My husband F.J. and I, who are now in our 70s, live in a coastal town in Puerto Rico. Every summer we would say good-bye to our children, grandchildren, and friends to travel to Europe to walk hundreds of kilometers along one of the different Caminos de Santiago (The Way of Saint James). We filled our backpacks with the bare necessities, which we learned was surprisingly little, and experienced the joys and hardships of the Camino. During these pilgrimages we learned many lessons, from perseverance to helping strangers along the way so we could all reach the goal: the Cathedral in Santiago, the capital of Galicia, Spain.
Then came the COVID-19 pandemic. Now unable to travel to Portugal to walk the Portuguese Coastal Route of the Camino de Santiago, as we had planned, we used this “pause” to do a different kind of Camino, a Camino of the sea. We purchased a 15” motor boat, small enough for us to manage alone, and named her Via Maris, or Camino del Mar (The Way of the Sea). We now spend our mornings and late afternoons on Via Maris, at sea and among the mangroves around our home in La Parguera.
We don’t know what the future holds for us. We may never walk another Camino again, but it no longer matters. The pandemic has taught us a new lesson: we can live widely and deeply while staying close to home.