The Reason

There is a certain amount of anxiety that goes along with traveling.  Where to go, what to see, when to eat, the exhaustion of time change, odd sleeping arrangements.  But, always, there comes a moment when, without realizing it, you feel better.  Maybe better than you do in your normal life on a normal day.  Maybe better than you’ve ever felt. Maybe so good that you are once again sure that the people and places in this world will be your salvation.

None of us had ever rented a car in a foreign country.  It had been a decade since any one of us had driven a manual transmission.  Yet there we were leaving Porto and heading 4 hours into the mountains.  The freeways were clean and empty, a direct consequence of $100 tanks of gas. A few hours and rest stops later, the mountain roads were properly winding, the trees arcing over head, the locals passing us as we creeped around mirrored corners and struggled through the gears.  All along, we didn’t really know what lay ahead for us.  Marvao was little more than a name picked out of a book.  A favorable Google Image search and a hotel reservation.

Now, though, it is so much more.  More than the way the light played across the crumbling mountaintop castle, more than the smell of paint in the white washed village, more than hot bowls of bread soup, more than wine and ice cream bars by the fireplace, more than the sunset, more than the dead still quiet of night, more than any one or the sum of its parts.  It is the reason we do this.  Plain and simple, a fine reason to be alive.


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