When I think about any of the trips I make, I can’t help thinking about my father.
The Lord Shepherd raised me by singing and telling me stories of an adventurous child who feared nothing. We used to explore paths, climb mountains, walk down hillsides and laugh about a world full of possibilities to be discovered, our only map being our eyes, as wide open as the heart that accompanies them, eager to learn, to participate and to venture even further.
So I grew up playing at being Rocío Jones, an Indiana Ro, and then a nosy WOMANWORD who built roads and erased boundaries.
Today I spend my life travelling. I live experiences that draw me out of my comfort zone every month and on each occasion, I always think of my father, his words and his drive.
I also think about him every time I go to the airport or to the station or whenever I return there. I always carry him with me along the road that separates my home from my next destination, there and back, as I check my suitcase, or remark on details of restless culture about the new place that awaits me, and I learn with him, my tireless driver, at our little moments, excitedly on the way out, and always hoarse and with large dark circles around my eyes on the way back.
My father is my voyage.
When I travelled to Puerto Rico, he taught me a song that used to play on the hearts of all those that live on the island. When I was in Florence and travelled to Pisa, I received a message in which, with absurd humour, he made a pun about the tower, saying it had been built: “in a very short length of time”· In Cuba, it was Salsa; in Miami, the music; in Paris, sketches; in Norway, legends; in New York, the Bohemian style; in Barcelona, alternative music; in Granada, history; in Milan, during my visit to Fashion Week, a tip: “go and visit isola Bella”. In Caceres, land of his ancestors, we shared our suitcase and discovered fertile lands, joyful rivers, leafy greenery and unbelievable gastronomy.
If I had to choose one day of the year in the calendar to celebrate life with him, I would undoubtedly choose Father’s Day, extendable to 365, and take him with me to discover a city that brings together everything he loves: music, food and stories. With Lute in hand and a rhapsody of verses, I would travel with my father to the magic of Istanbul, as a perfect gift, I would find a comfortable, elegant and private centre of operations so that, once rested, we could discover an attractive and exciting city through its tea-shops, market stalls, museums … stroll calmly around the parks, singing with the artists that we come across and writing stories with the hues of their lives.
I still remember him shouting: “Rocío, if you don’t heed my words, even Heaven is going to get in your way! You do not even listen to your own father!!!”, as he used to scold for my disobedience. Of course, I kept ignoring him and I still do many years later. His curses and his loud words, his looks of affection and his outstretched hand. His poems and his guitar day after day. He taught me to grow up free, irreverent, incorrigible, mischievous, cunning and contentious. He prepared me to fight the world in order to love it and he taught me to return home whenever I need shelter and a warm hug.
A man who educated me in equality and taught me how to grow up between the magic of sleep and the certainty of possibility. That person who brought me up free of gender, who made me understand my own true value, who gave me the tolerance of culture, the strength of art, gastronomic harmony, the patience of the seas, the lyric of music and the rhythm of speech; who reminds me with every step that he is by my side, believing in me and cradling me as he whispers verses that bear my name.
Because the best trip has been life itself and he taught me to live it.
I love you Dad, we did eventually go around the world crossing the skies but we did so hand in hand.
Happy “Daddy’s” Day to all wonderful fathers.