We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
We were hanging on to the same post on the #15 trolley which runs through Lisbon from the Comercio Plaza out along the river to the Jerónimos Monastery in Belem. Petite gal, Chilean as it turned out because we got chatting about the Lisbon trolley system and then about her.
She wore her yellow backpack backwards on her chest for safety on public transport, she explained. During the ride, she gave me her story. She graduated from college in Santiago a year ago, went to work for the family construction business. Decided she wanted to see the world before becoming too invested in work. I asked her where she had been thus far on her solitary travels. She told me, in perfect English: Australia, New Zealand, Philippines, Indonesia, India, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Texas, New York, Virginia, Miami, Dublin, London, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, Madrid. "Maybe I forgot some places."
"Do you take pictures?"
"No pictures. I carry no camera. I just try to be where I am at the moment, to absorb it on my travel. I write notes at night to remember."
"Wow," I said. "I am impressed with your story. Where next after Portugal?"
"Barcelona, Rome, Venice, Greece, then Istanbul if I have time, then I must fly home to Santiago. I've been away for over six months already, and it's time I got back to work. My Dad needs me in the business.
"How do you like the Fado?"
"I love the Fado. The good Fado. The bad Fado is not so good. I would stay here in Lisbon, but I can not."
"How has it been?"
"Great fun. Everything is interesting to me, all you have to do is talk to people and study the travel books. I love Lisbon, so manageable and friendly."
She was right. It is. And she is one adventurous little sweetie.