The Road Forward – Week 2 Working in Portugal
By Vela Wood
On Saturday, I wandered to Cascais, a tranquil beach-laden suburb. The city had a glacial pace compared to Lisbon, even on a Saturday. While in Cascais, in between touring a lighthouse museum and a beautiful mosaic-tiled home, I was able to answer client emails similar to any other Saturday. Working while exploring has never been simpler than it is today.
After a fifteen-minute stroll down the coast outside of Cascais, there lied Boca Do Inferno. Or, Hell’s Mouth. Under the near perfect sunset, I watched the Atlantic Ocean waves careen into the mouth of the cave below. Sitting there on the edge of the Eastern Hemisphere with my phone in Airplane Mode, I allowed myself to unwind. And it dawned on me. For every beautiful part of Lisbon, there is a destination of equal beauty awaiting exploration elsewhere.
Vela Wood has bestowed a great opportunity upon me. One that I do not take lightly. Similar to the 15th century Portuguese explorers, I understand that I am on the maiden voyage for Vela Wood employees. As with the majority of great opportunities, this one comes with great responsibility. Because my trip sets the tone for every Vela Wood employee who works remotely after me, I desire to prove Kevin and Rad’s vision of Desk Independence™ to be true. I have tried to respect and work with the time difference and remain in constant contact. But, I have tried to fully leverage the opportunity as well.
My great opportunity was not to just remotely work in Lisbon; the importance of Desk Independence is growth through travel, not travel to one city. Thus, I decided I needed to be more intentional about my trip. Exploring. Experiencing culture. Expanding and adventuring in every direction. I need to move beyond the Lisbon metropolitan area.
As a part of the trip, I will trek through the beautiful countryside of Sintra, and I have already experienced Cascais. As such, I decided that Porto, Portugal; Lagos, Portugal; and Madrid, Spain deserve exploration as well. While in each city, I am confident I can work efficiently and uphold Vela Wood’s standard of excellent work.
Porto is the second largest city in Portugal and one of the oldest in Europe. Named The Best European Destination in 2017 by the Best European Destinations Agency, I would be remiss if I failed to explore its offerings. It is also a major urban area, which will make the implementation of my mobile office similar to Lisbon.
Madrid is larger than Lisbon and Porto and should offer endless remote working opportunities. Emboldened by its conflict ridden past, the city’s culture and architecture are rooted in tradition (It is home to the oldest restaurant in the world!).
Lagos, on the other hand, is a smaller town on the coast of Lisbon with a relaxed vibe. Yet, draped in historical importance, Lagos was the center of the Portuguese age of discovery. Lagos completes an exquisite trio of cities deserving a visit in their own right.
My move to Europe has been easier than I ever imagined. Listening to incredibly talented entrepreneurs’ stories and engaging in discussions about America’s corporate culture with successful people in their industry has enhanced my perspective, and I know more fruitful conversations are on the horizon. Traveling alone, however, will intensify the experience. Memories will be created as I help create entities, and I will draft equity compensation plans and perform diligence while I diligently attempt to discover the unique aspects of these three cities.