Go to Porto for the Best Existential Crisis of Your Life

Legacy can be slippery…

Katlyn Roberts
11 min readOct 6, 2019


Livraria Lello in Porto, Portugal. Photo by Ivo Rainha on Unsplash

I had an existential crisis in Porto, Portugal and, I don’t want to blame specific people, but J.K. Rowling, Frida Kahlo, and Jesus Christ had a lot to do with it.

Let’s talk about legacy for a second.

Legacy is multi-layered. You can really think of it as any (or all) of the following:

  • How someone’s life and/or art and/or teachings live on and influence other people
  • How someone changes the course of history
  • Family legacy
  • Local legacy
  • Global legacy
  • The longevity of a legacy (how long someone is remembered)
  • Their living legacy, how it changes throughout their life, and how it changes when they’re gone

I gotta tell you, I try pretty hard not to think about my own legacy too much these days because the legacies of people who think too much about their legacies tend to be filled with tragedy and strife. Look at poor Alexander Hamilton, or at least Lin Manuel Miranda’s version of him, who “imagined death so much, it felt more like a memory”.

But I won’t pretend the concept isn’t constantly in the back of my mind when I travel the world and see great works of art and beautiful monuments. Sometimes I think, Wow, that dude built a whole palace for his dead wife. The fuck have I done? Some Harry Potter fanfiction? The occasional good deed here and there? A bunch of ghostwritten articles and youtube videos? My LinkedIn profile? …Oh no. …My social media history?? God, I keep meaning to go back and delete all those Facebook statuses from 2008…

Churches of Carmelitas and Carmo — Porto, Portugal. Photo by Katlyn Roberts

I should say that I loved Porto. It may be my favorite city in Europe (so far). The people are so laid-back and funny, the topography is very hilly which makes for the type of stunning views I’ve only seen before in San Francisco, and, hello, it’s a Potterhead’s dream.

J.K. Rowling taught English in Porto for about 3 years while she was outlining all 7 books and…



Katlyn Roberts

Katlyn writes about history, travel, and culture… with some snark. www.KatlynRoberts.com.