When things don’t go according to plan on Gran Canaria

3 June 2016 0 Comments Category: blog, Living in Spain, Matthew Hirtes, TNS Amigos

When I first moved to Gran Canaria, I did so as a carer. Looking after my then youngest son Alex as he received weekly treatment for his childhood leukaemia. But then when after a year of isolation from other children, beach excluded, he was given the all clear to start nursery; I returned to the world of paid employment.

In the UK, I’d been a football journalist which included a stint as the deputy editor of the Official Chelsea FC Magazine. Despite (or maybe even because of) regular Spanish lessons with a Catalan actress in north London, my language skills were not sufficient to find a similar role over here. And even when they developed, I found out that what I’d receive for an article over here would be about 10 times less than I used to earn in Britain.
Still, I was delighted to be invited for an interview for the job of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria correspondent with the island’s then only English-language newspaper. Impressed with my CV, they offered me the job on the spot. My delight turned to shock when they told me  I’d receive 30 Euros an article whether I wrote 400 or 800 words.

I used this setback to my advantage and it actually helped me further develop my craft as a writer. As I learnt to as economical with my word count as they were with their pay. To the extent, that I found myself hitting 400 words and finding my article had reached a natural conclusion.

Then an expat publishing house asked me to write a part-travel, part-relocation guide. That guide spawned a blog. And I found a new calling as a travel writer.

Nowadays, I’m the only broadsheet journalist on the island. My main employment is as Telegraph Travel hotel reviewer. Having visited around 40 hotels on Gran Canaria, my summer holiday will be a working one as I’m off to review hotels on neighbouring Fuerteventura.


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