Established in 1509, Old San Juan is the historic colonial section of Puerto Rico’s capital. Old San Juan is home to some of the island’s most invaluable architectural treasures like the Castillo San Felipe del Morro, a 16th century fort overlooking the San Juan harbor.
When I set out to re-enter the blogosphere earlier this year, I was propelled by a desire to document and share some of the wonderful places I have been fortunate enough to see, and inspire myself to never sit still. Get out, see, experience, create.
The cornerstone of this blog was to be my 2017 excursion around the island of Puerto Rico, where half of my ancestry emerged. Over nine days driving around the US territory, I learned much about the culture, the people, the ecology, the geography, the economy, and the cuisine. However, what I gathered most from the trip was about myself — who am I, what makes this heart tick, what constitutes my very soul. I was delighted to be there, delighted to have gone, and delighted to go back.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, I’ve struggled to weigh the horrifying and continuing disaster on the island against my own experiences. I’m deeply saddened by the loss of life, which far exceeds the official death counts reported by the government. I’m inspired by the amazing progress the people of Puerto Rico are making in the face of every adversity. I am infuriated by the lack of government response to a historic catastrophe affected millions of Americans. The destruction documented on every screen was once a beautiful place I beheld with my own eyes and captured with my camera.
I delayed launching this blog mainly for these reasons. I could not flippantly discuss the top places to eat in San Juan or the best snorkeling spots in Aguadilla when hospitals on the island lacked electricity needed to keep patients alive. How could I justify reflecting on my own happiness when so much suffering was and still is underway? Which of these happy memories of mine exist now only as that, memories, and nothing more?
While I continue to reflect and the island continues to recover, I think it would be best if I shared some photographs that highlight the beauty and uniqueness of Puerto Rico, from the cities and small towns to the rainforest and coast. Maybe if more people realize what an amazing place Puerto Rico is, maybe the burden won’t be for the Puerto Ricans alone to bear.