more often than not i find my eyelids settling at half-mast on monday afternoons as i’m faced with nothing more inspiring than a dry to-do list and a my finger mindlessly tapping on open tabs on my computer. it’s in these moments when i allow my mind and my heart to wander back to places that have captivated me, if not for inspiration just to salvage my own sanity. this past monday, as it often does, my heart led me back to the algarve region of portugal, one of the most beautiful and enchanting places i’ve ever visited. my eyes began to consume image after image when i finally landed on a thorough and inspiring conde nast “introduction” to the area. and as i drank down every word and explored every pixel and breathed in my own memories, again and again and again, i came across a fascinating anecdote of a historical conquest that occurred in the area, that has found itself legendized as a common term in portuguese- sebastianismo. a word that was born from a story of exploration, of desire, of hope- lost.
king sebastião embarked on a crusade to battle the moorish kingdom of morocco, hopeful, willing, and determined, and soon after embarking the entire undertaking was a disaster– outnumbered, outsmarted, and out of options, they were defeated and Sebastião himself was lost among the sandy shores; a revered and promising king met his untimely demise in the craggy, unforgiving intercontinental coastline. from that event was born the term sebastianismo, meaning a failed venture or forlorn hope. such a palpable, fragrant term, born from glory and ending in failure and what gives us, in all it’s 6-syllable complexity, one very tangible reason why we travel. because to have hope in itself is a rare gift. to believe in yourself, to put a dream in motion, to invigorate your senses, to contain within yourself the unshakable belief in a mission, to seek the unknown, to move, to try. and then even if you fail, if you find yourself lost, if you lose that hope that blindly mobilized you to begin with- at least you had such a gift to begin with. because stagnation, and not some easily defined nemesis- stagnation is the enemy.