The Essence of Saudade

By Vanessa Fleming, Summersalt Yoga teacher

Every time I’ve been to Portugal, there’s this unspoken, intangible but very palpable feeling. It’s like magic…I feel as though I’ve been whisked away to another world. A forgotten world. A place where all the worries and stresses of my current life no longer exist, because they never existed in the first place. It’s a feeling of longing, a feeling of desire, a feeling of days’ past.

I’m not the only one that feels this. The feeling is so strong in presence that it has an actual term…


Looking off the cliffs in the Algarve, or climbing the hills in the streets of Lisbon…taking the train to Cascais…there’s an energy that exists in this underrated and serene coastal country. It’s no wonder I’m drawn to Portugal and find myself struggling to leave.

The Portuguese people have quiet melancholy to them. You’re no doubt to be met with endearing and genuine smiles, along with a deep and curious soul exuding from their eyes. They are the beautiful inhabitants of this often underestimated land with gorgeous old European structures and design. In the background, you’ll hear the sounds of Fado, the instrumental music full of expression played by Portuguese people of all ages. 

Last year, I was with a friend in Lisbon, grabbing some dinner before we headed out to the city to explore. A couple of older gentlemen sat down with their guitars in the restaurant. They were surrounded by family members, all out for a night of singing, eating and drinking in the local establishment. My friend and I said we would stay for just a couple of songs, but there was a city to explore out there….

As the night wore on, each one of the family members sang. From the teenager to the grandmother, all of them belted out songs in Portuguese in this Fado style. I am still impressed by all of them having such range of vocals. 

4 hours later, she and I floated back to our B&B for the weekend, completely awestruck with the power of Fado and it’s insinuating Saudade. 

This is what happens in Portugal. Time stands still and slips away simultaneously. It’s almost as if the Portuguese people know something that the rest of us don’t, and they use that as their power to just live in the moment. 

Combine that with incredible waves where dolphins happily dance and surf with you, and an overall just chill vibe, it is a country that I’m sure that I want to live out the rest of my days in.

Feel Saudade at our Girls Yoga & Surf retreat in Portugal on the 2-9th September. Spots still available. Book now.



By | 2017-07-09T13:28:44+00:00 July 9th, 2017|Travel, Yoga retreats|