The condition I gave myself upon returning to the UK and not simply going all Bilbo-Baggins-esque in the adventure department, was that I wouldn’t get ‘stuck’ at home. I say ‘stuck’, because although it’s not the Himalayas, being back in Kent with family and friends constantly around is hardly a bad place to be. As much as I’ve enjoyed frolicking around south-east England, writing books and drinking a fair few ales, I really want to move on; the Alps aren’t going to snowboard themselves.
So yes, I’ve made a decision.
If I can’t do a winter season in the mountains when I’ve just finished my degree and don’t have a job or girlfriend to keep me rooted in place, then when can I do it? It’s not exactly a move to put on my humanitarian resumé, but as my mum, aunt and various other people have been saying all along, 3 months (or so) in the French Alps will be an unforgettable time and something that I simply must do while I can.
To say that there are still a few t’s to cross and i’s to dot would be an underestimate. I don’t have accommodation. I don’t have a job. I don’t even have a snowboard. Mere technicalities.
What I do have is a laptop and the internet and from what I’ve read it’s more than possible to start a season this late. Jobs become available all the time, even if I can’t find one before I go then with luck and perseverance I’ll have one soon after arriving; hopefully before my budgeted money evaporates into the colder, thinner atmosphere. There’s no guarantee of a job, and that’s worrying, but with an eager face and the Queen’s English to impress/annoy any potential employer, what can go wrong? – You could waste a lot of money without finding a job or getting any actual snowboarding done – I hear you say. Well, yes. Shush.
I’ve somehow persuaded my friend Alex that he too would like to head towards a ski resort in the hope of finding a job and a winter season and so we’ve decided after New Year to go to Val d’Isère and try our luck. It seems that 2016 will either start fantastically well or badly – definitely the prior. A positive attitude is fundamental.
After the winter season (assuming that I do indeed stay for the season) the current plan is to travel, volunteer and explore my way towards Australia without using a plane. Firstly, I don’t particularly like planes: all that taking off and landing is far from pleasant. And secondly, I wanted this in part to be an adventure, and using planes seems a lot like cheating. I’d say something about the environmental impact of the fuel consumption of aeroplanes as well, but frankly I don’t have a leg to stand on with the flights I’ve taken so far.
While travelling I’ll work with as many NGOs as I can, take the trans-siberian express initially from Russia to China, tick off some of the 101 places the All Hands volunteers have told me to visit and generally see some sights and meet some new people. That was what this blog was all about at the start and I mean to make it happen. I’m thinking this will be solo but I’m sure I’ll travel around with people along the way and while volunteering you can’t escape awesome people. It’ll take a while, I know, but thankfully time is one thing I do have.
Volunteer, work, travel, explore. England to Australia, no flights. That’s more than enough planning for now.
If you have any ideas about jobs in the Alps, organisations to approach about volunteer opportunities or comments about what I’m doing then please feel free to post on here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you!