How I moved to Madrid

23 November 2017 0 Comments Category: Just Landed, Robert Nieuwland, TNS Amigos


Part 1: The Road Trip

Immigrating is not as easy as it seems. I could have left this conclusion for last, but I’ll just drop the bomb right now to avoid – as far as I can with this article – that you commit the same mistake by thinking the contrary, as I did when I moved to Madrid over ten years ago.

During the Indian Summer of 2005, my 22nd summer, I left my apartment in Amsterdam’s neighborhood of “De Baarsjes” to start one of the best trips I can remember. The plan was to move to Madrid, having met my (back then) girlfriend 3 years earlier and falling madly in love.

Holland… for holidays

However, there was more than just love to my decision; I had always had the idea to not stay in Holland, where I’d been living since I was 7 years old. I had never made any plans to go anywhere in concrete, but I knew my future would be played out in a country that wasn’t as flat as a kitchen table. (Please don’t get me wrong… I love Holland, but only in the knowledge that I’ll be there temporarily.)

Madrid… love at first sight

The idea I wouldn’t stay in Holland for much longer after finishing my studies came from my love for outdoor sports, any of them. At the time I was mainly focused on rock climbing, but of course – in Holland – I was obliged to do this indoors, except for the occasional escape to the Ardennes, Germany or Fontainebleau. So when I first visited Nuria in Madrid (we met each other during the summer break of 2002) and saw the incredible mountains Madrid had at less than one hour driving, I was convinced.

Look out of the window

After racing through my Journalism studies I packed my Nissan Vanette, canoe strapped on top, to drive from Amsterdam to Madrid. On my way there, the same day I left, I passed by Tilburg to officially collect my Diploma for Journalism. When the teachers asked my what my plans were I felt a wide grin appearing on my face (I couldn’t control it). “You can look out the window to see for yourself”, I laughed. There stood the red Vanette with canoe strapped on top. “I’m on my way to Madrid.”

Goodbye to goodbyes

Next stop was Le Verdon (France) to do a skydiving course. A week later I continued my trip as a freshly initiated skydiver, ready to affront my new future in Spain. Imagine the feeling… After 3 endless years of painful goodbyes on airports; daily phone calls and chatting sessions far into the night… After three years of living in Holland but ‘being’ in Madrid, the time had come to say goodbye to the rain, goodbye to the boring flat landscape and, most important of all: goodbye to goodbyes!

A trip to remember

I enjoyed every bit of the rest of the trip more than anything; alone in my first car, making my first big step in life. I avoided all the toll roads I possibly could (a difficult task in France) to take it nice and easy and see more of the scenery. Strange enough, I remember it was almost as if I wanted the trip to last as long as possible. Like when, sometimes, the days just before a holiday are better than the holiday itself. Of course, its not like I minded when I finally arrived to Madrid, two days after leaving Le Verdon.


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