from Tofino with ūüíô

this is going to be a short one. A must do trip for anyone visiting BC. Tofino is a small coastal town surrounded by empowering mountains and glorious beaches.¬†I don’t feel the need to write much here, the video says it all.

How to get there:

Across the water: https://www.bcferries.com

Connections from Vancouver: http://bcfconnector.com

From Vancouver to Whistler / Whistler to Vancouver: https://epicrides.ca

Back on land: Tofino bus operates the major routes on the island: https://tofinobus.com

Where to eat & drink:

Morning breakfast: Common Loaf Bake Shop https://goo.gl/maps/8r5ZrUmZTAK2

Pizza: https://www.basicgoodnesspizzeria.com

Sushi: http://toughcity.com

Drinks: https://www.shedtofino.com

Local Brewer: http://tofinobrewingco.com

Cocktails: http://www.wolfinthefog.com

Fresh fish:

yes this deserves its own category!!

http://www.himwitsa.com

http://www.trilogyfish.net/site/about_us.html

https://www.facebook.com/FishStoreNoMoreOysterBar

Top Tip:¬†Looking for something to take home? This¬†cool little shop has a variety of works from locally designed jewelry, ceramics, fine art, soaps and candles. The jewelry especially can’t help but take you back to the ocean, no matter how near or far you may eventually be: ¬†http://www.christyfeaver.com

Top surf spots:

I’ll let you find your own way… ūüėČ

working at the Whistler Blackcomb Coca Cola Tube Park

If you are looking for a first season outdoor job with the mountain, but are looking for something a little more dynamic than being a Liftie then the Tube Park could well be the place for you!

Be in no doubt this is a 100% team based work environment so if you prefer to work solo, muck around and slack off then move on now. The park’s function, guest safety and your fellow colleagues sanity rely on everyone pulling together and working as a unit through sun, rain, cold and those deep pow days where all we ALL want to be is on the mountain. Start and maintain this work ethic through the season and you’ll find this is a great place to work for your first season in Whistler!

Training typically starts around late November, doors open early December. Full on-site training is given, including cash desk and systems operations if you so wish. A basic first aid medical course is also provided and paid for by the mountain. Accidents will happen so get yourself prepared and train up. In fact I would recommend taking up the opportunity to train up on all that is offered to you.

Wages are currently set at $13 an hour, the rate for the 2018/2019 season could well be higher. Expect to work 4 days a week, averaging 30-40 hours a week. Over the season I averaged 37 hours (inc sick days & days off). Work days are long and physical, staff are in 1 to 2 hours before opening (11 am weekdays – 10 am weekends) to set up the park and 1 hour after closing (6 pm) so typically expect to work 10 hr days. The plus side, the concept of a 2 day weekend is long gone – hell yeah!

The work is physical, during set up and pack down there is a lot of lifting, pushing, pulling and of course snow shovelling etc. Just walking around up and down a hill in snow is in itself tiring. The fun factor for the customers comes naturally from the tubing of which tubes can be pulled together in groups of 4 depending on lane conditions. Expect to have to give ‘that extra push’ or ‘spin’ if the customer so desires. After one or so¬†hours as a Starter this work is physically exhausting. I am fit and after 1-2 hours of giving the full customer experience I was dead – hungry dead hungry! Good news is that if the team is working together, breaks and rotations from station to station around the park should happen smoothly every hour or so, you will get to rest and no, no need to join a gym if you work here! I got lean fast!!

Top Tip: buy the best outdoor work boots and gloves you can afford, your toes and fingers will love you for it.

With the hard work comes the perks (core perks mentioned here). Pierre Ringuette is a great boss, put the work in, support him and your team and you’ll get your pay back. Hot chocolate, tea, coffee, oranges, apples, hand and foot warmers for days! They are just the day to day basics, if you are lucky you may well even be treated to a day of Fresh Tracks – a must Whistler experience!

Last and not least the fun factor. I’ll stick my neck out and say that the majority of the young people coming to Whistler for a ski season are not coming to work essentially. They are coming to get away from it all, have fun and shred the mountain. That’s fine, we all want that, but if your lazy hungover ass starts impacting on the day of your other most probably also tiered hungover cold colleagues then think on. Man up, battle on and help each other out. Respect your team, work as a unit and you’ll have a great time pulling moves to the Tube Park radio, throwing snow balls, creating ‘snow art’¬†or going for after work beers down in the village…and the best part of all…seeing customer faces light up from fear and trepidation to bursts of laughter and joy after a ripping a tube down the hill – smiles for days that skip no generation. This video and the smile on the child’s face at the end sums it up perfectly ūüôā #happydays Coco Cola Tube Park team 2017/2018 thanks guys ūüôŹ

how to get a ski season job in Whistler

ok I am going right off the bat with this one. For the most part if you do not already live in Whistler/North America you are going to have to commit big for this trip even before leaving the comfort of your own couch. Accept that now or look elsewhere. If you are still reading let’s start to look at the ‘how’.

I am going to focus this post mostly as a hints and tips guide for those not already living in Whistler, i.e. those most in need. Hopefully this goes some way to point you in a few right directions and helps eliminate some of the minefield of questions you probably have buzzing around your head.

Let’s kick off. ¬†You essentially have two early choices to make.

1. Working for the Mountain, Whistler Blackcomb (WB)

By working for the mountain (now owned by Vail Resorts) you will enter yourself into the volume jobs market. Lift Operations, Tube Park, Parking, Maintenance, Ski School, Snow School, Guest Services, Retail, Food and Beverage. Apply early enough and you are pretty much guaranteed a job of some kind (base rate for 2018/2019 $13/hr*), staff accommodation (2017/2018 season $12.65** a night) an Unlimited Ski Pass worth $1,289 and access to a wide range of various free or heavily discounted mountain events and activities. I can only say that working for the mountain is great for your first season! The support team at HR (The Cabin) is second to non as are the team at Staff Accommodation ¬†at Glacier Lane. The pay is well under par, but balance that out with the subsidised staff accommodation, the unlimited lift pass, the range of events, competitions, discounted meals and activities etc. etc. it’s a win! The list is almost endless, you will get out as much as you put in so if you choose to go this route max it and get involved as much as you can.

WB jobs list: https://jobs.vailresortscareers.com/whistler/go/Whistler-Blackcomb-Jobs/3521600/

Top Tip:¬†research all the different jobs available, think about what brings you joy, in-door or out-door and imagine doing it for 5 months straight 4-5 days a week, 35-42 hrs per week. That should help bring it down to a short list. Then apply the ‘zero f**cks’ given factor ” just get my ass here” and you’ll be down.

2. Working for a private company

The winter jobs in this catagory essentially include all things retail, food and beverage and winter sport tourism. Wages are most certainly better (+$16/hr), but you have a zero chance of getting staff accommodation, although some companies will provide you with a ski pass or at least a discounted one. Working as a server in the bars and restaurants will certainly earn you the most dollar, tips can be crazy especially for the girls, but consider why are you coming here? Is it for the money or something else. For me at least, making a wod of cash was never a focus point.

Job groups:

  1. http://www.whistler-jobs.com
  2. https://ca.indeed.com
  3. https://whistler.craigslist.ca
  4. https://www.facebook.com/groups/312798435541535/
  5. https://www.facebook.com/groups/813144602037093/

Ski pass info: https://www.whistlerblackcomb.com/plan-your-trip/lift-access/passes/unlimited-season-pass.aspx

So here comes the chicken or the egg part. How to apply for the job

You can apply to options 1 and 2 almost certainly directly. However most if not all will require a face to face interview and sorry no, video conference is still not widely accepted. If you are living in Europe or Australia for example chances are that hoping over for a quick chat is out of the question. For North America various job fairs are set up across various cities for direct face to face with WB staff which help somewhat. However the rest of you are left up shit creek without a paddle.

WB Partners Programme

The way the mountain get around not having to do face to face interviews for the hundreds of positions available across the mountain and the headache of coordinating that whole interview and accommodation process is by using agencies. Each agency or ‘partner’ typically looks after a particular area.

Top Tip: if you go down the 3rd party route apply early, I mean very early.  February, March, April latests.  These positions fill up fast!

Working Holiday Club

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The Working Holiday Club is looking after most of the high volume jobs, i.e. Lift Operations, Tube Park, Parking, Retail and Food & Beverage. Because the volume is so great the vetting process is pretty chillax here and their back end service is pretty much bare bone essentials.  A ticket in is around $2,250*.

Top Tip:¬†Don’t be fooled by the name. Working for a 5 star resort is no holiday, do not come here with the mind set to doss around on the job. Standards are high and tolerance levels low. ¬†The ‘holiday’ part comes from the lifestyle you can lead, being surrounded by the magic of the mountains, the abundance of terrain, epic pow days, the apr√®s (questionable vs. Europe) and the night life (pretty decent!). There is a big chunk of party life here for sure, but work is work, just like any other.

Oyster Worldwide

oyster-logo

Oyster’s core is essentially about taking care of the Whistler Kids ski school programme. As a result they have a more in-depth vetting processes. A package including getting your level 1 ski instructors course, one nights stay in a Vancouver hostel, transfer to Whistler, a hoodie, a group meal once a month and to be fair an excellent support network UK and local i.e. local rep Tory, should you ever need advice or additional support. Tory is in fact A1 gold, her alone is almost worth the eye watering¬†$8,350* fee. Oyster also have other more basic job roles available including Whistler Kids kitchen staff, hotel work or new for the 2018/2019 season Tube Park, which are all available for around ca. $4,500*.

Alltracks

Alltracks offer a similar program as Oyster, but are more orientated towards the adult/older kids ski school programmes. Expect to pay in the region of $7,800*.

Full list of WB Partners: https://jobs.vailresortscareers.com/whistler/content/Whistler-Blackcomb-Hiring-Events/?locale=en_US

So there you have it. If you live outside of Whistler you essentially have to go through these agencies to work for the mountain. Aside from the guaranteed job (provided you don’t majorly screw up the telephone and face to face interviews) is the guaranteed staff accommodation at an unbeatable rate, membership straight into the mountain community and a lift pass worth $1,289*. These companies are affiliated¬†partners of the WB-Vail cooperation, but the fact that is hard to dispute is that aside from the Working Holiday Club which offer a bare bone service, costs-in are high!

Top Tip: Try and get over the cost aspect as soon as you can, work some extra shifts, accept it and make your peace, come get on a plane and come have the time of your life!

There is always more than one way to skin a cat – another way – coming over early

Sure a ‘hop’ over could be an option (return flights around $1,200 from the EU or AU), but you would have to get your accommodation sorted first. Hotels (starting at ca. $500 a week, most at $1,000) and Airbnb is expensive, there are 3 Hostel options, but do not expect to pay the ‚ā¨12-22 euro a night you can get in Europe inc.breakfast. Hostel prices start at around $35-$55 a night excl.breakfast. If coming over in October/November when most of the local job fairs*** are on and paying for short-stay hostels until season starts (generally mid/late November) and hope that you get a slot in staff accommodation is not viable you could look at going for a more mid-term plan and going all out for a season in private accommodation. Rents in shared accommodation generally float around the $750-1,000+ area. However this makes no sense if you are looking for a staff accommodation job and I guess most land lords will have little interest in taking you in for 1 or 2 months (but you never know Sept-Oct is low season).

Hostels:

  1. Whistler Lodge Hostel: https://goo.gl/maps/kvecaHyjxAD2
  2. Alpine Lodge Hostel: https://goo.gl/maps/PLFQ3o19Vi82
  3. Southside Lodge Hostel: https://goo.gl/maps/tFDt1uEKeTF2

Private rentals:

  1. https://whistler.craigslist.ca
  2. https://www.piquenewsmagazine.com
  3. https://www.facebook.com/groups/680662395408425/
  4. https://www.facebook.com/groups/105948296221882/

*all prices in $CAD at the time of print (March 2018). [GBP to CAD @1.8] [CAD to GBP @0.55] [CAD to Euro @0.63] [CAD to AUD @1]

**to be updated once staff 2018/2019 accommodation rates are released

***please cross check the dates


If you have useful comments, hints and tips for newbies to Whistler please leave in the comments section below – thank you ūüôā

working on a horse ranch

Before I made my way up into the mountains I wanted to experience a different side of Canadian life. I was informed about¬†workaway.info¬†on a surf trip in Spain in 2016 from a fellow workaway who was looking after the hostel there. It works a little something like this: After you’ve payed your $34 USD a year you get access to a global community of people who are looking for workers. The agreement is they offer you food and board and they get the benefit of whatever skills you have to offer – done deal. You can do this pretty much anywhere in the world. This could range from building work on someones house, looking after their kids to working on a farm, a hostel, a yoga camp, a dog rescue centre or in my case a Horse Ranch.

I was lucky enough through my cousins to have grown up spending many of my summers at riding schools in the UK. Mucking out stables, grooming horses and playing around in the hay in exchange for the odd free riding lesson.

That stayed with me into my teens, but drifted away the older I got. However through my adult years and whenever I got the chance (usually holidays) I took the chance to go riding.

Before I left the UK in 2017 I went back to one of my local riding stables and volunteered as a children’s riding assistant for a couple months to brush up on my very rusty horse handling & riding skills.

Working on a horse ranch combined many of the key elements which I identify as my ‘personal key success factors’ (not sure how to word that articulately without sounding too weird, ok now it already sounds weird, but I guess I could just say ‘happy’). Namely being outdoors in nature, being with animals and working with my hands. In this case not only was I working with the horses, I was also landscape gardening and helping build new horse stables with a team of other workaways/paid staff/contractors.

Normally hosts are after workers who will stay for a month or longer. I got lucky and was accepted for 2 weeks @bark2ranch. For me a perfect length of time to get a different angle on Canada and get back to some childhood roots before starting work up in the mountains.


have you used workaway.info before. Do you have any tips or advice for others?

“what inspired you to leave it all?”

It was in September 2014 while planning a trip to Malta that my sister convinced me that it was not at all dorky and totally ok to be billy no-mates and to travel alone. Previously, ‘travel holidays’ for me had always been in big groups or as a twosome. It didn’t take long for my concerns to evaporate as I experienced hostel life, not for the first time, but for the first time on my own. I played safe and went for a hostel which could have just as well have been an upmarket B&B. It had a chique boutique style about it, comfortable beds and monsoon shower wet rooms along with a superb kitchen and dinning area which soon became our shared communal hang out. At 22 Euros a night I was more than happy. It didn’t take long to make friends, we cooked, drank, danced and explored the island mostly together. Never did I feel like I was alone and the best bit, I met some great people who I am still in regular contact with to this day.

Malta September 2014: www.twopillowsmalta.com

The next year in May 2015 I made a longer trip with my good friend Matt to Peru. 3 weeks following the Inca trails and learning about the accent Inca cultures in an old overland truck filled with 18 people. Complete strangers from all over the world in a spectrum of different age groups, life stages and financial backgrounds. This trip and the people I met most of all out of all trips inspired me the most that world travel could be a thing for me.

Peru May 2015 Dragoman Overland Tours: www.dragoman.com

But was long term travel really for me? It was something I had always thought about, I talked about it many times, but was it something I could really do? Did I have the courage to jack it all in, change my career and lifestyle and say farewell to all my comfort zones. At this time I was 35, I wasn’t yet totally convinced and besides I had moved to Germany in 2012 and I was loving my new life there.

However world travel stayed forever on my mind. With each following trip I was reawoken with that sudden eyes wide open feeling one gets as soon as they step off an airplane. In 2016 I put myself out there in different countries from Turkey to Spain, these little trips were always on my own, mixed in with other trips in the year with friends.

Antalya Turkey May 2016: www.hostelworld.com/hosteldetails.php/Role-Street/Antalya/100342

El Palmar Spain October 2016: http://mambobeachhousecom.ipage.com

After spending 5 years living in Germany and building my career to a level where I wasn’t quite sure where to take it next I booked one last trip. A surf and yoga retreat on the temperate West coast of Portugal. In part it is thanks to my two inspirational hosts and yoga teachers @Cecilie¬†and @Carmen who I hold in dearest regard that I was able to make my final and last decision. Here life was simple. ¬†It was focussed on health, on wellbeing, understanding and togetherness. We went surfing and practiced yoga every day. Sometimes we’d just sit and talk, other days we’d run along the beaches, through the forests and along the cliffs, we’d swim, sunbathe, eat, drink, sing at the top of our lungs and dance into the next day. We spoke of our pasts, of heartaches gone and of our dreams of the future. Stories of travel were always there, but more importantly for me stories of a more simple life began to dominate.

The theme soon started to draw its own conclusion, with each trip I was awakened, meeting inspiring people with their own stories to tell. I became like a sponge, soaking up energy from experiences, my surroundings, taking note of the emotions those experiences generated and the respect for the people I met along the way. These people, these places and the energy it created were my inspiration to trigger change.

Baleal Portugal April 2017: www.balilihouse.com

After my time in Baleal I returned to Germany and handed in my 3 months notice the next day. That part wasn’t easy, it was an emotional day, both for myself and my boss who I respected highly. It had taken many experiences and many encounters to come this far, however my decision was now made, I was committed to see it through despite persuasions of reconsideration. I was ready, it was time to take the next step, to walk the walk and start a new story, not just another trip, but to make a life change. A new journey was about to begin…

Top Tip: spend some time to think about what brings you joy into your life and then action it!


Have you had a trigger to create change?

everyone has a story

The more I touch with people on this subject the more inspired I become. Stories of escaping the day to day, stories in search of change, a new life, a new direction or simply new experiences and adventure.

The question “why”

When I made the decision to finally commit and announce my decision to quit it all and leave Europe I was actually quite taken aback by the amount of surprised reactions I got. For me I had mentally prepared for that decision in some way or another for a long time, for me the concept felt natural, I was ready. However, I quickly got the feeling that for many the concept seemed very align.

A few reactions I got and I quote:

“Why would you leave your job, are you crazy?”

“Are you having a midlife crisis?”

“Is this a spontaneous decision, or have you planned it?”

Others would include

“I would love to do that, but I could never make the final step”

or

“I wish I could go traveling too”

My most memorable was from my pharmacist just before he injected me in the arm with jab 1 of 3 of my Rabies vaccinations.

“what gave you the idea to go travelling?”

…I was rather taken aback by the use of the word ‘idea’ like it was some singular moment of clarity. ¬†The fact of the matter¬†is that it was never just one idea, it was many, all jumbled together, ideas, emotions…it was an evolved process.

How it all began.

When it came to big travel trips I was always one of those people, always talking, never doing. For me world travel was always something in the back of my mind. A lot of my friends did the gap year thing after university, I however went straight into work. I had £20,000 in student loan debts to pay off, I had a career I wanted to build and most of all I wanted to start putting my 5 years at university to good use. I had something to prove to my myself, I had ideas I wanted to develop and to see how far I could take them. But in the most part, like most of us, I just needed the money to start coming in.

I worked hard and climbed the ladder fast. I spent 8 years working @metabo UK, it was not always easy, I was lucky to survive several redundancy culls, I took on extra roles, survived the crisis of 2008 and then got offered the break I was perhaps always looking for. In 2012 I packed my bags and headed off to Germany. I accepted a role offered by my parent company to work at the headquarters @metabo DE as the European Promotions Manager. A varied role which incoperated aspects of Product Management, Product Design, Sales and Marketing. This was perfect for me, challenging and interesting work in a company I knew, had great respect for and already 8 years experience. The new role established itself quickly, we grew, standardised and set up measurable, repeatable processes. We had some great product and sales successes! I was lucky enough to be given enough freedom to develop my own ideas as well as those of others and the demands of the market.  One of the most fun projects was:

I was never sure how long I would stay, perhaps only 2-3 years, perhaps forever, it was never fixed in stone and left always open. 5 years later and my German pension was secured and all my career ambitions had largely been met. I was not the type who wanted to continually climb the corporate ladder. I had done enough of that, pushing for promotion after promotion. I had also seen in others and experienced for myself the effects of taking on too much, I did not want my job to erode into my private life more than it already had. I had struck a good balance in Germany, they know what they are doing there and they put special emphasis on their feierabend, but I was still aware of the dangers of taking on more and more, I had done that back in the UK in my early carrier days, I had got the hat and the t-shirt, the doctor was not impressed!

The more I grew, the more I really began to understand what the buzz term ‘work life balance’ really meant. It is one thing to say it, but to really start to begin to feel it, that is what is important, not just on the odd day, but regularly. Another life saying; ‘work to live, not live to work’ however I most certainly do not wish to work so I can just live. Existence is not the key. Stuck in one place, continuously working to earn the right for a few short holidays, retire at 65, maybe get 10 years of good quality retirement with questionable health and then kick the bucket, is that what it is really all about?

The more thought I put into it, the more I thought about where next. Stay with the same company, push for another promotion, change companies, same industry, different industry, go back to the UK, settle down and put up with a country split in two over the consequences and chaos of Brexit. Was this all about career decisions or was there something more? What is with this saying “you only live once”. What did that mean to me? ¬†What next? ¬†#thiswayorthat


What’s¬†your story?