We’re lucky enough to call Mick and Wilma our friends and we always look forward to pedaling together in Girona as well as soaking up its rich cycling culture. Not only are they incredible humans and cyclists, they also have a story worth sharing.
Mick and Wilma, owners of Equipe guesthouse in Girona, are living large in ways many of us are still dreaming about. For us adventurers out there, the stress of our city lives leaves us wondering and oftentimes exploring other life paths. Sure, we check out real estate in foreign lands, look into visa options, and even start to save up, yet making the jump to really doing it seems far away. We feel attached to people, place, economic stability, the familiar and society seems to encourage us to be grateful for our conventional capitalist lives; however, weekend pedaling escapes and cycling vacations leave us longing for more time to explore new places on our bikes.
After reading the short About on their website, I was giddy to hear their voices and learn about how they made the move and the struggles along the way. Mick and Wilma radiate happiness that’s felt even through a phone call. As they answer my questions, interrupting each other out of excitement, adding on important details their partner accidentally omitted, or sharing a laugh, you can’t help but imagine them side by side, beaming in their sunny home as they reminisce about their journey.
For Mick and Wilma, their home in Rotterdam meant good jobs, friends and family, and awful weather. They both worked tolling jobs, Mick at Vodafone and and Wilma at a dental clinic, and found the weather not only physically detrimental but also wearing on their general mood. “As a teenager on family vacation in Cadiz, Spain, my first impression was how happy people were in Spain,” Wilma says. This first impression would later become the goal for their project in Girona: making sure that people leave their guesthouse happier than when they arrived.
In only a year's time, Mick and Wilma visited Girona for the first time, bought the house which would become Equipe and made the move. Despite their clear desires and paired ambition, their journey was rife with road blocks, humor, and distance. For 15 months, Mick flew between Rotterdam and Girona maintaining his job at Vodafone as Wilma tackled Equipe’s renovation. While Mick balanced two worlds and a big transition, Wilma took charge of planning and carrying out all of the projects related to the guest house. As a woman both knowledgeable and experienced when it comes to home restoration, she was met by contractors and construction workers with confusion and lack of respect. With her grand vision and eye for detail, she took on a lot of work herself. Wilma and Mick longed to be under the same roof, but shared a dream that was worth struggling for: a cyclist getaway with five rooms, a lovely garden, and a downstairs home just for them.
During the quarantine period, they continued to carry out projects around the house and in the garden that’s filled with herbs, succulents, and even a lemon tree. They’ve been riding and taking walks in the lush nature right outside their door. As Spain opens up to tourists, they’re dying to get to host new guests and take them on local adventures. “It’s totally exhausting, but we also really love it,” they both agree. Here at NDLSS, I know we’re craving gravel adventures with Mick that end with poolside beer, great conversation, and Wilma’s warm smile.