“Photo-reporter, I have always been interested in the rituals of passage in Africa, Asia and South America, where I come from. I imagined one for my own children, that of the “little man” to accomplish at 7, the age of reason. The idea is to surpass oneself physically, psychologically and spiritually.
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In 2015, we set off with my eldest son on the Camino de Santiago: 1,200 km in 43 days. Our adventure did not end there: our book received the magazine award Pilgrim, Santiago was interviewed on the radio… He discovered that he was important beyond the family sphere.
“Life is smells, landscapes, cultures”
With Léandro, the youngest, we walked the summer of 2020 on the Via Francigena, covering 1,520 kilometers in 65 days. Accomplishing such a journey shows the child that nothing is impossible, that life is a playground in which you can achieve whatever you want, provided you give yourself the means.
→ READ. The 20 years of the Via Francigena, an association at the crossroads of cultures
In the Andes and in the Amazon, where I grew up, I had an extraordinary childhood, close to nature, and I wanted to bequeath that to my children. Get out of society’s injunctions: be reasonable, work well at school to have a good job… Life is all about smells, landscapes, cultures. I wanted to convey this thirst for the wide world.
A bridge between earth and sky
Before leaving, we list with the children what poses a problem for them: I’m shy, I’m afraid of this and that… On the way, we discuss it, we untie the knots. Leandro was an introverted little boy, who preferred not to play rather than to put himself in difficulty, who did not adapt well to changes. This odyssey gave him self-confidence. Changing accommodation every day, walking in the rain, in the wind, under a scorching sun, requires a certain flexibility of mind.
When we walk with his child, he becomes our traveling companion but he does not make the way at the same height: he is closer to the ground than to the sky. If we want to communicate with him, we have to touch our inner child. We raise him to adulthood and he brings us back to childhood, it is a compromise, a bridge that is built between earth and sky. “