was worried my mum would have some sort of heart attack, everything end up being ok. End up doing the same with my sisters and most of my family =)

My time in Portugal was difficult. Sadly had some of my dearest people very sick so the first weeks were spent in the hospital. Actually, the first time my sisters and I were reunited, after an year and a half separated, was at the hospital while one was interned. So looking back, I am so glad I made that decision of returning because I felt so needed and was good to be back for them.

I truly believe everything happens for a reason and even tho so many negative things happened, I kept my positive mode on and tried my best to not to go down.


Sisters together – finally.


Great things happened too… a wonderful lady I befriended in Korea, my Asian Emma, came to visit me as she had promised me when we met, and had a great week being a tourist in my own country exploring with her and showing her around.

Then decided that I couldn’t disregard my other home, London, where my other family lives, my friends. So after Christmas e New Year in Portugal, I needed to spend my birthday with my people and so had a wonderful 5 weeks back in London seeing my friends.

With my Korean Friend

With my Korean Friend

Was so incredible as I felt like nothing really changed, felt like all that time I have been away, a year and a half, was in fact a few weeks having some holiday, because everything really was the same. Surely that first hug and kiss I gave my friends was longer, but quickly everything felt into place. My party was amazing, a far cry from last year in China, alone locked in a hotel suite. Several of my friends even flew from different countries in Europe to come and celebrate with me and felt the luckiest girl being reunited with so many amazing people I call friends.

But my European adventure wasn’t done.

I wanted to return to Portugal, because my grandma was turning 80 years old, and I really wanted to be present for such a big occasion. And this is where I am at the moment.

My birthday party in London

My birthday party in London

And you know what? Is so good to be back. To be back to Portugal. To be back in London. To have the love of my family and my friends. To know I can cook food again, to have my beautiful room to sleep, to recognize where I am and know the name of streets… everything is easy again.

But, my heart is screaming “Its time to goooooo” and as much I love being back, I can’t wait to leave again. The exploration isn’t done. So many places to see, people to meet, things to learn, experiences to experiment and adventures to live.


And it will happen very soon.

Stay tuned,

Big news coming up very soon 😉

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4 thoughts on “Back to good old Europe.

  1. shaun

    LOVE your family reaction. Have goosebumps after seeing your mum. Such a great gesture you did 😀 Now I wanna do the same someday to my family!

    1. emmaolmi Post author

      Thank you Shaun! it was so much fun to prepare the surprise to be honest 😀 Hope you can so something similar someday and let me know how it goes.


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