The first time I was stalked was around sixteen.
It was a guy from a class I was taking at the community college and suddenly he was everywhere. Following me to the library. Trying to flirt with me there and in class. And, disturbingly, showing up on nights when I knew he didn’t have a class just to see me coming out of mine.
As so many girls are trained to do, I was nice to him at first. But over time the fear built and built and eventually I screamed at him to leave me alone. In public. Which was probably not the best way to handle it, but he did. He left me alone.
Since then, I’ve had some other weird situations involving people pushing my boundaries or showing up somewhere I didn’t invite them to be in a way that felt directed.
Which is why as I traveled, I wrote about places (mostly) after I left. I shared my favorite restaurants, my best moments, where to stay, what to do. But I shared those things knowing that I was already gone. And if someone with bad intentions was trying to find me, well, good luck to them. You can eat at my favorite restaurant in Prague every day for the next year and you still won’t see me.
Then I moved to Portugal. I settled into one place for awhile. My following grew because I sold several books. And I had another weird situation that pushed my boundaries.
Which made me even more cautious.
I’m telling you about this now because I’ve gotten some emails asking why I’m not sharing more about Portugal here on the blog. And that’s the reason. I will share and share and share again about places that I love and think you will love too, but that someone cannot find me if I don’t want them to. But my favorite places here, the activities I do regularly, the friends I see every week: those I am holding closer to the chest. Because I need to find balance between sharing my joy, my stories, my recommendations and also staying safe.
So please forgive me if my travel content feels unbalanced. I do hope to see more of Portugal and share those experiences with you once I leave those towns. But for now, Porto being my home, my life here will remain shrouded in a bit more mystery.