Traveling opens the mind. We often hear it repeated, but experiencing it firsthand is another thing.
A year or so after the last pandemic restrictions, I’m finding myself finally traveling to a new destination, discovering a country I had never visited before. A place that perhaps isn't as overrun by mass tourism as many others that are instead besieged during the Christmas holidays. Finally, I’m rediscovering that pleasant sensation of spiritual and personal enrichment.

On a Lisbon-Cape Verde flight, I was seated for 4 hours next to two friendly Cape Verdean ladies who speak no language other than a mix of Portuguese and Creole. A pleasant journey that reminded me of how beautiful it is to learn new customs and traditions, trying to exchange a few words in an improvised but effective language just enough to understand each other and kill time.
The thirst for novelty leads me to absorb everything around me, offering me new ideas for future projects. Everything is inspiring: words, smells, and colors vibrating around me, opening doors that had been closed for some time.
The thought of this new adventure awaiting me on Santiago Island, the largest in the country, a former Portuguese colony since 1973, seems like a dream waiting to come true, ready to propel me towards distant places telling me stories of strong cultural contrasts.

Yesterday we traveled at night, reaching the small town of Assomada, about an hour from the capital. This morning, I was awakened by the whistle of the wind blowing against the windows, making me believe it was part of my morning dream. Behind the curtains awaited me a totally unexpected sight. Lush vegetation, where mangoes and bananas color the landscape, framing the windows of our house. An enchanted scene outlined by the sharp peaks of the Serra Malagueta, which, with their majesty, create a striking panorama.
On the road adjacent to our home, a coming and going of people walking to the market of Assomada. Women who, with extraordinary ease, carry the shopping basket on their heads for kilometers, dressed in typical African brightly colored patterns. Carefree children running here and there, simply happy to be. Life flows slowly here through the streets of this village lost among the mountains.

What I had forgotten about Africa was the smiles of the people. Simple and genuine smiles of those who love life despite its difficulties. Those that fill your soul and spirit and should be guarded with wisdom when we forget how much we have and fail to appreciate it. Joy in small things and that sense of community, being together without doing anything, except listening to music in the street and smiling at every passerby. Kindness in helping others because ultimately we are all human beings, equal and destined for the same end.