Since my time here in Spain I have met some incredible people. Earlier this year, my journey crossed paths with a beautiful soul by the name of Marta. She is a journalist and traveler. She is originally from Huelva, Spain but spent most of her adult years in Seville. Both places are in Andalusia; the southern region of Spain. For many years Marta worked as a journalist for a newspaper company in Seville. But then Marta began to travel abroad which changed her life forever. Marta was able to get a taste of different cultures and make connections with people from all over the world. This sparked a new passion in her; travel.
Marta shared with me that she quit her job to pursue her dreams. She began cycling to different cities and towns throughout Andalusia. Then two horrible things happened. 1.) 2019 pandemic and 2.) 2020 Huelva Fire. On August 27, 2020, a devastating fire destroyed over 40,000 acres of forest in the heart of the province Huelva, Spain. A fire so big that it affected three regions of Huelva: Sierra de Aracena, Picos de Aroche Andévalo and Cuenca Minera. Marta thought within herself, “How can I be of service to my hometown?” So she made a plan, with the help of the Huelva community.
Marta always had a secret life goal to cycle from southern Spain all the way to Istanbul, Turkey. So she combined both her life goal with efforts to raise money for the fire in Huelva. Mission: “¡Por piñones!” She would cycle all the way to Turkey and raise funds and awareness for Huelva throughout her journey! Her goal is to raise about €8,000 to help purchase trees and replant them at the affected areas in Huelva. Marta will only utilize 25% (less than €2500!) towards her travel expenses. How selfless!
In spending time with her; I have learned that Marta is kind, intelligent, with a timid yet powerful spirit. I’ve only known her a short time but I feel a strong connection with her because I see a reflection of myself in her. I always enjoy our time together because Marta has an amazing ability to be so courageous yet so vulnerable in voicing her apprehensions. I have also observed her strategic tactic to face her fears:
She simple took tiny steps toward her life goal, each small step drew her closer to her ultimate goal of cycling from Southern Spain all the way to Istanbul, Turkey. Now she stares her doubts in the face as she has already made it to Slovenia and raised over half of the money! All while carrying an entire community of fire victims on her back. This journey is for them. But it’s also for her personal growth. I commend Marta for her courage, strength and willingness to be a beacon of hope. And I am privileged to call her a friend.
You can follow Marta’s journey on Facebook @Hilando mapas or Instagram @hilandomapas. And please visit her GoFundMe website to donate towards Marta’s efforts to replant Huelva.