The Woman Who Walks Alone

“The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before.” – Albert Einstein

In case you are wondering what happened to yesterday’s blog… I fell asleep. As simple as that. You all know that I blog every morning from my little cafe, and on Wednesdays when I have my breakfast “meeting” I have taken to blogging from the train. Not as easy, but doable, that is how committed I am to blogging. It has taken the place of journaling in a notebook in like in my youth, but if I skip a day I feel guilty. It’s no different from those who go to the gym daily, skip a session and your body keeps trying to compensate for something that went missing.

This is proving to be a difficult week, to say the least, and I am sleep-deprived and exhausted. So yesterday morning on the train, I closed my eyes to contemplate what to write about and slipped into a deep sleep. Next thing I knew the train was pulling into Sete Rios already and dashed out. Sometimes I wonder why the devil I push myself so hard, going through the motions at a punishing rate as if there is no tomorrow. After almost four months in Portugal, I realise how German I have become, ploughing ahead to meet the demands and standards at great personal cost. Portugal has driven home the point in the most gentle way, drilling it into my stubborn head that it is ok to drop everything at the end of the working day, go out and chill, and give your all to the the private time during the weekends. The work will still be there the next day or the following Monday, but you can never recover lost time you owe yourself.

When I look at the photographs I have managed to take during the past months, I am satisfied with my progress in terms of learning to chill and the embracing passions that drive my soul. This is not the country to get lost in the crowd and jump on the bandwagon. On the contrary. If you observe the sense of fashion, colour, and movement among the Portuguese, individuality is a core element that is highly valued. Yes, there are some common denominators, but you don’t get lost among the trees, nor do you stick out like a sore thumb for being an exotic bird of paradise. Everyone is an exotic cockatoo here, whether you show up in shrill pink and orange, or barely there shorts and oops-I-forgot-the-rest tops and nobody will look twice, and certainly not with disdain. The only time you will be singled out is if you are spewing incredibly foul language, lashing out about the world in general, and being an obnoxious pain in the ass by sharing the same air as everyone else. This was typical Berliner behaviour that I got used and imune to over the years, and I never really noticed it anymore, until I arrived here and realised how much gentle individuality I had been missing. Call it culture shock if you may, but coming from Berlin, where nobody gives a shit if you are culturally offended or your personal space as been invaded, the Portuguese mindfulness and kindness is a shock.

For those of us still on the journey of rebirth and restitution, re-learning to embrace individuality and being unafraid of uniqueness is a tough lesson. This is what the shots of the day are all about. Sure, there is safety in numbers, and you never have to look too far for the next one to lean on, but if you walk alone, or in this case roll alone, there is nothing but open space around you and you can stand out and make your presence known, instead of just being another statistic.

Lost in the crowd I ©FrogDiva Photography
Lost in the crowd II d©FrogDiva Photography
Rolling Alone ©FrogDiva Photography

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