How I moved to Madrid

31 May 2016 0 Comments Category: blog, Living in Spain, Robert Nieuwland, TNS Amigos

Part 2: No U-turns Allowed

Looking back and shortly said: starting my new life in Madrid was a great experience. Exciting, as it generally is when you get the chance to start something from scratch.

So… I had to start somewhere. After a couple of months of searching I got a job in, what I considered (and still consider) to be, the main and best mountain sports shop in Madrid, “El Rincón de la Montaña”. (Although nowadays it’s called “Outdoor Sin Limite”.)

Pedals and Jumps

However it was nice at first, being at least a shop within my interest area, I quickly ended up bored with the working days and hours, having to work weekends as well. So about half a year later I was racing the streets on my bike, as a bike messenger at “Trébol”. I had spoken to them whilst still looking for work and they called me to fill up for someone who left.

I’d done this for over a year in Amsterdam and it’s one of the jobs I’ve enjoyed the most. But then, another option I had started trying initially worked out: working at the skydive center, Skydive Madrid, in Ocaña (Toledo). Now that was something else! I got to work at the manifest which is basically the miniature version of an airport’s air control tower, specifically for skydiving.

It was absolutely great! I got the chance to completely soak myself in the sport, getting a total of around 300 jumps, a lot of great friends and two unforgettable years of work.

Not completely ‘it’…

Of course, I had studied Journalism and hadn’t stopped writing, with the ambition of becoming a freelance journalist. In the end, I had invested four years precisely for that. So when I got the chance I took it by starting a job at a Dutch newspaper based in Altea (Alicante), “Hallo Weekblad”. I translated and wrote a large part of the newspaper’s weekly content.

In the following years I obviously started expanding the collaborations and I ended up making a decent living as a freelance journalist and translator. But… Once I reached that point, I discovered that this way of making a living just wasn’t completely ‘it’. And the one day, reading an article in one of the Dutch magazines I wrote for (Salt), I came across something called “sight running” or “running tours”.

Almost Completely ‘it’…

The combination of running and tourism that you get with these running tours seemed perfect to offer in Madrid. I decided to give it a try – alongside my writing work – and little by little it started to look like something that would be able to work. After the first year I decided to dedicate myself to nourishing the running tours project for it to become a functioning company.

Quickly I noticed the potential of offering running services in the mountains, because trail running started to be (and still is) a sport with exponential growth. So I starting offering race trips, training weekends and day trips to go trail running in Madrid’s National Park.

Completely ‘it’!

I had always played with the idea to have a company that offered all of the outdoor activities that you can do in the Sierra de Guadarrama and other areas of Madrid. So two years after having done my first running tour I started Madrid Outdoor Sports.

Paragliding, hiking, climbing, horse riding, mountain biking or cycling, kayaking and of course trail running and skydiving… This and more is all combinable with the urban attractions that a city as Madrid offers. This is what makes Madrid unique.

There’s still a long way to go for me to consider I’ve accomplished my ambition, but I can say very gladly say that the development of the project, five years after having started, is more than positive. I’ve gone from working alone to working together with three to four interns. I used to work at home and now we’re in our own office/shop within Madrid’s outdoor sports area “El Rastro” (La Latina), 200 meters from where I started my first job, more than ten years ago.

So I guess I’ll hang around for now.

No U-turns Allowed

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