In my experience, life’s most precious moments derive from situations with very few preconceived thoughts or expectations. At first, you don’t notice the genuine happiness creep up on you. Yet, little by little, at a gradual pace, a feeling of blissful contentment grows so strong that it seems to overflow within you. Only then can you become aware of how truly, authentically, happy you are in the present moment.
I find myself most at peace in “heart happy moments” such as these, in which happiness is not anticipated, forced, or asked for, but instead, materializes organically from the unexpected. Floating in the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean Sea at Carvalho Beach I found myself lost in one of these overwhelming moments of sweet serenity.
The weekend marked the culmination of my first week working as an office intern with We Love Spain (arguably the best tour company in Spain, I might be a little biased as an intern, but can you blame me?).
We Love Spain offers weekly trips each Sunday to different beach destinations in Spain and Portugal. At the very last-minute on Sunday morning I found myself running to the bus meeting spot, determined to catch the bus to whatever beach it was headed to. If you know me, you quickly become aware that last-minute, spur of the moment decisions mark the typical time frame in which my life revolves. I had no idea where we were going, but I knew that the beach was involved, and that was all I needed to know!
My initial relief for catching the bus in time was quickly replaced with surprise as I learned that we were crossing border lines into Portugal. Unknowingly I had stumbled into country number 31 without even planning on it.
The journey from Sevilla, Spain to Carvalho Beach lasted approximately 2 1/2 hours. Upon arrival, it was clear that every minute of commute was undoubtably worth it. Carvalho beach is nestled snuggly in between white washed, dramatically plunging coastal cliffs. The cliffs seem to boast a unique character and appearance with countless crevices, tunnels, caves, and hide outs etched into their sides. In order to access the beach, our group scrambled through a winding tunnel within the cliff side to arrive at a sandy alcove.
Carvalho Beach is that of an adult playground. If you are a thrill seeker of sorts, the beach is ideally designed for cliff jumping. One of the best features of the beach is a natural made staircase along the coastal cliffs that snakes through a short tunnel and leads to a cave over looking the water. The cave serves as a perfect platform to launch yourself into the cool, crystal waters of the Mediterranean Sea. You can bet I was the first of the group to try out this cliff jumping spot.
If an adrenaline buzz isn’t your preference, one can opt for a sangria buzz and enjoy a day of relaxation lounging on the sunny shore. Myself, I prefer both.
Similar to most beaches along the Algarve Coast, Carvalho doesn’t allow you to get bored easily. A hike along the stunning cliff side offers views of the Mediterranean that seem too picturesque to be real. Hiking along the breathtaking drop off quickly leads you to find hidden beaches, grottos, and caverns.
Soaking in sun-kissed waters after drinking a little cervecita, I couldn’t help but smile at the pure beauty of the moment. The day was a perfect mixture of adventure, thrill, relaxation, and friendship. When we let go of our own intentions and instead allow life to guide us in a direction of its own making, we can become pleasantly surprised by the places we encounter, the people we meet, and the experiences formed.
Before swimming back to shore, I thought to myself, I’m not sure how I found myself here, but I’m entirely glad that I did.