International travel’s practically impossible these days.
The coronavirus pandemic has temporarily shelved easy transit across borders. At the moment, some nations have outright banned international travel of all kinds. In others, you can’t even travel freely within borders.
Other nations have restricted specific passports and tourists, altogether.
Months ago, as international travel quickly shut down among rising health concerns, some had to come up with innovative ways to see their loved ones before it was too late.
Like what do you do if you can’t fly across the ocean?
Sail across it, of course.
Juan Manuel Ballestero’s entire life, like many others, turned completely upside down during the coronavirus pandemic.
When international flights between Portugal and Argentina were canceled, he had to find another way to reunite with his elderly parents.
With 5,600 miles of open ocean between his Portuguese island of residence, Porto Santo, and his family in Argentina, he had a tough decision to make.
But without hesitation, the seasoned seaman opted to cross the Atlantic Ocean… by boat.
Sure, it’s an incredibly daunting undertaking. The open ocean’s a mentally grueling, potentially dangerous place.
But desperate times call for desperate measures. If plan A doesn’t work, try the backup plan. Then, the backups to the backup plan.
Ballestero proceeds to load up on essentials for his trip – rice, canned tuna, fruit, and wine, of course. Within a few days, he’s ready to set sail.
Ballestero explains to the New York Times,
“I didn’t want to stay like a coward on an island where there were no cases. I wanted to do everything possible to return home. The most important thing for me was to be with my family.”
He soon set sail, heading straight for the vast, open ocean.
Like any worthy seafaring adventure, Ballestero’s journey was riddled with trials and tribulations.
At one point, he had to dive under the boat to make essential repairs. He even ran out of fuel around the equator! The wind became his only remaining source of propulsion.
Surely the trip had to be thrilling! He had to be scared, right?
“I wasn’t afraid, but I did have a lot of uncertainty. It was very strange to sail in the middle of a pandemic with humanity teetering around me. Faith keeps you standing in these situations.”
Fortunately, adversity was eventually met with jubilation.
Out of nowhere, a playful pod of dolphins accompanied him for the final leg of the trip!
He took some fantastic photos of the encounter for all to see.
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He was at sea for a total of 85 days!
That’s an incredibly long time to be alone on the open ocean.
Upon landfall in Argentina, Juan Manuel was immediately examined and cleared for coronavirus. He basically self-isolated for 85 days!
The loving son was reunited with his patient father right in time for Father’s Day!
As they say, where there’s a will there’s a way. It also helps to be an exceptionally skilled mariner.
One of the most trying efforts in Juan Manuel’s life eventually turned into one of the most rewarding.
Now nestled in Argentina, he’s back in the arms of his loving family.
As Dorthy once said in The Wizard of Oz, “There’s no place like home.” Juan Manuel certainly values family above all else, literally risking his life in an attempt to reunite with his loved ones amid a global health crisis.
What’d you think of Juan Manuel’s incredible journey? Given the circumstances, would you do the same?
Check out the entirety of his incredible, life-changing journey below!
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