The Work Different, Live Different Podcast by The Maker’s Collective - Episode 3
Laura: Okay, well welcome everyone.
Jeff: Back again. Episode three.
Laura: Episode three of this. Season, uh, which is exciting. Um, yeah. So this one is just a, it's just a Laura Jeff episode.
Jeff: A buddy episode.
Jeff: On our final day in Portugal. We have just packed up. We are leaving our Airbnb in about an hour. Thought this was a good time, well, the reality is we've been talking about doing this episode for like two weeks, so it's our last chance to do it. So let's, let's make it happen. We're gonna get kicked outta here in like, 68 minutes.
Laura: Yes. Uh, yeah, so I mean, we're done. Trip is over.
Jeff: 34 days flew by.
Laura: Crazy wild. Um, yeah, so we are leaving, as Jeff said, Porto, today we fly back to London. Uh, we spend a night there and then we make the trip home tomorrow. Just in time for a fresh snowstorm. We were saying yesterday like how amazing that February just didn't exist as we normally would experience it when all of it's snowy winter.
Jeff: Yeah, missing a good chunk of winter has been a highlight for sure. It's rained like twice since we've been here, but most days it's 15 to 20 degrees and like not a cloud in the sky.
Laura: Yeah, so many perfect days. Um, it was a pretty perfect way to spend February.
Jeff: Totally. I mean, definitely some ups and downs and maybe we get into that in a little bit, you know. But, uh, on the whole, I mean, we are already planning for next year.
Jeff: And hopefully every winter to come will involve four to six weeks of.
Jeff: Going somewhere warm and doing the work and live abroad thing.
Laura: Totally. Well, maybe that's a good place to start. Maybe we talk about, cause we've kind of already shared about, you know, the trip itself and like kind of what we did and, and where we went. But, uh, if you haven't listened to other episodes, you haven't heard about that, so Jeff and I decided to do a five week trip to Europe to kind of escape winter as we typically know it in Canada. And so we left January 27th and we flew to London. We were there for like four days, five days. Um, and then on February 1st we flew here to Porto in Portugal. Um, and we've been here ever since.
Jeff: Yeah. Doing the digital nomad thing. Still working, just working somewhere else.
Laura: Yep. We had our pals, uh, Lacey and her partner Kris join us for the first 12 days of being in Porto, uh, as we talked about on the last episode. And that was so fun. Um, and such a great way to kind of like softly land somewhere new and, and then after they left, then it was just us. Just buddying around figuring it out.
Jeff: Yeah. So good.
Laura: Yeah. Um, so yeah, one of the things that's came out of this trip, uh, cuz I've never been, so you've been away before. You've gone away and like lived somewhere else for a long period of time. I have never, I've never done that. I've never been outside of Ontario for like, longer than a couple of weeks. Um, So this was a totally new experience for me, and I wasn't sure, I wasn't sure how it was gonna feel, honestly, before we left. I wasn't sure, like, yeah, was it gonna feel too long? Was it gonna feel too short? How was I gonna feel at the, like, end of it? Um, I really didn't know. Um, and so this was just a really great experiment for us to see like, you know, how long is long enough? How long is too long? How totally short do we, how, how much time do we wanna be spending away if we're gonna be doing this as something, you know, on the regular, um, every year. And I feel like we, we figured that out.
Totally. Yeah. And I mean, for me, even though I've done this, Three times now. So I did a term abroad, I lived in Berlin when I was like 20 in my last year of, or maybe 21 my last year of undergrad. And then I went to teachers college and my first teaching gig was actually in London, in the uk and I lived there for like nine months. So I'd spent like over a year living abroad, living in Europe, specifically prior to this trip. Um, but I think a big point of like awareness for me is like, that was in my early twenties when I was just like the most selfish version of myself and like it was so easy to be away because there wasn't much that I really cared about or felt like I was missing at home. And so this time it was very different being away, like still loved it and am excited to do this over and over again. Um, but definitely felt like some of that longing for, you know, friendships and family and our fucking cats. You know, like I definitely had a day or two where I was like, I just want to hang out with Earl Florence so badly right now. So it's interesting just being at like, such a different point in my life. Like, you know, undergrad and first year teaching was like a lifetime ago. Like that's like 15, 16. Oh my God, we're so old. 16 years ago I think we did that. Yeah, I've never said that out loud. That's insane. Um, so yeah, even though I'd had that experience, it was kind of like the first time doing that and so grateful that we got to do it together. I think that's a big learning that we've had is like obviously, you know, as a couple, teamwork is always very important, but even more so when it's like, I mean, it's just me and you in like two suitcases over here right now. There's no one else who knows us. There's no one else who we can really you know, turn to for support and it's been cool to see, it's something I'm really grateful for. Like the moments where like one of us has been down and you kind of pick each other up. Like at the train station on the weekend, we were doing like a little day trip to this beautiful little mountain town called Braga. And I could not decipher our train tickets for the life of me. We had to get from like the downtown Porto train station out to this other train station and then transfer. And we went and asked this like lovely customer service person for help. And he was like, yeah, you just need to get to Campania and then you can get the train to Bragga. And then we're looking at the wall and like, none of these fucking trains say they're going to Campania. And I looked at Laura and I was like, well, I guess we're not going. Like, I was like, this isn't happening. I was like kind of melting down a little bit.
Jeff: And you really stepped up and were like, let's just go ask that lovely man which train we should take. And then the ironic thing was like every train out of that station, their first stop is Campania. And he's like, you can literally get on any train and it's gonna take you to that stop and you'll be fine. But I was just having a moment where like, overwhelmed, the train station's so busy, we gotta get to this other train and make our transfer on time. And had I been on my own, I just would've thrown in the towel at that point. So, thank you. Cause Braga ended up being like a highlight of the trip. My God. It was so beautiful.
Laura: Yes, totally.
Jeff: But that doesn't happen without a bit of teamwork.
Laura: Well, and on the, yes. Absolutely. And I think something that I always kind of talk about and joke about when we're talking about traveling is how you and I actually kind of switch places when we're traveling. So I would say like at home, I'm kind of the leader. I'm like, you know, we, we, we are a team together. But I feel like I kind of like…
Jeff: Yeah, you manage our budget, you handle our, yeah, yeah. You are the CEO of our lives when we're at home.
Laura: Right. So I kind of take the lead at home. Um, but when we're traveling, like you really, you really are the leader. Like you did so much research for this trip.
Jeff: Did the budget, did the planning, totally did the research.
Laura: And I just am like, great. I'm like, I'm gonna be as hands off as possible. Which I don't know how that feels to you, but for me…
Jeff: I kind of love it. You just like showed up at the airport and were like, let's go.
Laura: Yeah. Yeah. Um, and even the trips, like the little day trips and stuff that we did like that was all you just late night on your phone. I mean, I go to bed before you do usually. Um, so I feel like you do a lot of this, like while I'm sleeping.
Jeff: I have three hours of solo internet time to like plan stuff cuz you are asleep and I'm jealous. We won't digress on that too much, but I feel like every couple is like this. Like one of you is like, for Laura, sleeping is a choice. Right. It's like we're lying in bed and she's like, okay, it's bedtime now. And she just like makes the choice to like go to sleep and then she goes to sleep. And me, I've been like feeling tired all day. I'm sure this resonates with many of you. Choosing to go to sleep is not a thing. Like I know I should be going to sleep, but that's when like my bad brain kicks in and I struggle for a couple of hours and I'm sitting there like kind of resentful at how peacefully you're sleeping. I know we're gonna take a long ass flight tomorrow, and you're talking about, ‘well, I'm not gonna sleep on this flight’, you're gonna fall asleep for four or five hours, and I'm going to just be sitting there alone without a trip to plan now, I don't even know what I'm gonna do.
Laura: Well, we'll see. I don't know. Flights are pretty tough. Uh, but yes, so I just, I feel like, uh, you did a lot of work for this trip and a lot of like labour and maybe it didn't feel like labour, but you know, it is. And so thank you. I think we like really were able to like, step in for each other, as you were saying, um, when we need the other person too, which is so nice. Yeah. Um, so thank you.
Jeff: Oh my gosh. Thank you. Stop it.
Laura: Um, but one of the, so one of the big things that we learned on this trip was, again, back to the timing issue or timing kind of question. Uh, we had originally been thinking, okay, cool, so we'll do five weeks this year and then, I don't know, maybe next year we do like two or three months, thinking that we would wanna be away from like January until the end of March. And we really learned that that is not true for us.
Jeff: Totally. Yeah. Home sickness was kind of a real thing at some points.
Laura: I think it was like week four. Week four was when sort of like start, end of week three, beginning of week four for you was kind of like low time. And then mine kind of hit midweek four and I was like, oh, I just need to go home now. Like, I am ready. I don't know how I'm gonna make it another week. Um, so that was just a really interesting moment of awareness for both of us of like, okay, like we're, we're gonna rethink that. Maybe, you know, five weeks is that sweet spot. Um, like four to six weeks is kind of where we wanna end up.
Jeff: Totally. And I mean, how lucky are we? Or how lucky do I feel anyways that we have people at home and a life at home that we miss?
Jeff: Um, I think that's always something that going away does, is it gives you really good perspective on the things at home that, that matter most. And also the things that don't matter as much as you maybe thought they did. Um, but yeah, to your point, like five or six weeks I think is the sweet spot and we've talked about for next year is, you know, kind of getting through January and maybe half of February and then doing a five or six week trip like this again, so that we're coming home a little later in March. I just want to come home with as little winter left as possible. And I'm just a little worried that, like, don't get me wrong, I'm grateful that we've skipped out on a bunch of awful cold, dark days, but it's looking like March is still gonna be quite cold and kind of shitty. So I think maybe that's the only change we make next year is we leave a little later, but yeah I don't feel the need to be away for eight to 12 weeks that, that feels like, it's like it's too much. I think, you know, this is kind of the sweet spot. Yeah.
Laura: Agree. Agree. Um, okay, so maybe we talk about like, just highlights of the trip.
Jeff: Love that. Okay. Would you like me to go first?
Jeff: So, I mean, we did talk about a couple of these things in the last episode we did with Lacey, but maybe I'll talk about some highlights since then. Like stuff that Lace and Kris weren't around for, you know, I mentioned that trip to Braga already. That was definitely a highlight. We're in Porto, which is right on the ocean, right on the Douro River, and Braga is like an old mountain town. Um, and when I say old, I mean like our perspective on that as Canadians is so different, right? Like this is like a 2000 year old city. Um, and it's got a lot of like religious importance there, uh, in, in Portugal. Um, so there's like lots of, uh, just interesting sites. Like, the highlight of that trip was going up the mountain to this old sanctuary that had like a lookout over the city, and you just again, see things that we don't get in Canada where it's just like these little mountain towns in valleys between mountains, like as far as you can see. So it's just like mountain range after mountain range, and then like little valleys with like a thousand year old towns in them. Yeah. It was pretty stunning being up there. I think that's one of the most like, spectacular views and just overall experiences, not just on this trip, that like we have ever had. And the funny thing is we almost didn't go. We were originally planning to go to Guimaraes and then the night before I had just not booked our train in time and I looked and was like, oh, there are no trains left to go there, so I guess we're going to Braga. Um, and in hindsight like what a blessing that was because that was so special.
Jeff: And then I think the other thing that I really loved is, you know, we chose to stay in a very central spot this time with like a view of the river and the old town. And I'm so glad that we stayed here. But over the last couple of weeks we've really started to like explore the other neighbourhoods in Porto and going out to, uh, it's called Foz de Douro, which is where the river meets the ocean. It's like the little beach town in Porto. It's one of those places where like we got there, it was just like, oh, this is like our atmosphere and like the kind of vibe that we're looking for. Um, you know, having like a drink on the beach yesterday, like for our last day was so wonderful. But generally going out to Foz was super cool because I think what we're planning now is if we do end up coming back to Porto next year specifically, which is something that we're talking about, I think we've identified like a next home base potentially for us, which is super cool. I think those are probably my, like, other than stuff we've mentioned previously, like the trip to Braga, and then just getting a better sense of this city and like the parts of it that, you know, we maybe feel most at home in are, are very cool because. You know, I love going back to places and like having a sense of familiarity while you're away.
Jeff: Um, and so that's something I think for next year that I'd really, you know, look forwards to. Yeah. What about you? What are some of the highlights?
Laura: Yeah. Um, so. I think actually, so there's a little spot that is just like up, just up the street from where our Airbnb is, and it is like the definition of a mom and pop shop. And like all they do are these like little, they're called bifanas, um, they're like little Portuguese sandwiches that are like a really delicious bun and then, um, just like shaved pieces of pork in like a yummy. I don't even know what the sauce is. It's like a…
Jeff: It's like a sweet and spicy barbecue sauce.
Laura: Yeah. Um, and so they're pretty like popular here. Um, but like, just going to that little, like, they don't speak English. We're like communicating with like hand signals.
Jeff: They're not on Google Maps. There's no website. It's like a couple that's been running it for, I imagine like their whole lives.
Laura: Yeah. And you, you know, we would go there every once in a while, like once a week at least, and get two bifanas and two beers and it was like six euros. Um, so just like a very cool experience. Um, so I loved, I love things like that when you go to new places, finding those like interesting little, um, like very, like not big chains and like not big expensive restaurants. It's like those little mom and pop shops, those like little holes in the wall are the places where you find like some of the best experiences and like best foods.
Laura: So love that. Um, and then yesterday you planned just like a really beautiful last day for us. We went back to Foz. Um, and we kind of just like bounced around to a few different places that you had, uh, researched and we just happened, you mentioned having a drink on the beach, so we, this wasn't a part of the plan originally. Uh, we were just like walking along the water and you just happened to spot, like through the trees, some chairs. And so we like followed the little path down and came up upon this like beautiful beachside restaurant that like was humongous and all outdoor seating and, um, we just like went and pulled up a, a seat and like every, the staff was incredible. The view was incredible. Um, it was just like a perfect way to spend, you know, an hour on our last day. Um, yeah. And then we just went to a couple other spots, had some like delicious drinks. And just tried to soak in as much of this experience on our final day as we could and as much sun as possible. Um, and just like tried to remind ourselves that it's gonna be a little while before it feels like that outside when we get homes. So, yeah, just like really, we really took it in on the last day.
Jeff: I mean, there's nothing like day drinking on a Wednesday. Yeah. In the sun, you said bouncing around. I think yesterday we were more floating, you know, it was like a very floaty walk. It's the other nice thing about going out to that part of the city was like, there's just a boardwalk all along the river that's like five or six kilometers, and we ended up just walking all the way back to our apartment kind of stopping every once in a while on the way. Which again, another thing we've been talking about on this trip is like, What are the things that we love about our life here and how can we bring them back home with us?
Jeff: And like we've been walking so much, obviously in a new place, there's like lots to explore. Um, you know, places like this in Europe, there's just more like beautiful things to see and exciting things to go venture to. But I've loved, like every day, you know, middle of the day, at least in, once in the middle of the day, we've gone for like a really nice walk together. Um, yesterday was like a heightened example of that where we just walked for the whole day basically. Um, but that's something I'm excited to get into once we get home is, you know, trying to figure out, you know, specifically like what was it about our lives here that have us feeling you know, re-energized and excited and how can we, you know, kind of adapt that to our day-to-day back home. So, yeah. I'd love to find ways for us to do more like walking and just getting outta the house like that.
Laura: Totally. I think like when you are in, uh, when you're living in a town or a place for long enough, you kind of just lose the wonder and like, and so, you know, a place like Kitchener, I mean, you can walk places, there are places that you, that we could do more walking to, but like generally speaking, when we're at home, it's like, oh, we've got a car and like it just it's faster, it's easier to just drive places, but, you know, and so then when you're in a, when you're traveling somewhere and you don't have that ease of access, um, than you do, you have to walk. It's just like when I lived in Toronto, like I walked everywhere. For 10 years. I walked everywhere. It was like nothing to walk for 40 minutes. Um, and now I'm like, I can't imagine walking for 40 minutes in Kitchener. But like, it just makes us feel so good. And it's such a like, It's, it's, we've, we just get into these habits, um, that we, we just need a little more thought around to break and I think that is definitely one of the things that I would love to bring back as well is just like, yeah, yeah, we have a car, but do we need to use it?
Jeff: Mm-hmm. Totally. And we don't. I'm so fucking lazy. You can never let me walk, drive to the bakery that's three blocks from our house ever again. Yeah. I shouldn't need you to not let me do that, but it's like, sad in hindsight, how fucking lazy I am sometimes, you know? It's crazy. It's crazy. Yeah. It's wild that we've done this, you know, like I think we've been talking about doing something like this and I know I've been thinking about doing something like this for like a decade.
Jeff: Um, I don't know. It's feeling pretty empowering to like be living some of the stuff that we talk about all the time. You know, like we both really value freedom and autonomy. And we've actually designed a life where we have, you know, not only control over what we're doing, but now where we're doing it.
Jeff: Um, and I think that's really exciting and has also just validated and kind of emphasized for me like, that those are non-negotiable things for us that like I don't want to have to compromise to give up the freedom to choose what we're doing, who we're working with, or like where we choose to go and to work. And yeah, just as we're like getting ready to leave, it's you know, it's just wild that we've kind of made this happen. Like, I'm so grateful for like the teamwork that's gone into this and just the experience. I think we said this on the last episode, but also just getting a taste of something like this really is motivating to like, go out and make sure that it's not a one time thing. That it's something that just becomes like part of this, this awesome life that we're, we're starting to build.
Laura: Yeah. Yeah, I completely agree.
Jeff: I can't believe we're leaving.
Laura: I know. It's wild. Um, okay. Well, I mean, as we're kind of wrapping up here, is there anything else that you wanna share?
Jeff: If you had to sum up this trip in like one or two words, what would you say?
Jeff: Oh, that's good.
Laura: Yeah, it was really magical.
Jeff: Yeah. Love that.
Laura: And, and like, I think that, that it's magic where we've been, um, it's like magic to look out the window and see the view that we've had every day. But also like it's a little bit of magic that we were able to get here. And, and make this happen and make it work. And, you know, it wasn't all highs every day, but we are sitting here on the final day and like, you know, I feel happy, I feel fulfilled, I feel excited to go home. I'm like, ready for that. I will miss a lot about this. Um, but like I'm excited for next year to do it again and I love you.
Jeff: Oh, I love you. That's so nice. Well, there's more episodes coming. I think we're gonna end up doing probably eight in this season. Um, and the next one will be a Lacey and Laura buddy episode. So back to the roots, back to the original podcasting team. Then there's gonna be a Jeff and Lacey episode where we get up to some shenanigans. And then probably a couple team episodes.
Jeff: Thanks for listening.
Laura: Yeah, thanks gang, and we'll talk to you soon.