“Deseo poco y lo poco que deseo lo deseo poco”.
“I want little and the little things I want, I want them little”
This is the phrase that was on the epitaph of our friend Roberto’s funeral and there were perfect words to describe his life and how he decided to live it. We started our time in Ecuador with such sad news, Roberto’s sudden sickness and death.
Roberto was a dear friend to us and when we started our trip and spent those months in Ecuador in 2014, lots of this time was spent with him and his girlfriend Fenja. They were one of those couples who you just click with. We were going through similar things, the four of us, decided to leave our lives behind and start new adventures, us in the water with Ondular, they on the road with El Verde. Time spent together was just easy, we laughed and shared stories, it kind of felt like we were part of the same team, a team of travellers, of the ones that were doing something different.
After our time in Ecuador, our physical paths parted, they went on to travel from Ecuador, through Peru and Bolivia all the way to Uruguay and we went on to the Caribbean to buy the boat, but throughout these months we faithfully kept in touch, sharing our adventures and misadventures, and planning a future rendezvous.
Unfortunately live has a way of surprising you when you least expect it and when in August I wasn’t getting many responses from them, I had a feeling that something was wrong. In September on my quick visit to Ecuador I found out the horrible news that Roberto was sick, a tumour had been found in his brain and he wasn’t doing that well. He and Fenja had to now face a complete change of plans, leaving their travelling behind and settling in Ecuador to fight the tumour. By the time we got back to Ecuador at the end of November, Roberto was being operated to remove part of it and there were positive expectations from the operation.
We thought we were going to be at the right time to help him overcome the operation and support him on his path to recovery but he never recovered from the operation and he passed away in the middle of December. I’m glad we were there for Fenja during these unimaginable hard times. Fenja is a true inspiration to me of strength and love. They are one of the most wonderful couples I’ve ever met, and to see them going through this was heartbreaking and it still is.
Galapagos was the place where we had planned to meet again so being here now brings a sad feeling to it. Roberto is with us though, maybe not physically but in our hearts, in every wave we surf and in every sunset we see. He was an amazing soul, always happy always willing to give. He always had an advice or a story to tell so I feel really grateful to have known him as my friend and to have shared those times together. Thanks to him I got to meet my now dear friend Fenja and I know we’ll share more memories together with her. He left us his life as the message: live simply, live well, give to others and always smile. Thanks Roberto for your light and love. You are in our hearts forever.