Portraits on the road

How calling for help can give you a friend for the rest of your life

posted by Kate July 7, 2017 4 Comments

It’s no secret that Tim and I love travelling, and discovering new places has always been one of our passions. More than that: there is nothing better than planning a trip to a place we have never been before! It brings back the childhood feeling of everyday excitement, surprises, the opportunity to test your limits and stepping out of your comfort zone. Every day is full of new sights, new things and experiences. What is even greater than this, you wonder? It is planning a trip to a place you have never been to and visiting an extraordinary friend. This time we are heading to almost always rainy Scotland to visit our awesome friend Miguel who is from always sunny Portugal. The story of our friendships is worth sharing and the begin of it heads almost a decade back.

My Eurotrip back in 2008

Back in 2008 I had this crazy plan to hitchhike around Europe. Luckily my best friend Reinis and my ex-boyfriend also thought it was a brilliant plan and they did not back out of it. Our parents were absolutely not excited about our idea. They were also quite sure that once we would be back from this trip we wouldn’t talk with each other anymore. Because who would be able to spend 1 month, 24/7 together in a two persons tent, with a low travel budget and stay sane. Well we did it and even better, we made a good friend on the way.  I am not saying that it was always easy and that we did not have any hard time, because we had. Exactly at the hardest part of our trip we met Miguel.

Our cry for help

It was the middle of August 2008, we were on our Eurotrip for almost 3 weeks and already gathered a bunch of amazing stories, such as stopping a car within 5 minutes of lifting our thumbs up and getting a ride for 900 km, twice! At some point the incredible amount of luck was leaving us and hitchhiking was becoming impossible, the sun was hotter than ever and we had not had a shower for a few days. Once we reached Porto we were desperate to have a shower and some decent sleep. We spent quite some time in an internet café looking for all kinds of options: hotels, hostels and couch surfing. After spending a few helpless hours we decided to send one last message to a guy called Miguel and head down to the beach, because what else were we supposed to do in middle of the day in super-hot weather, right?

The feeling of emergency and our terrific meeting

It is almost impossible to describe the feeling of happiness when I dipped my feet in the Atlantic Ocean for the very first time and at the same time received a text message from Miguel. He asked where we were and whether we had found a place to stay for the night. I explained to him that we were in this place close to the ocean and we were planning to stay with our tent somewhere around there. We were surprised when I got a message back within no time saying that he was coming to pick us up! Oh wow! Luck didn’t leave us in the end! Less than 2 hours went by and Miguel picked us up. Once we finally met him, he looked slightly worried. Later, he explained that the area where we were chilling was considered a slightly bad part of the city.  And just before we got into his car Miguel briefly mentioned that before we head to his parents’ house we need to pick up some food.

Caught up in the middle of family reunion

A fact that Miguel did not tell us was that we were on the way to pick up this really special Portuguese dish called leitão (suckling piglet) which is one of the most praised gastronomical delicacies in Portugal. And little did we know that we were joining his big family reunion! Wow what a surprise and honor. When I realized were we welcome to join his generous family reunion, I felt a little bit uncomfortable and shy. Nevertheless Miguel and his amazing family did everything to make us feel welcome. Within no time I felt like I was a part of his extended family. The evening was packed with conversations and laughs. In addition, the table was generously clad with food and drinks. Almost a decade later I still keep on talking about this tasty piglet. I must say it is also the most expensive piglet I have ever tried. What an unforgettable experience.

And the friendship was born

Eventually the invite for a one night stay was extended to as long as we wanted. So we had a few memorable days together with even more food, drinks, talks, laughs and parties. As much as we loved spending time with Miguel, at a certain point we had to continue travelling, because our Eurotrip was near to its end. There was no bittersweet goodbye or so, because we clearly knew we would definitely see each other again. And we were right: in the following years we visited each other several times. No matter where we are in the world we still manage to keep in touch and meet each other. Along the years Tim and Miguel have met in many occasions and they have developed a true bromance. It is beautiful to see how a helpless cry for help has turned into this wonderful friendship.

My best tip for everyone is to be kind and open and good things will happen 🙂

Below you can see the Couchsurfing reference Miguel wrote for me back in 2008.

Side by side or miles apart, friends are for always close to your heart ♥

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Marijke July 9, 2017 at 07:50

What an amazing story. Tears in my eyes and feeling so happy when i read your experience.

Kate July 21, 2017 at 11:44

Thank you Marijke! I am happy that you find our stories touching.

Miguel July 13, 2017 at 13:47

That Miguel guy sounds pretty cool 😉

I’m with you, it’s so cool how random it was to meet you, and long lasting our story is. And cooler still are the ones ahead of us! See you soon for more!

Kate July 21, 2017 at 11:45

hahaha sure you are Miguel!And there is definitely much more to come 🙂


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