Crossing Paths in Lisbon

Blog 2 March 2018

Don’t just say you have read books. Show that through them you have learned to think better, to be a more discriminating and reflective person. Books are the training weights of the mind. They are extremely helpful, but it would be a bad mistake to suppose that one has made progress simply by having internalized their contents.” — Epictetus, The Art of Living 

Crossing Paths

Well, it is already March, and I am only on my second blog. However, I do not plan on beating myself up over it since I have my hands in many projects at the moment. But before I get around to chatting about all the great things I am involved with, I would first like to share a little about a particular lady I met in Lisbon, Portugal back in 2014.

I was renting a flat in the center of Lisbon and was hanging out at my favorite espresso bar when I met an American female tourist who was traveling around the world solo at that time. She sold her business, filed for a divorce and then planned a soul-searching journey around the globe. Lisbon happened to be a part of the first leg of her trip.

I was intrigued but a tad bit jealous to be honest. I was in the middle of a mid-life crisis or peri-menopausal meltdown while alone in another country! Nothing felt right with me physically or mentally. I was envious, over the fact that she was in a position to roam the planet the way I had always envisioned for myself. Don’t get me wrong; I have traveled a great deal and more than the average person but not nearly enough for me. Plus she was planning on going to some super cool places that I had not yet traveled.

I have had some monumental life experiences abroad that still to this day blow my mind and I have been to some pretty spectacular spots. But taking a few years to travel and write a book for me, now that was one thing that was on the bucket list that I had not yet accomplished. 

When I met Eryn, she was taking the path that I honestly wanted to take and instead; I was staying in Portugal on a tight budget and unable to find my inner peace. I was having a great time from what people could see from the outer appearances but on the inside, I was enduring daily panic attacks. Many nights I would rock myself to sleep while trying to calm my racing heartbeat. I had so many bizarre incidents and close calls. I had been robbed, stalked and even witnessed a brutal attack just outside my window.  And if things could not get any worse I had someone almost break my door down while I was sleeping. Never found out who it was but scared me enough to want to move back to the US. 

So timing is everything, which brings me to an explanation of why I am writing about Eryn on my second blog. Eryn and I only had a very short introduction over coffee and then she went on her way. We kept in touch on Facebook, which consisted of me reading her posts over the course of her travels.

Once her book was hot off the presses, I felt compelled to order two books off of Amazon back in December 2017. I was so excited to read a book that a person I know wrote, finally! Traveling alone, being a woman and soul-searching, I can relate.

So I dove in head first and excited to emerge myself in the sea of my imagination and on a fantastic voyage of self-discovery through her own words. And boy was I a fat, happy fly on the wall for that ride. I made sure to read a little each day. Erin did a terrific job at writing. She is excellent at articulating her thoughts in such a genuine way; it felt like you were her closest friend and she was confiding in you every little detail of her experiences.

I have talked about writing a book for years, but something internally always holds me back. I have thrown myself into many self-help books, have been to therapy off and on since I was 15, participated in extended silent retreats, yoga, and meditations. I have pushed myself mentally and physically through numerous challenges just to become a stronger, wiser, and healthier person. All the years and so much hard work which I can see it has clearly paid off even though at times I have had some doubt in my decisions. 

I believe I was in that indecisive state of mind on what to do next when I began reading Erin’s book. I was basically stuck and could not move for fear of failing at yet another attempt to get the ball rolling on some new projects.

Reading Eryn’s book was the absolute best remedy for me, and it was as if the stars were aligned and every word she wrote I could somehow relate to. Yes, there it was, in black and white. I had been yearning to feel connected in some way with other like-minded women. Women who are working to be better people and go out of their way to get involved and help others. 

There is so much in the book to take in and digest that I am sure I will read a few more times. However, I will have to order another now since I have given both of my copies away. “Facing Freedom” to me is the similar and more relatable version of “Eat Pray and Love.” Eryn is not afraid to hold back and put herself on the hot seat and under a magnifying glass.  I enjoyed Eat, Pray, and Love but it was a rated G version in my personal opinion and it left me wanting more.  It was not as relatable for me as Eryn’s work.

I have so much respect for people who risk everything just to have a clearer understanding of what it is they are meant to do or what they feel maybe their calling.  And those who work so diligently to get to the root of their issues so they can continue on their journey with much less baggage and healthier relationships.

I like the fact that Eryn was a bit sheltered before heading out on her quest for answers, for me, it made it more awkwardly challenging and entertaining. Which again, I can relate. Not knowing any other language besides English and being an American female traveling alone, can set you up for a lot of Lucille Ball moments if you know what I mean.  

She kept herself open to whatever cultural or awkward situation would happen to arise, and no matter what the circumstances were to enable growth. And grow she did a lot of.  I have not read anything quite like it, or a book that speaks to me like “Facing Freedom” does. I have read many so-called spiritual enlightenment or self-help books in my time so I speak from experience.

Eryn’s first book and a must read. 
I have been so inspired by her book and her as a person that I have decided to help get the word out there by any means necessary. So when I finally finished reading the book is when I felt that little nudge I needed to get the ball rolling in my own life.  

Since then I have been working on different projects and concentrating on being more creative in my life.  I believe that I have come full circle and know so much more from my travels.  I am thankful each day that I have the opportunities to meet some of the most remarkable women and men from all over.  I know how fortunate I am to have these experiences and I will cherish every one of them.  But most importantly, to be present and observant of these experiences so they can benefit me in some way big or small.

This book is a perfect example of a journey of self-realization with lots of unexpected surprises along the way.  It is definitely a journey that most of us have not taken but probably can relate to in many chapters throughout the book.

Eryn Donnalley
This is Eryn’s second book and is now available as well.  

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