This is a story about Love, Travel, Internet and Connecting.
My favourite kind of stories.
I am Portuguese.
We are usually famous for being extremely loud, having the best football player in the world, and being the original explorers; but in case you don’t know, we also famous for being “all about Family”. So it doesn’t come as a surprise, the importance Christmas has in my culture.
Since I start this Footprints in the Clouds journey back in 2013, I have been terrified about what would I do for Christmas and worrying about not being with my family, but this has been my third Christmas while on the road and it has been an adventure as I have been having the most incredible and surprising Christmas so far.
This post come as a continuation of this blog post I wrote a little while back: Hot Christmas
The first one, back in 2013, was also the first ever Christmas I spent without my family. It was very difficult for me, however I was so lucky to have one of my best and dear friends, Emma from Denmark, inviting me to spend Christmas with her beautiful family in Malaysia. It was so strange because the weather was completely different: instead of snow and cold temperatures, we spent a good part of the day tanning at the swimming pool and of course I end up having a blast as I was surrounded by the loveliest people, and it felt just like my Family! On top of that, there was a few babies around, and Christmas without children isn’t Christmas to me. So got myself my first No Blood Family Christmas, my first Hot Christmas, my first Danish Christmas and my first Malay Christmas. There were a lot of firsts in this one. (Thanks Knudsens)
I couldn’t handle 2 Christmas in a row without my loved ones, so in 2014 I flew home and surprise the entire family, which was one of the coolest things I ever done – apart the fact my mum almost had a heart attack when she saw me. It was great to be able to see all my family and even friends. However, I must say that made me realize I got spoiled when it comes to the beautiful Asian weather. Europe in the Winter sucks. True fact.
This year has been a bit different. Not only I knew I couldn’t go home, also didn’t have any of my besties around.
However, I had one of the coolest Christmas I could wish for. And you know why?
Imagine a beautiful house breathing the most multicultural vibe with people from USA, Portugal, Rwanda, Netherlands, Jamaica, Canada, Haiti, Ukraine, Indonesia, Nigeria etc. Now imagine a lot of delicious Mexican food (yes, you read right: Mexican food on Christmas day and no, there was no Mexicans in the house). Now add face painting by the talented children, to frolics in the swimming pool, a bunch of super cool people sharing world travel stories, dancing and a lot of eating and drinking, it was indeed a special day.
Seriously, it was so much fun and so different from any other Christmas I ever had.
What was really cool about it was realizing the power of traveling and the power of internet. Pretty much everyone in that house was a World Traveler, someone that left their comfortable “habitat” to explore the world and everything that comes with it. We share similar passions, similar ideologies and similar dreams. We often would feel like we were having “dejavus” while talking and the same sentences were being repeated by different people through the house. It was beautiful as it is so special to connect with such tribe. Is like the misfits came together and united as one.
Internet that has this special power of connecting people and glue us to each other.
In this case the link is my beautiful, incredible and inspiring friend and mentor Rhonda Swan.
So I would like to thank The Swans, aka the Unstoppable Family, for inviting me to their house and to their lives. And a special thanks to their wonderful daughter, Hanalei, for always brightening my day and of course, the lovely Christmas present. She is one of the smartest, sweetest, talented and kind little girl I ever met. She make me have all sort of new goals for having children someday ahahah. Rhonda, still waiting on your book about parenthood.
So coming back to Internet power, it’s actually kinda shocking to think that back in 2011 I used to look at The Unstoppable Family videos on YouTube and read their blog posts online and found them so inspiring and motivational. They are sort of Rockstars in the travel community so it is so surreal that I am now spending Christmas at their house with their family and friends. Life is funny indeed. As my good friend Ren says: “Reality is stranger than fiction”!!!
But a Christmas without my family would never be Christmas to me, so thanks to the time difference and Internet, I end up having a second Christmas in Portugal (virtually). It was so much fun as I could see my parents and sisters cooking, eating, and I would participate in the entire conversation. However, my mum broke my heart when she mentioned she was expecting me to do another surprise and fly home. Guess I know now where my next Christmas will be. 😉
If you would like to have a taste on how this Christmas was to me, check this fun video Rhonda recorded of us all saying Cheers in our languages. Cheers Video
Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas wherever you are and whoever with.
Much love from Bali,