The capital of the Algarve, this small town on the southern coast of Portugal has become my new temporary home as I embark on a new journey out of Amsterdam, this time on my lonesome. With sweeping beaches, medieval quarters and weather that I can actually survive in, Faro went straight to the top of my bucket list when I learned that I wouldn’t get a working contract at The Flying Pig back in Amsterdam, at least not straight after I finished whapping there. Couple this with the fact that one of my best friends, Anne, would also be in Faro when I arrived, plus a ticket costing only €28 and I had a destination that couldn’t be turned up.
And let me tell you, I haven’t been disappointed once in the 10 days I’ve been here. When I first set eyes on the historic town I couldn’t help but think that Faro was somewhat of a cross between Indonesia and some place in the Middle East, with a little bit of ancient Greece thrown into the mix somewhere. A ‘third-world country’ blessed with it’s first world title, tucked away in the corner of Europe going about it’s daily regime peacefully and civilly.
I guess one of the main reasons why I decided on moving to Portugal so abruptly, even if it would only be for a month or two, was to escape the trap that Amsterdam held me in for the last few months I lived and worked there. Not only Amsterdam, but The Pig as well. Now that I’ve removed myself from the insanity that I called my day-to-day for 3 months, I’ve realised that I was living a chapter of my life that may have been the best I’ve ever experienced, but also a time where I, along with most of my friends, were on a constant ‘rip.’ All I can liken it to is a weekend bender, only 3 months long, and not just on the weekend. Everyday was a Friday at The Pig, and we’d take any and every excuse to keep the bender going, even to the point where we’d start the rip a day early when there was a legitimate party happening the next night, and drink away the hangover to start again after passing out in bed at 4am. Every night. I have to be honest, because when it comes down to it, we were all just stoned, broke, hippie junkies, sleeping in a squalor but making the best life out of it. It may sound absurd, but I wouldn’t change those 3 months for anything else in the world. And for that, I’m thankful that I got to experience what I did.
So in true Ben fashion I booked a flight here on a limb, draining my bank account to the last $7 trusting that I’ll be able to get by for a month without starving too much. I’ve made a home for myself here in an old mental asylum that’s been turned into a small backpacker’s hostel, currently closed for the low season but always open to couch-surfers passing through. My job here is to supposedly keep the place clean and help out with some maintenance to get the place ready for next years high season, but so far all I’ve done in the 10 days I’ve been here is paint a sign for the front of the hostel. I guess the fact that I sorted this job out through Facebook Messenger should have been a hint that this would be a fairly chilled job, but I certainly wasn’t expecting to be able to do whatever I want, whenever I want and not have to worry about how little work I’ve done. Of course I want to repay Nuno, the one who runs this place, for his generosity of letting me live here completely free of charge, and I’ll do that to the best of my abilities when he lets me know what he wants done. But until then, I could get very used to chilling right out here in little Faro. After the craziness that Amsterdam was, chilling is the best thing I can do. I came to Faro to clear my mind, to process all the insanity and to get that sweet taste of travelling once again. I came to Faro to chill. Chill I will.
And my plans for the future? Let me be completely honest with you and say that plans absolutely do not work anymore. Since I got a taste for travelling while working, I realised that it’s one of the best ways to fully experience and embrace a country and its culture. So for now I am happy doing just that – exploring Europe on as little money as possible while having the best time possible. Who knows where my next destination will be. But I do know, for sure, that it’ll be just as good, if not better, than the last.
Until next time,