All roads lead somewhere.

This time, the road took us to Portugal, where we stopped at Quinta da Comporta and then Casa Modesta in the Algarve region.

I was stricken by the warmth of the country – both of the weather and the people whom I met during our short stay. There is a certain sense of slowness here and an orange lightness of being, only interrupted by the blue sky hues. I am fascinated with the texture of the sand that I step with my bare feet onto, for the first time during winter.

Straw decorations adorn the rooms at Quinta da Comporta and build the geometry of walls that I rest myself upon, almost like a gesture of laying back in wonder with where I have arrived at. Within my photographic journey, I look for lines and structures and organic compositions. I take self-portraits in front of murals and, like a lost (or un-lost) passenger, I walk and stand before them and I feel empowered. I am wearing a traditional Romanian dress and I feel like leaving an homage to all the women in my life. I am stronger now, I tell myself, whilst looking, assumed and reassured, at the horizon.

Before heading to our next destination, we stop at Praia da Galé-Fontainhas, where I am transported to another earth. I feel alienated, yet grounded. Standing before the ocean, with a rocky, canyon-like landscape beside me, I look within once more, only to find how much I love freedom; the freedom to explore, the freedom to choose, the freedom to stay and the freedom to go.

At Casa Modesta, I turn myself into various shapes, like a fleeting presence inside a steady universe. Every detail here counts – lemons in the sunset light, old postcards, dishes on the wall – and I immerse myself inside them, wondering if modesty is, actually, a luxury. I watch the house transform from sunrise to sunset and I decide to take the self-portraits at midday, when the light strikes the most, casting shadows on the white walls and in between the architecture of the building.

I leave the countryside and return to a city which reminds me of home. I find myself now looking for familiarity – the specialty coffee shops, the brunch restaurants, the look-a-like hotel rooms. I feel home, without even being home. I love novelty, but I realize how much I miss routine, as hectic as it is, back in Bucharest. Until the next Departure, I leave a door open; for opportunity lies ahead, and all roads lead, indeed, somewhere.

Quinta Da Comporta

Praia da Galé-Fontaínhas 

Casa Modesta