'Being Uniquely Galapagueño’
As our ‘enchanted islands’ slowly and safely welcomes back tourists after a strict lockdown, we reached out to 4 Galapagos residents either during or post lockdown to understand what makes them Uniquely Galapagueño’. We also discuss some of the contemporary issues shaping the Galapagos Islands and tourism here and globally in ‘the new normal’.
Over the course of 4 weeks in Blogs/Vlogs we will learn about their remarkable journeys, their connection to the island, how they have impacted life on the islands and discuss Conservation, Sustainability, Tourism, Cultural Immersion, Education, Art and Wellness.
Just like many other Galapagos residents they have shown great resilience and pragmatism to survive on the islands by evolving just like the amazing wildlife here and becoming more self-sustainable.
Week 2 Cecilia Rosso – Photographer, Graphic Designer and Yoga Teacher - Blog
On a warm, sunny late Tuesday afternoon in early November 2020 we met Ceci in the Galapagos Espacio, Puerto Ayora and listened to her fascinating journey here from Cordoba, Argentina and her perspective of life in ‘the new normal’.
When and why did you first visit the Galapagos Islands?
I visited Galapagos for the first time in January 2016. I came as a tourist for 20 days and visited El Primicia Giant Tortoise Reserve, Santa Fe to snorkel, San Cristobal and was fortunate enough to visit Espanola Island (bird lover’s paradise). By then I fell in love with Galapagos, it was so peaceful, beautiful and unique which made me adamant to return in January 2017 and spend longer there.
What is your earliest memory of the Galapagos?
My first memory was when I went diving near North Seymour Island. I was super impressed by the large amount of marine life that exists in the Galapagos reserve.
What is your story?
Before emigrating to the Galapagos from Argentina in January 2017, I worked as a Professor of Multimedia Design in the National University of La Rioja and as Professor of the Digital Image Laboratory at the Catholic University of Córdoba in Argentina.
I also worked in the area of multimedia arts. I participated in numerous national and international exhibitions, specializing in video installations, photographs and video-art. My work has been exhibited in different cultural spaces, museums, theatres, stadiums, galleries, in Argentina, Brazil, Spain, Mexico, Uruguay, Colombia, Serbia, etc. For many years I also worked as a VJ with some famous DJ´s, such as Carl Cox, Hernán Cattáneo etc.
What are the coolest things about the islands? Have you visited other islands?
Absolutely everything, I mean I am head over heels in love with the islands. Each island has its own charm and magic.There are so many amazing places to visit in the Galapagos.I love the highlands of Santa Cruz where giant tortoises roam freely and where the vegetation is lush and where I live. Santa Cruz Island is the most populated island with around 25,000 people living there. I have also visited Isabela, San Cristobal, Floreana, Santa Fé, and Española which are all super diverse in terms of flora, fauna and wildlife.
When and why did you feel connected to the Galapagos so that it became your home?
Actually, it was when I first landed in Baltra Airport back in January 2016 as a tourist and saw my first land iguana, I was hooked. Living in one of the most unique, pristine and sustainable places in the world surrounded by animals and the ocean connected me to the Galapagos pretty quickly.The islands are so tranquil and unspoilt, perfect to enjoy nature, photography, freediving, paddle boarding, surfing and many other cool outdoor activities.
What was life like for you before the Covid19 lockdown in mid-March 2020?
Before the lockdown my partner Gustavo and I worked as T shirt designers and photographers in Puerto Ayora which we loved and we got to spend our free time in the highlands of Santa Cruz or at Tortuga Bay, one of our favourite beaches in the world.
What was the 3 months of strict lockdown from mid-March to mid-June in the Galapagos like for you and Gustavo?
These were challenging times for everyone globally, for us it was all about soul searching as we knew we needed to be agile and adapt to survive in the ‘new normal’. It was 3 months of learning, valuing things we had rather than be affected by things we had no control over.Personally, it was a positive experience in the sense of being able to access many online courses and studies that were not available before the pandemic and a chance to reinvent myself for new challenges ahead.
How did you remain positive during the lockdown?
What did you work on?
I am an eternal optimist which helped my mental state from the outset. My partner Gustavo and I have a garden, before the pandemic we only grew a few plants and fruit but during the lockdown we consciously worked on growing more fruit and vegetables for both our own use and to barter (trueque) for staple foods and oil to survive with no income coming in. This has been a common practice on all 4 populated islands since lockdown in mid-March.
Today we grow a great variety of fruits and vegetables such as passion fruit, bananas, tomatoes, avocados as we strive to be more self-sustainable and contribute to the conservation of our island.
Do you have any good advice for any of our readers who have gone back into lockdown in around the World?
My advice to you is that you have to be patient and always see the positive side of things and appreciate what you have rather than worry about what you no longer have. I recommend that you eat healthy and try to do some physical activity in your own home, be it stretching exercises, or yoga, etc for your physical and mental wellbeing.
How important is Wellness to you?
Our health is the most important thing we have, but we must consciously make an effort to take care of it. Eating healthy, exercising and leading a life close to nature are intrinsically linked to Wellness.
What is post lockdown life like for you both?
Since lockdown restrictions were lifted I started working as Professor of Graphic Design at Galapagos Espacio, Puerto Ayora. I now also teach yoga immersed by our beautiful nature in the highlands of Santa Cruz and on the beach. I feel positive about the future here.
What do you think the islands will be like in the future?
I am hoping that over tourism won’t return and we can protect our unique archipelago and wildlife for future visitors and our residents.
If you are interested in finding out more about Ceci’s graphic design course or yoga classes you can contact her via Instagram @phragmus_designs or @cecirossoyoga.
For those of you in Puerto Ayora now Ceci has started giving beach yoga classes on Monday and Thursday at 6.45am at Playa de la Estacion.
You can find out more about the great conservation efforts on the island by visiting the Galapagos Conservation Trust website.
Finally, if Ceci has inspired you to visit the Galapagos Islands, Uniquely Galapagos can help you plan ‘an experience as unique as you’.