Cycles of life we lose ourselves in without taking a minute to question where we stand. Work, sleep, eat repeat is one of the most dreadful cycles that I’ve often been caught up in. Destructive to the mind and body, no time to have a moment with my own thoughts for weeks. I’m in love with cooking and passionate about creating, so when offered a position to change a menu with full creative control I was head over heels. Thus the cycle began, working 6 days a week, sometimes 16 hour days followed by laying in bed not able to turn off that side of my mind, then the dreams. Waking up with brilliant ideas or screaming that the humus tasted like shit, not much rest to say the least. You don’t realize what you’re doing to yourself when your head is down, working yourself crazy. Stress crawls up your spine leaving you with sore muscles and headaches, takes your appetite, your sleep, and your patience. Yet its all worth it… right? At 23 years old living in Southern Portugal with my best friend with plans to return home in December, id have to say no. Money, is it the soul driving force for these cycles? Personally sometimes that has been the main focus but for once I felt so invested and passionate about something that it made it very hard to walk away from. I’ve never worked so hard in my life for such a low-income, for those of you who don’t know, minimum wage in Portugal is 2.80€/hour. I’m not a share holder, I’m not an investor, this is not my baby so its time to be selfish and question the amount of effort put in and what I’m getting out of it, and I’m not talking about money. It comes down to happiness and well-being, which looking back at the last month I’ve completely ignored. My camera hadn’t been used, I hadn’t been reading, meditating, eating well. Naida, my surfboard was dying to get back in the water, and my partner was being dragged into the stress of it all too. So I did a little back-pedalling and took some time to look at the situation and start the hunt for an escape plan. Doris came chugging our way at the perfect time and with all the right answers, a mean looking 1990 ford transit that was easily converted into a cozy little house on wheels. The balance was quickly restored after I woke up at sunrise climbed out of the van and went for a morning surf followed by a nap and making it back in town for work, realizing that I once again was free from the cycle which held me back. My day off is now a miniature vacation, disconnected from work and the social scene around it, which makes work a little bit harder to look forward to. The microclimates here in the Algarve are incredible, 20 minute drive and you’ve gone from a tropical beach front to rolling hills and valleys and another 10 minutes cold windy cliff sides that resemble Ireland. Im extremely lucky to have found my house here in Lagos, my job, and now my beloved Doris. Im thankful to be sharing this experience with my best friend, yet still wishing I could have a night with the boys or hug some people like my mom. Life’s grand, it’s a give and take, it’s always learning, its steady growing, and most importantly its something to forever appreciate.