You should have a side gig. Tonxo Tours as a (paying) hobby

Years ago, I read an article by the great psychiatrist (who in 1981, New York City Mayor Edward Koch appointed Director of psychiatric and prison health services of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, the largest public general hospital system in the United States.*) Dr. Luis Rojas Marcos. At any rate, Rojas Marcos mentioned that in order to have a healthy, stable life you needed three equal pillars, briefly: a loving relationship, an enriching job, and a hobby that had nothing to do with the other two pillars.

Today I am going to focus on that third pillar, your hobby. In my case one of my hobbies is the tour company I set up years ago when I was trying to make ends meet in Spain. Fortunately, now I do have that enriching, enjoyable job, but I never stopped doing tours when I came to Spain. It is something I love doing: sharing my passion for the history, culture, food, etc. of Madrid.

As much as I love the countryside and the outdoors, I must confess I am a city boy. I have always been fascinated by the energy generated by cities. Some of my fondest memories are of walking around cities. Add to that the fact that I have been blessed to live in many different cities (Madrid, New York, London, Boston, Paris, Lausanne, Geneva, etc.) and you get a bit of a city geek.

Of course, it is quite different seeing a job from the outside to being on the inside. We all have an idea of what a certain job is like, only to realize that the day to day of that work is vastly different.

This is what happened to me during my first year as a tour guide. Yes, there is the excitement of meeting and working with different people every time and with sharing your passion for the city. The rest is very much like any old job. There is a lot of psychology and salesmanship involved in getting visitors on board with your tour. There is also a small percentage of customers that are not satisfied and nothing you do is going to make them change their minds.

As you do more and more tours the city shares more and more secrets. The night before a tour, you review the itinerary and your notes and books. Invariably, you learn something new that you can incorporate into the tour. It is a very enriching. I also enjoy questions and requests from the customers.

This Christmas break I had a chance to do a few tours. One with a French family group, another with my old university the European School of Economics where we combine a tour with orientation teambuilding activities, I also did a couple of Prado Museum tours, although big chunks of the museum where closed due to lack of staff due to Covid.

In conclusion, if you don’t already have one, you should find a hobby that you love, and if it leaves you some green, even better!!

ESE did a great Instagram video of the tour which you can see here:

*From his website https://luisrojasmarcos.com/biography/

Ad Reinhardt, the victory of minimalism

One of the wonderful things of being in Madrid is that many interesting places are walking distance from home. If they are a bit farther away, I can always jump on a rental scooter, on a little motorbike, or a bicycle, if it’s harsh weather I can take public transportation like buses or metro. In a worst-case scenario, I can rent a car per hours. My dinosaur Land Rover cannot be legally parked downtown.

Recently I walked to the Fundación Juan March, which I have talked about before in this blog to see a great exhibit on Ad Reinhardt, a groundbreaking abstract American painter. The exhibit was split into two distinct areas: an area of his paintings showing his evolution into the purest minimalism (see the photo of the red painting) where a monochromatic canvas has only the most subtle color variations, mesmerizing!

The other part covers Reinhardt’s career as an illustrator, teacher, activist, and designer.

He also coined some evident but necessary phrases like

Art is Art. Everything else is everything else

Ad Reindhardt

or

Art is too serious to be taken seriously

Ad Reindhardt

If you get a chance to see the exhibit in Madrid, go now. If Madrid is not an option go check out his paintings at the Museum Folkwang Essen, SFMOMA in San Francisco, and of course the New York MOMA and the Met.

Happy New Year! San Silvestre Vallecana, fitness and wellness

Happy New Year to all my wonderful readers and followers!

The San Silvestre was only ran by pros in 2020 due to Covid. This year the popular race was back on, and I ran it again!

For those of you who are new to my blog or to the San Silvestre, it is a 10 km race held on New Year’s Eve through all of downtown Madrid. It starts at Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu Stadium and ends at Rayo Vallecano Stadium. This was my fourth running, and I did my best time yet 1:02, not bad for an old man.

The race, at least the Popular race is a fun run with great atmosphere, plenty of costumes and jokes, and although this year there were far fewer runners and spectators, it was still fun.

The San Silvestre is usually my only competitive race of the year, I usually cannot be bothered to get up early for a race. But this one is in the evening, so I have no problem!

Running is only part of my fitness and wellness routine. I normally do strength training every other day and cardio on the other day. Cardio ideally is running -in Boynton Beach I am privileged enough to be able to actually run on the beach, as energy zapping as it is, and in Madrid I have the Retiro Park close enough to run there. If the weather does not allow or it is dark, I do static bike, or elliptical, or treadmill, or God-forbid Ergo machine (rowing).

But just as important as moving your body there are other, just as key factors to keep in mind: eating healthy, mindfulness / meditation, rest, and sleep. I try to keep all aspects of my wellbeing in balance and will continue to try to do so in 2022. You should as well! Let me know any questions in the comments below. Let’s get going in 2022!!