Luis do Freixo

After an amazing activity that united boy scouts from Portugal and Spain in Chantada (Galicia), me and my friends returned to Vigo under a blistering heat. It was August and I remember the air being so hot that we couldn’t feel any difference between driving with an open or closed window.

The initial idea was, once in the city, to help unload all the camping gear and later continue on our way, back to Lisbon. After few runs carrying tents, polls, backpacks and everything else we used during the week, we could sense that we were starting to dissolve in sweet. We were craving for any kind of fluids.

Suddenly coming out of nowhere, a middle aged man, with a beer pitcher in his hand approached us and said loud and clear.

  • Ánimo chavales (courage youngsters) llegó la salvación (the salvation is here) !

I think that was probably the best beer I ever had, and my life was never the same again.

The man behind the beer was Luis. Luis Martinez, Luis the husband of Cristina, Luis the father of Berta and Roi, Luis the brilliant Telefónica engineer or if you prefer Luis do Freixo. Luis is the “responsible” for thousands of people being able to walk sound and safe the route of the Camino de Santiago by the Coast.

In the following twenty five years I had the blessing of sharing his friendship and learn valuable lessons from a man that could easily be a character in any book or movie about how to live the good life.

Once, while I was visiting in Vigo, Luis went for a ride with his bicycle (he was a damm serious cyclist) and returned later with another rider, an english tourist he found lost in the vicinity.

Without hesitating he offered a room in his house, a sit at the table and a plate of food. The most amazing thing? Luis doesn’t really speak english.

That same day I learned that generosity has no need for words, it is an universal language. I have seen again and again how Luis cannot stand to see someone in need or trouble without offering immediately his help and support. He his an inspiration to me and I often think about the hundreds of “english riders” he has been helping to find the “right way”.  

Another time, while we were sailing in the bay of Vigo on the way back from Cies, he looked attentively into the horizon and remained very serious for a long time. For a moment we thought there was troubling winds coming our way and could not avoid questioning. He replied as if he was returning from a long journey out of space. explaining that everything was fine, he was just looking into the Utopia*. Honestly it took me a while to understand his words (few years to be more precise).

Luis has shown me, and I believe to many other people, that we never get there (to the Utopia). It is the journey and what we absorb as we pay attention that is the holy grail, (I guess I just got an idea to write about another “mentor” who changed my life).

Since that day, I have been trying to pay more attention to details, and you know what? it works! Those small dots in our day are the raw material of the big picture of our life. 

If you ever walk across the mountains of Freixo in Galicia you might be lucky enough to find such friendship. In the meantime, I leave you with a picture of Luis and Cristina, that you can “hunt” for the man. You can find his extraordinary works about the Camino of Santiago here.

* “Utopia is on the horizon. I move two steps closer; it moves two steps further away. I walk another ten steps and the horizon runs ten steps further away. As much as I may walk, I’ll never reach it. So what’s the point of utopia? The point is this: to keep walking.”  Eduardo Galeano

The Walking Mentorship helps you (re)connect with your ultimate purpose, revise your priorities and gain clarity where you want to go next. You can learn more : https://walkingmentorship.com

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