Since the beginning of the Coronovirus pandemic, I have been planning to finish writing about our time in Portugal. However, the writer’s block that I have experienced has led me to a better understanding of saudade, one of those words with no direct equivalent in English. It’s a term that is an important component in the literature, music, and soul of Portuguese culture.
Among the many definitions of saudade, most express a melancholic nostalgia for something that may never happen again, but it also carries a sense of something that possibly has not happened.
My dilemma was that I would be writing about the wonderful experiences of Portugal that we had, before the pandemic occurred. But now, the world has changed. And with those changes, the Portugal that we experienced may never exist again, and trying to write about it brought me face-to-face with saudade.
While I know that that everything changes, that niggling saudade kept creeping into my attempts to share something that is no longer able to be shared, certainly for the near future. But we did experience that pre-pandemic Portugal and though it may not be the same as it was when we were there, we still want to share the places we visited. Both for those who may never have the opportunity to travel as we have been so fortunate to do, but also to inspire others to take the leap, to travel beyond their comfort zone when it’s safe to travel again.
I have always said that this Slow Nomads blog is for us, and we allow others to follow along without reservation. And one day when we are older and our memory begins to fade we will read these words and look at all the photographs of all the wondrous places, and we’ll say, “I wonder who these lucky people were? They certainly did have a grand adventure!”
The most important reason that I must continue writing, however, is that this is our record of our adventure – without melancholy, without sadness, and without saudade.