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/

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