Living our Dreams

Luis Simões, the world traveller

WORDS Sílvia Carvalho d’Almeida

Ten years ago, when I saw Luis Simões giving an interview to a well-known alternative TV channel, I (not yet a journalist, but aspiring to be) always had a tremendous will to meet him and perhaps interview him someday. When Tomorrow’s editor asked if anyone in the newsroom wanted to do this article, I just could not believe it. I immediately accepted, thinking this could only be the universe conspiring in my favour again.

I followed his journey, through the years, across the globe, which he called the World Sketching Tour. Intended to be for five years, I guessed he enjoyed it so much that he just kept travelling. 

Finally, I set the time for the interview I had dreamed of and Luis was just as nice as I had imagined. He told me about the wonderful places he had discovered worldwide. I could only think it required both a certain dose of courage and insanity to leave his life behind to explore the world all by himself. From the cathedrals of Europe to landscapes of South America, to random people he met along the way, he observed everything, mesmerised by its diversity, richness and beauty, and immortalised those moments in his sketches. 

I asked him about the logistics of organising such an enormous trip. It did not come without sacrifice. Even though he got a remote job in a partnership with a magazine, he had to sell his home and car to give him the financial stability to continue his journey.

What made him leave such a comfortable situation in his hometown, Alcobaça, where he had a good job and therefore financial stability, friends and family? Perhaps the notion that we do not know ourselves fully if we keep being in our comfort zone, that there are corners of us screaming to be seen, cherished, and brought to life. That there is so much more to discover within ourselves. That our soul needs poetry, adventure, and beauty.

Along the way, he met his partner, Anisa, in Indonesia, and since then, they’ve travelled together. Last year, Anisa finally had the opportunity to discover Portugal as they travelled along the coastline. As I finish these lines, the couple are ending their journey travelling from the interior of the country by bike. They have just arrived in Lagos. 

Luis has written books about his journeys. They are filled with marvellous drawings of himself, and tips for travellers. “It took me 32 years to follow this passion of mine that, at least for now, I can’t live from, but it feeds my soul more than any job I’ve had until today.” 

Luis is an example of how we can feed our souls, become ignited with passion and fulfil our dreams. All it takes is a bit of courage. I confess I am a bit jealous!


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