campervan road trip

The Summer we found ourselves: our campervan road trip from Lisbon to Porto.

People often think they can travel to escape reality, but this is not quite right: you travel to live reality. Travelling allows you to put the past and the future away and make you focus on the present moment. Suddenly you feel that everything is here, now, where it needs to be.

This year, I went from feeling always tired to going on a week-long campervan road trip adventure along the coast of Portugal.

It’s only in moments like this that you can remember how life can be beautiful. Everything around you stops, and you can take a moment for yourself to let go of the limitations and insecurities of your past and your future.

Everything Happens for a Reason

At the beginning of 2022, my best friend, Bella, and I decided to go to a bonfire with a group of strangers we met on the Internet. It was at this bonfire that Bella and I met Sophie and Mateo.

Flash forward a couple of months, Bella and Mateo started dating, and out of nowhere, we all decided to move to Lisbon for the summer. 

On our second night in Lisbon, we saw an advertisement banner for the music band, Tame Impala. They will be playing at NOS Primavera Sound, a famous music festival in Porto, 5 hours away from us. 

Just for you to understand, “Eventually”, a song by Tame Impala, is what brought us together that first night we met at the bonfire. We had coincidentally all added the same song to the music cue. When we saw the banner, it was a sign for us, we had to go and experience it live!  

We then got the ticket and remembered that we had heard about Indie Campers from a friend that had recently traveled with one of their campervans down the Californian coast. After hearing about his great adventure with them, we knew that that would be the perfect solution for our own adventure. 

We decided to book a campervan for a week and started counting down the days to our pick-up date. Everything was aligned, and our unforgettable summer plan was shaping up fantastically.

Let the Adventure Begin

On June 7th, 2022, we embarked on our campervan road trip. We picked up the van at the Lisbon Indie Campers pick-up center, and I was shocked at how spacious and comfortable we all were. 

We immediately made a pit stop at our favorite grocery store, Lidl, to get some snacks for the trip. The van came with a refrigerator, so our most prized possessions (spicy hummus and Polaroid film) were safe from the Portuguese heat. 

Don’t Look Back, We Are Not Going That Way

Along the way up to Porto, we would look to find a skate park anywhere and come up with ratings for them. Our favorite one was HollySkate in Ericeira. We hung out there for a few hours, and then we headed back to the van to find the perfect sunset parking. We slept hearing the ocean and woke up to the gentle warmth of the sun grasping our faces.

The next day, we checked out another skate park in Aveiro before heading to our destination that day, Dreamsea Surf Camp in Praia Da Tocha. Mateo, Bella, and I had planned to be volunteer workers at the surf camp later in the summer. 

For this reason, we decided to sleep there for a night to introduce ourselves in person. We arrived on the day of karaoke night! After embarrassing ourselves for two hours, we called it a night since we needed rest for the next day. The day we’d finally be able to see Tame Impala live.

Dreams Eventually Come True

Porto is about a two-hour trip from Tocha. Sophie and I used this time to clean our cameras since they had been sandy from the past couple of days spent at the beach. We then arrived, got ready, and headed to the festival. 

We waited for 3 hours in front of the stage to get a good view. Tame Impala has the craziest light show ever. “Eventually”, our song, came on. We all stared at each other in awe. We couldn’t believe we made it. 

I couldn’t believe I was listening to my favorite song live in Portugal with two strangers I had met two months ago at a bonfire. Life is simply crazy. 

When we went back to the van, we couldn’t stop talking about the feelings we felt. It was an adrenaline rush that made us feel so much alive. We had no way of describing what this emotion was, so we created a word for it: “Amprate.” 

It is the overwhelming emotion you can’t describe for your love for the earth and the world around you when living in the moment and experiencing it fully. A moment when everything feels right, a moment that wouldn’t be possible without the Indie Campers. 

Remember to Always Leave Space for Coincidences

The next two days were spent exploring Porto, Nazaré, and, accidentally, Peniche. We had plans to stop in Ericeira again and sleep there. This was until Bella put on the song “wasted” by Tiesto. Mateo wasn’t the biggest fan of that song and pulled over on the side of the road, refusing to drive until we stopped singing at the top of our lungs. 

What we didn’t realize is that Mateo had pulled over into a sand dune, where we got stuck on. This moment is when I realized that everything does happen for a reason and that there is no such thing as chance. To our luck, a beat-up BMW carrying six local Peniche boys drove past us, saw our struggle, and helped us get unstuck from the dune. 

We showed our gratitude to them by getting beers at a beach bar nearby later that same day. We stopped for the day, took thousands of Polaroids, had dance battles, and watched the most beautiful sunset. 

An Ending or a New Beginning? 

At the beach bar is when we decided to name our campervan Tiesto. Tiesto taught us a lot of lessons, not only about campervans but about life. It taught us to truly surrender to the present and not to attach ourselves to expectation. Sometimes a bump in the road, or in our case, getting stuck on the side of the road, always leads to a great story.

About the Autor

Nicole Werneck

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