This is not a story like the one who got tired of everything and set up a little bar in Brazil. He doesn’t come from his side either, he went to live in Europe and in one day he earns what he earns here in three months. The story of Nacho Sánchez Sorondo does not have the epic of a hero and, although it is very inspiring –because resurrections have their morbidity–, it is also quite earthy. He is just a man who, stepping on 30, stays without a job, without a partner and returns to live in the house of his parentswith tremendous depression. That after crying for nine (literal) months, she becomes obsessed with running an Ironman triathlon and, with that hook, gets out of bed. That, once recovered, he travels alone on a motorcycle around the country for two years, writes a book, uploads a thousand videos of his adventures to Instagram and makes a movie called Argentina without shortcuts. The film is presented at the Banff Film Festival World Tour, the world’s popular adventure film festival, this August 29, 30 and September 5 at the Teatro Coliseo.
“It came in a very spicy one, with many failures,” remembers Sánchez Sorondo, 38, better known on networks as @nachosaso. At that time, ten years ago, he had a transport company with seven vans on the street. He seemed to be doing well, but he was skidding inside. “I was not professionally prepared and the ticket had gone to my head. When you don’t have foundations and you think you take the world ahead, the world ends up slapping you”, he says today, sitting in a Colegiales bar. He doesn’t have the look of an Ironman: no muscles or traces of ravioli abs under the shirt. He’s wearing a gray v-neck sweater, he looks good-natured and you can guess the anxiety of someone waiting for the moment to run away again, wherever it may be.
Ten years ago, between bounced checks and a thousand fires that he could not put out, Nacho ended up lowering the blind and returned to the place he had sworn he would never return to: his mom’s house (this already looks like a tango). To continue threading misfortunes, he separated from the girlfriend he was going to marry and felt completely alone in the world.
The protagonist of this story swears that he spent almost a year crying -poor mother-, until a friend threw him the crazy idea of the Ironman, a test of almost 4 kilometers of swimming in the open sea, 180 kilometers of cycling in ascents and descents, and 42 kilometers running, in a time limit of 17 hours. The plan was absurd wherever you look at it, more for someone who was in the circle going from bed to living room for nine months. But, for some reason that his psychoanalyst will have known how to unravel, the Iron Man project rescued Nacho from her valley of tears.
To begin with, he had never learned to swim; and, when she wanted to jog three blocks (yes, three), she understood the joke of not being able to run or the bus. But the progression was like this: she quit smoking, ran three blocks first, then six, and soon she was training four hours a day, with a personal trainer and nutritionist. He had exactly one year of preparation for the Iron Man (in general these races are prepared with much more time), on November 29, 2015, in Cozumel, Mexico.
To pay for expenses, he began to work as a waiter, just the one who boasted of having set up several companies. But he didn’t care. Rocky IV training in the snow of Siberia was a bean next to the goal that this boy had set for himself. But, more than the race itself, the important thing was the previous path. “Sport connected me with incredible values: perseverance, discipline, humility, patience, passion for what you undertake,” he lists. And he just ran it: it took about 13 hours. From that moment on, his life took a turn. As Tom Petty said in that song: “The sky was open wide.”
Returning to Buenos Aires after graduating, he reinserted himself into the labor market and worked for four years in a sustainable energy company, but his mind was elsewhere. He could hardly, he signed up for the adventure that they put forward, from a marathon to the ascent to Lanín. There was no going back. “I remember that my brothers told me don’t be stupid, that it cost you so much,” he says. But what he wanted was not to reinsert himself, quite the opposite: to hit the road, give the system a break, travel, not miss anything out there.
In 2018 he sold everything he had to dedicate himself to audiovisual communication. He didn’t know anything about documentaries or video editing and didn’t have any equipment, but he started watching tutorials on youtube and with that it started. “No one gave a penny for me. And at that time they were right: I am not a photographer or a journalist or an editor. I am daring and I wanted to encourage myself to get to know the country and be able to tell it in my own way”, he affirms.
That same year he got on a motorcycle bound for Córdoba and continued to Catamarca, Tucumán, Salta, Jujuy and La Quiaca. He traveled in a tent and, practically, with what he was wearing. “If I had traveled by car and slept in hotels, I wouldn’t have known a quarter of what I discovered,” he explains. After touring the North, he returned to Buenos Aires and changed motorcycles –thanks to the contribution of a sponsor– to head south this time, until reaching Tierra del Fuego. “He was making videos and showing everything on the networks (in 2018 he had only 500 followers on Instagram and today he has almost 66,000). I wanted to make the best documentary ever made about Argentina, but the most important thing was realizing that I had to tell the stories of the people of each place”, he maintains. And that revelation she had when she met Lorenza.
Hidden stories that inspire
Lorenza’s story is incredible. She is a woman over 90 years old who lives alone in an adobe ranch, without water or electricity, in the middle of the Cordillera (in Catamarca). Getting to her house requires a very arduous journey, which can only be done on horseback or by mule. Nacho traveled with relatives of Lorenza, who also live in the mountains and accompanied him on the journey. And he spent several days living with her.
“When I ran into Lorenza I truly understood my purpose: to tell hidden stories of people, stories that inspirethat cross the screen, that reach the heart and generate a change. I am passionate about testimonials and Lorenza was the first, the beacon that marked the way forward”, he explains.
During 2018 and 2019 Nacho was on top of the bike and stopped in 2020 with the pandemic. Instead of feeling caged, he used the lockdown to network. Through LinkedIn they contacted him, through a Disney executive, to have a zoom with those responsible for the Nat Geo TV channel. “They asked me for two episodes that I had edited of my travels and I sent them 15. They ended up buying me five“, bill. In his portfolio today he has several hits: in addition to the series for National Geographic, he published the photographic book Argentina without shortcuts and made the film of the same name that premiered at the Banff Film Festival World Tour, the adventure film meeting whose 2022 tour began in Bariloche, passed through San Martín de los Andes and reached the Coliseum (then it will continue through Mendoza in October to end in November in El Calafate). To the film about his trip, Sánchez Sorondo added the direction and editing of a documentary entitled Everest, which narrates Facundo Arana’s ascent to the highest mountain in the world.
With the 2020 confinement, Nacho also regained access to the benefits of the big city, starting with hot water. “It was two years of sleeping in a tent. I remember that in Tierra del Fuego I got up at three in the morning to heat water and put it in the sleeping bag; like this, during each one of the thirty nights that I spent there”, he recalls, and looks at his hands. “I was seasoned, now I have princess hands,” he laughs.
question of vocation
After the 2020 stoppage, Nacho hit the road to complete the second part of his trip, along the Argentine coast, from Misiones to Corrientes, Santiago del Estero, Chaco and Formosa. There he was dazzled by the Iberá Wetlands (“it is the Africa of Argentina”), he filmed stories of beautiful characters –like that of Keneke, the Mencho from Corrientes– and, at a barbecue to which he was invited in Corrientes, met the woman he married eight months later.
Currently, he is involved in several projects, including a documentary on the history of the horse in Argentina. Also, he donned the driver’s suit on the show. Crazy x Storyon the platform of History Channel. And, when he can, he gives vocational talks in schools. One of the messages that comes down is that “you have to face the fearsthat there is nothing behind them”. And that “everything can be done, but with will.” “Finding my vocation is a gift that few have: that changed my life and made me know myself, listening to people and sharing those stories so that others learn,” he reveals.
What is coming is a new trip at the end of the year. plan to leave four months to india with his wife, although the itinerary is not yet clear. It could also be Africa, but it is not confirmed either. What he does know is that no matter where he goes, everything he does will continue to be without shortcuts.