La Vanguardia

450 450 Yatri

The Spanish who opted for two ancient trees as the last refuge of Gabo

Juan Antonio González was an unemployed banking employee until one day he came up with an innovative and unique business: a service of scattering of ashes as a posthumous tribute by aircraft or boats, which has already reached corners such as the pyramids of Giza or the Alps.

Juan Antonio’s one is a service so exclusive that two months ago received a call from the Mexican Government asking for advice on how to spread the ashes of a character of international renown: the writer Gabriel García Márquez.

“I took the phone and what was my surprise when I heard the call came from the Mexican Government. The desire of García Márquez was that his ashes were distributed between Mexico and Colombia, so I recommended to them that they lodged them in two environment friendly urns with saplings of the longest-living native trees of each country, ancient trees, so that in this way the spirit of Gabo perpetuates the longest time possible in them”, explains to Efe with satisfaction.

The advice this time was free, but in return he received the promise that both the Mexican Government and the Colombian one would facilitate the needed contacts and permissions to carry out his business in both countries.

“I have partners in 18 countries. United Kingdom, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Holland, Romania… On one occasion I organized a tribute on an island in Canada. They went to a forest with a sapling of a typical local conifer there. “It was a place of difficult access and they arrived in helicopter, and sometimes that is not easy to get the permits to do so”, he details.

The name of the company is Yatri, a word of hindi which means travel, road, trail, and occupies a market segment that is growing (in the community of Madrid is chosen the incineration in 34 per cent of deaths) and for reasons of lack of space in cemeteries or even for being a greener system (many of the urns carry seedlings from where a new tree is born) has growing acceptance.

Yatri was born last year in the simplest way: “one day I was walking along a beach in Santander with my wife and I saw how a small plane was pulling advertising out of the window. My father had died recently and then I wondered if there would be any service of scattering of ashes from the air. I started to work and I saw that there was no company registered around the world that carries out this activity, so I decided to fill that gap.”

And thus, from Santander to the pyramids of Egypt.

“It is the most expensive service that I provided, 42,000 Euros. It was a 42 year-old boy who lived in Granada, died of cancer and asked his parents and a friend for his ashes to be spread on the pyramids of Giza, in Egypt. The service included transportation in a private jet and once there, a special car, due to the situation of the country, from Cairo to Giza, where they scattered the ashes in the nearby dunes”, he says.

Yatri services have also come to the Alps, where a helicopter transported a person from Madrid so she spread the ashes of her deceased husband, a Swiss, by this mountain range that were walking when they met.

But Yatri is not just for the rich. For less than 400 Euros, it is available a tribute in the Bay of Biscay with a navigation up to five nautical miles on an eleven meters in length sailboat, with music and throwing flower petals at sea while the liturgy office.

From a Lady of Marbella which spread throughout the Mediterranean Sea the ashes of his dog, a chihuahua, in a helicopter, up to three children who rented a diving team to place an urn with the ashes of his father to 15 meters of low sea, in the area where he used to fish, Yatri meets its motto: “realize the last wish of its customers by land Sea and air”.

By the way, did you finally the Mexican Government use his idea to scatter the ashes of Gabriel García Márquez?

“They told me that they liked the idea a lot and it was very emotional to them. But Garcia Marquez family has always been very discreet and they wanted to carry the tribute with privacy. They didn’t want the place chosen for the final repose of Gabo to become place of pilgrimage”, he admits with a smile. We are left with the intrigue.