Spotlight on Susan Cordery

by Susannah Grant posted on 29 September 2019

Today the Spotlight falls on inveterate traveler, Susan Cordery who
co-founded the INC in 1989 and whose unflagging energy and inspiration has steered the Club to being the vibrant go-to hub for unique cultural events and meaningful international relationships that it is 31 years later.

Having lived in Madrid on and off since 1987, how do you think this city changed you?

It showed me that one can call more than one place “home”.

Susan with her inspirational aunt

You have moved house 22 times and described yourself as someone who does “tourism with furniture” – how did you get the travel bug in the first place?

As a child I had a great aunt who travelled the world every summer and returned with photos, stories and gifts from exotic and far flung places.  I was enthralled and determined to do the same.  At 13 my best friend and I began collecting travel brochures and planning trips!  

Which are the places that have made the biggest impact on you today and why?

Mexico City was our first move abroad and my first child was born there. I fell in love with the indigenous cultures, artwork, architecture and did a course at the museum of anthropology which was fascinating. It is also where I first came across the INC of Mexico City which led to the inspiration for starting one in Madrid because it was so helpful and so much fun.   

Madrid allowed me the opportunity to create an international club that has helped so many people over the years which has been an amazing and gratifying experience.

Susan in Mexico
Susan in Mexico

How about Argentina?

Well, living in Buenos Aires taught me how to drive like a maniac, full speed, on a 5-lane road with no lines marking the lanes!

Today newcomers and returnees to Madrid can connect with each other via social media, what role do you think does a physically present club like INC have today?

Call me old-fashioned but I think that human contact is far more important for well-being than electronic contact. What social media provides is the possibility to find that human contact more easily through organisations such as the INC.

Susan at the Feria de Sevilla in 1992
Susan at the Feria de Sevilla in 1992

What is your secret Madrid? 

I don’t really have a secret Madrid as such. However, I do enjoy trying new restaurants since I love the food and wine of Spain and Madrid has such a dynamic food and wine scene to explore!

Has anything surprised you about Spain and its people?

One thing that surprised me about Spain is the extent to which the people, food and customs differ from one another in the various regions up and down the country.

What Spanish customs have your family absorbed into your own family life?

Eating our main meal at midday is probably the main one.

Susan with Felicia in 1993
Susan with Felicia in 1993

What has the INC meant to you in your life?

The INC has played a huge role in my life since it has been like another child in some ways. Something to be enormously proud of, something to try to guide without tyranny, something that has been there for me every time I’ve come back to Madrid..

If you could wave a magic wand what would you do next in your life?

Oh, I don’t know, maybe own and run a bed and breakfast in the French countryside?

Susannah with INC friends in 1990-2019
Susannah with INC friends in 1990-2019
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