It’s spring!

The conversations around the office are starting to be about vacations and traveling.

When I say office, I mean home office virtually, where everybody has their virtual background of their favorite destination on Teams or Zoom.

I just figured how amazing it is for an icebreaker. When someone asks about the background, the passion, and the enthusiasm others have when they talk about their own experiences is absolutely amazing.


I never traveled when I was a child. I made a one-time trip to visit my extended family to Madeira Island in Portugal. I was 4 years old, and I remember trying really hard to keep memories alive from all the flying experience, as the second time I went on a flight was already in my twenties.

It was a domestic flight yet it’s still the most impactful and memorable moment in my life. From that trip I wanted to be a flight attendant. I thought it was the coolest and most fun job in the world. Throughout my childhood, I told everyone I wanted to be a flight attendant.

If you’re curious to know, it was a flight from Lisbon (my hometown in Portugal) to Funchal, located in Madeira island. Perhaps you’ve heard about it as it is Cristiano Ronaldo’s hometown.

Well let’s say making the calculation, I believe when I did my memorable trip to Madeira when I was 4 years old, Cristiano Ronaldo was not born yet or he was a newborn… just for reference! LOL.

I remember thinking that traveling was the most amazing thing in life. It was like an unachievable goal. I didn’t know the options about traveling.

I remember listening to my uncle, Tio Paulo (by the way, it was him I traveled to Madeira when I was 4 years old), and he had this extraordinary story of the Interrail experience, which was traveling Europe by train, at a very low cost, backpacking, sleeping in the train by night, and visiting different places by day during one full month. I always wished to do something like that!

The most similar thing I did was in my senior year of high school,  my class arranged a trip from Lisbon to Braga on Easter (a very nice and historical city in Portugal), everything was organized by the school. But then because there was not enough money, and at that time my classmates couldn’t afford to go, I decided to lie to my mom and do the trip by myself with my high school boyfriend. 

I had spent one full year doing chores, working all the jobs I could to save money for this trip, so I couldn’t just skip it like that!

I remember putting the bills inside of my white Converse All-Star. We did this trip going on a train by night which was the mail train or something, which means it would stop in all the places.

I remember laying down in the seat, having my All-Star very well tied up with my laces so there was no chance my money could be stolen.

I also was terrified of going on that train with my boyfriend since we both lied to our parents!

I was feeling bad lying to my parents. But at that time, there were no mobiles, so I  had to call them when I arrived to know I was safe, and when I was coming back to pick me up. I had the plan to let my parents know as soon as I arrived!

Why am I telling this story? Well, because my trip when I was 4 years old, my first time flying, or my first trip going away from home, were just memorable! So much that I still can remember moments with such clarity and care.

During college, the dream to travel was still unachievable, but I started to know people who would travel besides my Tio Paulo. I started to think about the possibility of traveling!

Until I got my first job interview in Madrid! What?!!

Well after I graduated, and completed my internship, I applied for a job from a company with headquarters in Spain, and after the first interview, they asked me to travel to Madrid, and have a 2-day interview process including a hotel in Madrid, the capital city!

Oh well! This is it! 

I was so freaking nervous, I couldn’t sleep, I’ve never been to the airport by myself, I didn’t know how to check-in or anything about the whole process of boarding.

But when I made it, I didn’t speak Spanish but I thought Portuguese would be similar to spanish if I did speak Portuguese with a Spanish accent! Well, let’s just say it didn’t work. LOL!

I don’t know how it happened, but I got the job, I lived in Madrid for 3 months, I learned Spanish, and I made friends. After that job I got another job, which starting then, made me travel so much.

At that time, traveling was my favorite part of the job.

Now I still think traveling is one of the exciting things I do with my family, and I feel for the most people I know.

I am telling you all these stories, because traveling shaped me so much, I can’t even explain!

Meeting different people, different cultures, different habits, different food, feels like an adventure every day! Now I am used to planes, I did quite a few trips from work, with the family, or as a couple, and I feel it is rewarding every time we leave the house.

I read some research and I found a travel blogger saying: 

Even the bad travel experiences wind up being good for you. How many times have you found yourself regaling people with your tales of travel gone wrong, like the time you got food poisoning in Mexico, or the time you missed a flight after Oktoberfest, or the time a guy ripped you off in India? And you’re laughing about this stuff; you’re boasting about it.

If you ever needed a demonstration of the power of experience as happiness, then that is it. Even those nightmare episodes when everything goes wrong tend to be looked back upon fondly. They still make you smile years and years later.

There is so much research about Traveling = Happiness. Traveling is considered as building moments of happiness, and I can relate!

Here’s another good blog reading about the reason traveling makes you happy.

In my corporate environment, traveling is our favorite topic. I like it when I hear someone saying, “I need to travel” as if it was a basic need in life.

For me traveling is about putting myself out of my comfort zone, and challenging the way I am living my life. It makes me see my life in perspective, and helps me shift priorities. I always feel stronger after a trip.


What about you? What does traveling mean to you? Share your answers in the comments!


Take care always. AnnaJo

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