My discovery of Madeira taught me something. There are three things that really jump-start self-actualization. Falling in love with a soulmate. Finding a calling or vocation that feeds the soul, a dream job. Third, immersion in one’s family history. My grandfather was right: continuity between generations can be a lifeline to the scary present. There I was, looking out at the Atlantic and expanding my mind, beside my great-great-grandfather’s villa. Beside so many bananas. Tons of bananas. How many generations of Madeiran Dos Passos men and women did the same? It’s possible the Dos Passos were there as long as 600 years, going back to the discovery of Madeira in 1419. It sure feels good to wonder that.
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