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Leo Ariel

Postcard 15: 3 Conversations + 2 Poems

publishedabout 2 months ago
1 min read

Hi friends,

Greetings from Porto!

Porto is a city in northern Portugal. I thought I’d stay in Lisbon, but I've decided to take a one-week trip to Porto (because Why Not), after learning the train ticket was only 30 euros.

The End of the World aka The Most Western Part of Europe

Here's what I wanted to share:

New Year, New Me ⚡️. I published my first assignment for Write of Passage. Out of 13,000 words of personal notes, I wrote a 450-word story, detailing my decision to quit my software engineering job to travel the world. Enjoy! Read the story here.

Multi-Day Fast. Every once in a while, I do a multi-day fast. When I do, my skin tightens, and my mind slows down as my body conserves energy. After gorging on Pastel de Natas, life calls for abstinence. Just so happens that eating fewer calories is the best way to be healthier.

3 Conversations

You figure out who you are by talking to others. Identity is simply a continuous dialogue you have with other people. As I start to tell my story, I begin to refine my perspective. Here are 3 recent conversations I had.

  1. Denise, my Portuguese tutor, told me that that the most popular response to “How are you?”, is "vou indo", which means "I'm going" or "so sooo", or "moving along..". Contrast this to the American style of "I'm doing GREAT." More casual, less bombastic. Traveling abroad remains one of the best ways to learn about your home country.
  2. Surbhit, a 41-year old Indian marathon runner at my hostel, has a very zen way of looking at life. He eats whatever he wants, yet he recently set a PR in the Lisbon Marathon. According to him, marathon runners peak in their 50s, which would make for a great hobby later-in-life.
  3. Had a brief chat with an older American couple. The idea of one life / one company + pension fund — though foreign to Gen Zers like me, was a very REAL mindset held by their parents. By the 70s, 80s that social contract was largely phasing out.

2 Poems

People are fascinated by the creative process, so I’ll share mine. Simply put, I take pieces of things and stick them together.

Take this poem I wrote:

Brothers in blood, sisters in blue
'Say to you. Enjoy you, enjoying you.

The first line is a riff from a Coldplay song.
The second is a twist on a TikTok.


I made a friend in Lisbon! Shivali writes light-hearted poems, dubbed Half-Baked Haikus. Here is my favorite:

Floating like a twig
Oh beaver, build me up
Strong like your dam

Have a wonderful week,

Feel free to reply to this email. I'd love to hear from you! :D