The Wanderlust is celebrating its 5th anniversary this year. I’m a happy wanderluster since 2017, and to show my appreciation to the team, I decided to surprise them with a video highlighting of some of our experiences around the world, and challenged the team to come to my area for some challenges over the weekend. This is what happened these past couple days!
I joined The Wanderlust team in 2017, working as a tour leader on Mongolia, Nepal and the Trans-Siberian Route. For this team building / 5th anniversary celebration, I wanted to surprise them with an inspiring video of what we do best, so I asked my fellow tour leaders to contribute with some footage from their tours, and compiled the 1-minute video you can see below. The voice over is from Miriam Augusto, The Wanderlust’s Founder, the text is from Susana Anastácio, our in-house Marketing Guru, and the music theme is “Forever Love”, composed by Stephen Keech and licensed by soundstripe.com.
So I’ve asked the team to come over to the incredible Magical Mountains (where I live), for a couple days of challenges! The idea was to create an itinerary resembling the tours we offer at The Wanderlust: filled with adventure, a true cultural immersion, a local project where we could give back to the community, local flavours, traditions and breathtaking views along the way!
On the first day, we gathered at Boteco, a local restaurant that offers incredible vegetarian dishes, as opposed to the meat-oriented food in the region. Being a mountainous remote region, meat is the base of traditional dishes here, but most my team mates are vegetarian. The Boteco offers the traditional filling meals we expect, at really affordable prices, and really yummy! We had mushroom pastries, vegetarian lasagna, scrambled eggs with peppers, bruschettas with cheese and tomato, chocolate cakes, and so much more…
With our happy bellies taken care of, we moved on to our first activity: a “trekking” activity with a local shepherd and his dozens of goats, on the top of the Arada hills, at 1100m altitude, near the “Mariolas da Arada“. After a nice walk, we spent some time with Paulo Pereira, the biologist who helped create Water and Stone Route, documenting its biodiversity, historical, cultural and archaeological heritage. Paulo is also one of the creators of the list of flora’s endangered species (Lista Vermelha da Flora), a project we’ve also learnt a bit more about, and to which I challenge you to support, but sponsoring a plant from the endangered species.
We’ve wrapped up this days activities on the granite Candal village, where some of the locals welcomed us by singing the traditional polyphonic choir in their beautiful church, an intimate moment where we could really gasp an almost lost-tradition that means so much for local culture and heritage. One of the ladies then invited us to her home, to taste the local corn-bread (broas de milho), which we enjoyed with some local honey and wine. There’s no way of getting it wrong with these three key gastronomical delicacies!
Our second day kicked off early with a yoga lesson, with our in-house yoga teacher, Susana. Afterwards, Jóni, from Montis, met us for our Wander For Good activity of this experience: we would hike up the mountain to a wasteland managed by Montis, where we would be planting 46 ash trees, and building a beaver-worthy dam from natural materials, to manage the water course in the area.
Montis is a NGO whose main purpose is to manage land for the conservation of its natural values, ensuring the development of natural processes, to promoting the conservation of indigenous species, managing forest fires and other natural risks, and ultimately, to increase the market value of biodiversity.
It was raining for this bit, which was a pity for sightseeing purposes, but perfect for planting! Giving back to the community and being a “green” traveller is really important for us, so this activity was easily our highlight of this weekend. We really want to provide ongoing support for Montis and their work, so I’d like to invite you to also support them, by either becoming their associate, or by contributing their most recent Crowdfunding campaign (launched today!) to buy new land. In a country where the risk of fire, and the consequences have been growing every year, this is a huge contribution from each one of us!!
Paulo Pereira decided to visit us once again, and cooked an Ayurvedic lunch for us, and it was DELICIOUS! Rice, beans, veggies, mushrooms, most of them grown by Paulo and his wife on their land, cooked with love for a big family meal! Energy recharged post-planting and filled with good vibes 🙂
To wrap-up the activities, we saved the best for last. São Pedro do Sul is known mostly for their millennial natural hot springs, which natural properties provide several health benefits, specially for respiratory, orthopaedic and muscular heath. We did a spa treatment at the Queen Amélia Bath Resort for about 90 minutes, with hydromassage pool, a cannon shower, sauna and Turkish bath, a perfect ending for our weekend!