Ik ben verhuisd!

I moved! This is what the last 3 months look like but now that Spring has arrived and it's officially T-shirt weather the possibilities are even greater!

België 👍🏼 Portugal

That was it.

I had finished my year of volunteering in Het Voedselbos, the permaculture farm in Belgium. During that year I met my boyfriend and when he told me he would be free after my program to come for a couple of months to Portugal and that he planned to go hitch hiking, even if he was going alone, I thought "Uau, so nice for him, he's going to have a great adventure!". And then I started getting very jealous of that adventure but...I had to take back all my luggage...and my laptop. My dearest-I-totally-depend-on-it-for-my-freelance-work-laptop. I had hitch hiked before and I was sure a computer wasn't going to be a part of any of it - the long hours in the sun, packing and unpacking the backpack everyday, camping, bumping, etc.  But but but....couldn't there be another way? How could I miss this?

Of course there's always another way and the day after I finished my program we were setting off on our biggest hitch hiking adventure so far. His parents were our first hitch and, after 45 other cars and around 3000km, my parents were the number 47 and the last.

To answer the question we get all the time when we tell this story: it took us 11 days, but we didn't take the shortest route. We first aimed to Gorges du Verdon, a river canyon in southeastern France for some much needed Sun and where we stayed for 3 nights. Then we made the whole French south border and we stayed for 2 other nights at Mel and Luis' home in Burgos before we set off to Portugal through Badajoz, very close to Évora - my hometown and final destination.

Nothing bad happened. Nothing bad at all. Every day we were overwhelmed with the kindness and generosity we found in everyone we met. We even had two guys that felt bad they couldn't take us and so offered us 2 bags of food to make it up. Or the one that took us and in the end also gifted us with a meal coupon. Most of the people who took us had hitch hiked before but we also had people who had never done it or who had never picked someone before, which made us feel a bit like ambassadors of a (very old) movement and even idealize that we made a very small but powerful change in the World close to us.

So many people are travelling or commuting every day, so why not take advantage of it and take our time (since we had it) to reach our destination? The journey is so worth it and it really restores the feeling that we are all the same under this skin. So many people went out of their way just to leave us in a good spot, and that was not the exception, it was what happened most of the times. We had a couple drive around an extra hour with us in Bilbao just so we wouldn't be in a completely wrong direction for the rest of the day.

We met a chef, a movie director, an acrobat, team building instructors, a couple who had just started, people with live fishes in the trunk and we saw a guy driving like a maniac that had a parrot in his passenger seat (free, not in a cage). But we were relieved he was going in another direction and we didn't take that ride. We were escorted by the French police to get out of some toll booths, the squatter friends of one of our drivers let us camp in their garden for one night and Folke even had the chance to drive the car of another driver!

We travelled by car, auto caravan and, for the first time, we managed to hop on a truck! The experience that I will most likely never forget was the one of the car that took us to Burgos after that truck driver had to drop us off. It was extremely hot even though we were already in October and we were in the middle of a very empty road about 10 km from Burgos. A small car stopped and a Moroccan guy immediately came out and started rearranging the whole car. His wife was on the back seat with a baby but that didn't stop him from taking the security shade out of the trunk so that I could sit there with both our backpacks, their luggage was moved to I don't even know where and Folke sat in the front with him. He didn't rest while he didn't leave us right in the center of Burgos, at least the one marked as center on his GPS and only during the course of the short trip I learned that the baby was merely 10 days old! He changed EVERYTHING in his car for us, complete strangers, while his newborn was there sleeping quietly and I realised that even me, as a hitch hiker, would probably not go through all that trouble in such a situation. What a lesson in altruism, true kindness and respect for fellow human beings.

Feeling so free every day, waking up in a place with zero clue of where you will sleep that night is so thrilling and so addictive. Especially if you find a nice camping in a good location, if you're lucky enough to check the local market in the morning for some tasty supplies for the day ahead and if you can treat yourself to a local beer by the end of the day to celebrate another GREAT day.

Because that's how it felt every day. A GREAT day, in the best company I could ever hope for.

 Our first hitch!

Our first hitch!

 And our last hitch!

And our last hitch!

 We arrived in Gorges du Verdon

We arrived in Gorges du Verdon

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 We didn't treat ourselves bad

We didn't treat ourselves bad

 You need to keep the spirit high, nobody stops for grumpy people!

You need to keep the spirit high, nobody stops for grumpy people!

 Folke trying to hide the enthusiasm to drive again a Peugeot 205 just like the one at home

Folke trying to hide the enthusiasm to drive again a Peugeot 205 just like the one at home

 After the French police escorted us out of those toll booths

After the French police escorted us out of those toll booths

 That time we slept in a garden that wasn't ours, allowed by the people who lived in a house that wasn't theirs (but that had a name -  Chateâu des Étoiles )

That time we slept in a garden that wasn't ours, allowed by the people who lived in a house that wasn't theirs (but that had a name - Chateâu des Étoiles)

 Trying to cross one more border

Trying to cross one more border

 The first  caña  in Spain!

The first caña in Spain!

 He would set up this show in every camping

He would set up this show in every camping

 The first and only time we managed to hop on a truck!

The first and only time we managed to hop on a truck!

 Right before Burgos and the Moroccan couple picked us up

Right before Burgos and the Moroccan couple picked us up

 Burgos!

Burgos!

 Where we had our weight in  tortilla  and wine

Where we had our weight in tortilla and wine

 We don't have pictures with our sweet friends Mel and Luis who hosted us in Burgos, but Caju here stole our hearts and part of the available memory on our phones...

We don't have pictures with our sweet friends Mel and Luis who hosted us in Burgos, but Caju here stole our hearts and part of the available memory on our phones...

 The first time I saw Portugal written on a road billboard

The first time I saw Portugal written on a road billboard

 
 And, to not break the tradition, a very blurry picture of our first Super Bock in Portuguese territory. In Elvas, where we were already too close to our destination to camp and from where my parents picked us up!

And, to not break the tradition, a very blurry picture of our first Super Bock in Portuguese territory. In Elvas, where we were already too close to our destination to camp and from where my parents picked us up!

 

New and not so brief adventure...

I'm very happy to announce that I'm now part of the Brief Creatives team!

Feel free to reach out to us, we're a young and skillful team, highly motivated and with a growing portfolio full of potential.

We're in Lisbon but we have clients from Switzerland, Brazil, Ireland and...where are you from?

(Photo credits: Marco Pinarelli)

North Pole it is!

Invited by NiTiN (Nordisk Institutt for Trening og Internasjonalt Nettverk) I participated in a five days Partnership Building Activity about global challenges and Climate change in Longyerbyen (this is in Svalbard, Norway, very close to Greenland and already in the North Pole).

This was a unique, unforgettable and AMAZING experience! At this time of the year the sun doesn't set so we had 24 hours of daylight. The landscapes are breathtaking and the chance of seeing a polar bear is exciting and frightening at the same time. They're very cute and all but if you get to see one, it's either him or you, that's why the locals usually carry a gun when leaving the small town.

We arrived in Longyerbyen at 3AM. AM. A....M. Now check the light:

The view from the apartment

The town

The entrance of the cabin

And these are the most dangerous birds I have ever seen and with which we had to deal every time we had to cross this road. They felt threatened because it was nesting season and so they attacked everyone who would come through. The common practice (and recommended by the Town Hall) was to defend yourself with a stick.

Ride in a dog sled

Small hike

Svalbard day

 

And there was a ferry boat trip to the glaciers towards Pyramiden — a Russian settlement abandoned in 1998.

Whales!

 

And our last day arrived...

Farewell gifts

I'm still not sure what to say about leaving Macau after 4 years.
What I can say without a doubt is that I left there some really good friends. I wanted to leave a gift to some of them, a piece designed by me that they could hang on their wall and would make them remind of me. So I picked three very important families to me while being there.

I made a customised design to each family that anyone who knows them will understand and smile when they see it.

More than a farewell gift, it was a thank you gift. With all my love :)

And I ended up doing one more piece for my parents because they're the family I love first :)

I won a 1st prize!!!

(INTRODUCTORY NOTE: April 25th is a very meaningful day for the Portuguese, it reminds us of a time when we were so brave that we are still proud of it 39 years after. It was a day where the People ruled and Freedom won over dictatorship. I believe we need a new Revolution these days. A Revolution to fight corruption, to fight the destruction of the simple arts of agriculture and fishing in which we used to be masters and to fight for the dreams that are being taken away from most of us. I don't live in Portugal anymore because I can't. It's a wonderful country, full of natural resources, beautiful landscapes, great food, a lot of sunlight and very genuine people. Unfortunately, I can't, because they don't let me.)

I participated in a competition promoted by Casa de Portugal em Macau about April 25th. It should be an original work for this competition in the field of Visual Arts. I created a digital illustration where you can read, in Portuguese, "Thirst for April, Forever" and the illustration makes an analogy with the wine that is called "Revolution". For the frame, I wanted it to have something related to music, since it was a specific song on the radio that triggered the whole revolution. I up-cycled a broken guitar and transformed the neck and head into the bottom of the frame and then cut three rectangles on the back part of the body to make the rest of the frame.

 

 

The jury was unanimous in giving me the 1st and only prize and I had a fierce competition so it was a wonderful and unexpected victory!

 


(Thank you Bruno for all the help, not only in putting the strings...)

 

I designed a new typeface!

 
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RADIUS is out! Radius is a typeface that plays with two different widths and very round or very straight lines. You can already download it from dafont.com since it was submitted and accepted in less that a week!

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Autumn Leaves and Puppets' Loves

One of my oldest friends is Joana. We've known each other since we were 6. Her father is a Puppet Master and ever since I remember from all the infinite hours spent at their place, the love put into every new puppet was truly inspiring. My favorite one - o Gato - still makes my cry after all these years and the most amazing part of it all is that he uses only his mastering techniques and music to make the puppets come alive and tell amazing stories.

So, when Joana told me they would be going to Beijing for a show (they travel every year and I don't remember the last time they came back without a prize), I had to make it possible for them to also bring their magic to Macau, my new home.

Having found the perfect venue and sponsors, I did the production of a two-days event at Albergue SCM, full of playground activities for children that culminated in a puppet show by my long-time friends - TRULÉ. In this free-entrance event, children (and grown-ups!) could play traditional games, do canvas painting, get a face painting, play with animals (and adopt them), know more about the Red Cross or the “I am a bone marrow donor” campaigns, play badmington or play with a giant tangram! There was also free coffee for all of the grown-ups!

The puppet show, entitled ”Puppet Variations on a Musical Theme” by TRULÉ was beautiful and everybody loved it, including the staff. Despite being the only producer of this event, I had the good help from very good friends and without them this wouldn’t have been possible.

It was very exhausting but heart-warming and extremely rewarding to have a bit of home come to me because of my will to make it happen. I definitely surprised myself with my ability to do it!