Luis Martinez has written over 3,000 vivid poems describing beautiful places all around the world, but he has one characteristic that makes him stand out from other travel writers. He has never left his home country of Cuba.
Martinez has worked as a bus porter in the Cuban city of Trinidad for 20 years, but his writing depicts the life of a world traveler. An inspiration to anyone stuck at home and dreaming of faraway lands during the pandemic, Martinez explores the world not by plane, but through books and conversations with travelers he meets in the busy city.
After the 1961 revolution, travel restrictions enacted by president Fidel Castro prevented many Cubans from leaving the country. Those wishing to travel abroad had to first seek government approval of their journey. Although these travel restrictions were lifted in 2013, they kept many, including Martinez, home-bound for a majority of their lives.
Martinez’s story is a hopeful tale for anyone yearning for travel. The BBC writes, “For many Cubans like Martinez, who were just children when the nation closed its borders and now lack the means to travel abroad, reading books, studying maps and being an “imaginary tourist” is the closest they may come to leaving the archipelago.”
Despite not being able to physically travel, Martinez has unpacked the cultures and landscapes of countries all around the world. If the pandemic has canceled your travel plans or left you feeling cooped up, consider exploring the world by diving deeper into reading as a way to explore foreign lands. Talking with friends and family about their travels or upbringing is another great way to soak up some of that culture and feel like you’re exploring a new country. If you need a place to start, check out our list of books to inspire the ultimate post-Covid bucket list.
Image source: BBC