Notes from Timor Leste: part II

I had a blissful time on Atauro island.

I couldn't have done something better to say goodbye to my 20's.

Far from superficialities and close to Nature, I felt at peace. I felt happy.

I slept in a tent right on the beach, I witnessed amazing sunrises and sunsets, I saw some wonderful coral reef while snorkeling, I stared at starry skies. And I was there, fully and completely, present in all of those moments.

But I also thought about the past, about the mistakes I've done, about all the unforgettable moments I've already had in my life. I though about the life I have now, and I dreamed about the future.

Not "big dreams", though. All I want is to be able to keep having the very same life I am having now. That's it. 

When I was ten years younger, I thought that being 30 years old meant: a stable career, a house and a family. 

And here I am, now a 30 years old man, just starting to make my life in Cambodia, a country I knew next to nothing before moving there. And I could never imagine that one day I would call Phnom Penh my home. 

Life and its surprises. I love that. 

Of course I miss my family and friend back in Brazil but I am happy here. I'm being able to call my passion also my profession, I'm meeting inspiring people along the way, I'm discovering beautiful places. And I am learning a lot about myself. I'm growing as a person.

I am enjoying life. Not the one that someone else is telling me to live, but the very one I want to be living.

I have to say thank you here to everyone I've met in my life so far. All of you have helped to shape the person I am today. Naturally, some more than others, but all of you are somehow part of me.

I feel extremely fortunate and grateful for all the very special experiences I've been having here in Asia since I arrived here, a year ago. Sometimes I am actually afraid of waking up and realizing it was all just a dream, and a super incredible one.

But I gotta tell you: I am not the "chosen one" by superior forces and the life I am having now has not been given to me by God. 

("There are those who believe that destiny rests on the knees of the gods; but the truth is that it confronts the conscience of Man with a burning challenge", wrote Eduardo Galeano to finish his admirable The Open Veins of Latin America.)

Never stop dreaming, but work hard to make those dreams come true. Don't give up, trust yourself, don't listen to the pessimist, persevere. It won't be easy, (and it wouldn't be so rewarding if it was), but it's possible. If you do fail, at least you won't regret not having tried.   

And remember: happiness is not something in the future waiting to be conquered. Happiness is Now. Don't put your happiness on expectations, enjoy every moment and see them as important parts of the life you are building and the person you want to become. 

When I was looking for my first job as a photographer, I still had my bills to pay so I worked selling clothes in a shopping center, I worked as a waiter in a cafe, I worked in a Law office. I actually saw that as a test: do I really want to be a photographer? And how much do I want that?

(Here I have to show my gratitude to the girlfriend I had at that time, who was always by my side and who always supported me. Fernanda, thank you!!

Deep inside I knew that sooner or later I would have an opportunity, and after one year, I finally had it. So I joined Agencia i7 (thanks a lot Pedro Vilela for giving me that chance), worked there for one year, learned a lot, and April last year I was a flying to Asia to start my photography adventure here.

And the last year of my life was beyond extraordinary!

I could write much more here about how I am feeling and also about how I see life today, but I am pretty sure I wouldn't find words for that. Perhaps if I was writing in Portuguese. Not even, actually. 

So I will call Gabriel García Marquez to help me here:

“It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams.”

Life is a beautiful adventure...

Bernardo Salce