Hi! My name is Brendan, I come from a town called Puerto de la Cruz in the Canary Islands (Spain) and this is my story!
After finishing my studies at university, I decided to “give myself” a pat on the back and do some travelling after the hard work! The first idea that came to me was to do the ‘El Camino de Santiago’; this is a walk that goes through northern Spain, that can be done in your own way, by connecting different routes, towns and paths of your choice. Depending where you start it can be a journey of over a 1000 km! You know what this means? A 1000 km of seeing new things, meeting new people, discovering hidden places, learning differences and similarities between cultures, sensations and thought: a true adventure in all meanings!
One evening while day dreaming about this, I asked myself “Why do you want to travel out again, far away, if you still have many things to see yet in your own land? Why the farther it is, the more interesting it becomes?” Lanzarote, La Palma, La Graciosa… all these places so near to me and yet, not knowing practically anything of them. (…)
Its been over a year since I’ve come back from my Erasmus in Slovenia. What a good time I had! In so many ways, and specially travelling around! I got to see so many things, different ways of living, different ways of thinking; really rewarding for my awareness of reality! But above all, the best thing that happened to me was coming back to Tenerife and feeling how beautiful and special this island is. I already knew this in my mind, by listening all my life to people saying that the Canary Islands was a magical place to be! But somehow, I couldn’t really feel the same way or, in other words, I didn’t really knew what they were talking about! How could I? If I didn’t know anything else but this. So when I returned, one of the first things that shocked me was to realized how lucky I was to have been born and bred here, in this paradise island. Now I could really understand all those annoying comments that I heard “You don’t know how lucky you are Brendan!” Sometimes you need to miss things to understand how great they are. And thanks to this I haven’t stop discovering my island since I’ve come back!
As the same way gunpowder gets together with fire, a spark set off in my head and an explosive idea came out! Why not do a “Camino de Santiago” but around the Canary Islands? Why not kill two birds with the one stone? Getting to know “mi tierra” and to do this 1000km walking adventure!
I spoke with some friends about this and they said “Tú estás loco!”, others “that this is amazing, what a great idea”, and many “I would love to go with you” (I only listened to those comments that I liked!) Then I commented softly to my parents, to see what they thought about it and they were delighted. But with the only condition of getting myself a mobile phone! If not, it was a big No!!
Then, while getting into a bit more details with my father, he came out with a great idea, and suggested “Bren, why don’t you do a Charity out of this Walk?” —Mmm Interesting!—
We then though about how to make the Charity, what to do with the donated money, etc (All the info is on 4.Charity). Without thinking much about it, I really wanted to do something for blind people. Some months ago I did a half a marathon in Anaga mountains, and got inspirited when I saw this blind man running with a guide. I was so impressed in that instance, that I nearly burst to tears of the beauty of what I was seeing. I though: “Look at this man, with the difficulties he has in life, doing this extraordinary things and having a great time, while other people have decided to live complaining miserably about everything” This man is a Chapeau! People like this are the real inspirations for me, the real references to take, the examples that guide me.
Of course, after seeing this… an activity for blind people had to be done!. Then, my Mum also gave me the brilliant idea to do something for animals.
This year I have been involved with the Erasmus world at the University, and through it I have met many great people, specially those that are here working as voluntaries. It opens your mind seeing other people dedicating their time and effort to others without seeming to expect anything in return, more than personal aims. I think, in a way, they have indirectly opened my mind towards volunteering and pushed me forward to do something cool with all of this! ” They have been a bit of petrol for my car!”
AURI (Asociación Univesitaria de Relaciones Internacionales), that is a Charity that works in University helping Erasmus people with activities and as mentors, came with a lovely idea of sponsoring the walk, with the idea of showing out that “Being a Voluntary doesn’t mean to be doing boring stuff” But totally the opposite! That you can have a great time while helping others. So this Canary Island Walk is in a way the perfect example for them to broadcast this positive attitude towards voluntary participation and to try to capture interests in this field. Through this we will try to connect with all kind of people and motivated them for participating in any possible way with volunteering.
And ending this chapter… do you know how frustrating it is to see, one of these new friends, with pictures on their Facebook of places of your own Island, that you still havent seen?! One on hand you feel”How beautiful is this place! I’m so looking forward to see it!” But at the same time: “Brendan… all this time here and you still havent seen it yet?” Terrible! But the worse part is when you ask where it is, and they reply “It is Las Ventanas de Güimar, why? Havent you seen it yet? But why not? If you live here : )”
So after all that has been said, I think that behind everything it’s going to be a matter of pride, and feeling ashamed of myself to have not been able to enjoy “mi tierra” as it should be enjoyed! (hahaha : D)
This is my story,I hope you liked it!