Way back in 2002 (back in the day) I hit the Algarve beaches for the very first time. Me, Alex Faggotpants Clifton and a young Ryan Morgan from the neighbours in Benn Street.
The following year, it happened again, this time with two more bell ends tagging along. It was late on a very sunny Sunday afternoon in September (2003) as I was contemplating the drive back to the airport from Praia da Cordoama that I decided to move permanently. By November the same year, my house was sold, along with all of its contents that I deemed I could live without. I was back, surf board under arm and ready to live a little.
Today, I signed over the house I bought here in Portugal to a young Portuguese couple. Like most locals, they are priced out of the market by foreigners with more money than them. It felt good to sell it to them, knowing they will build a home and grow a family there – rather than have Johnny Foreigner use it as a holiday home twice a year.
Sure, I got less money selling it to locals – but it felt a lot better in my heart.
In those 17 years away, many of you reading this will have paid a visit, some more than one, a few – paid far too many, just couldn’t keep you feckers away could I.
There were many good times had. Some monstrous bar bills accomplished, several questionable ladies kissed, ample scuba diving excursions and of course many many many waves caught and ridden, all with varying degrees of success and grace. Above all else, a myriad of memories have been created and a multitude of friends made from more cultures than you could shake a stick at.
I used to scoff at people who would brag about how travelling will broaden you mind. I have to hand it to them though – they are right.
There is always a lump in my throat when I get off the motorway and get closer to Sagres, a warm feeling, fondness, a longing. In Portugal, they have a word for it – Saudades. It seems quite apt that the language can accommodate all of those emotions in just one word.
Years ago on my weekend surf trips to Cornwall I used to get a similar feeling, close to Truro on the A30 when you plug up that last hill before sighting the wind farms for the first time.
Almost two decades of memories have been made. I owe that opportunity to two people and a very simple act of kindness.
A young Ryan Gurnsey who departed 20 years ago, and a not quite so young Indian lady called Sandhya Desai, who, seeing me struggle with the early departure of Ryan, simply took the time to ask me one morning if I was OK. The conversation that followed kept me from failing, kept me focused and ultimately gave me the hunger to chase something new.
I wondered what song might sum it all up as I drove back to Faro Airport this afternoon. I racked my brains for something suitable but drew a blank.
As if by magic, a Tuuuuuuune appeared in my head (it seems all those nights stella’d up with faggot pants in the clubs wasn’t a complete waste) I was home alone one saturday morning in Benn Street somewhere between 2000 and 2002 with no-one to play with. I decided ‘Fuck it – I am going Surfing’.
Typically, Cornwall was a 4 hour blast but on this day, it would take me 8 ½ hours. The track you are going to be treated to next was just cueing up as those wind farms came into sight with the sun sinking low behind them on a delicious Cornish Saturday evening. The surf was shit by the way………
Goodbye Sagres old friend – I don’t know if I shall see you again.
So that tune – I had to dig hard to find it. Put your headphones on and enjoy
Its time for a new door to open.