First off, a little about me and this blog.
I have always wanted to do a ski season. I have always skiied, as long as I remember, with my family and stayed in chalets. So naturally, I thought the chalet hosts were super cool and I wanted to be one. I had a lot to learn obviously.
I went to university the year before they put the fees up to extortionate prices – I had wanted to take a gap year but that was a big no no. So university it was. At the end of what I saw as the best 3 years of my life, I felt like a lost sheep with not a clue what to do with my degree in Geography… So I signed up for a cookery course with workaseason and I was off. They provided a weeks cooking course in Surrey, at a great price, and pretty much (not quite) guaranteed a job in return. So after proving I was not a culinary mess, I was off to Les Arcs to work as a host in a 12-man chalet. Fuck.
So I flew out, decided this was my calling and I was the happiest ever – before catching pneumonia and being sent home on New Years Eve (not quite 5 weeks in). I believed my life was over and fell into a near depression – made worse by doctors telling me I could never live or work at altitude again. Despite this, I managed to persuade a ski company that I was fully recovered, and they sent me out to Val Thorens, nearly a month later, to work as a host in an 8-man chalet.
In all honesty, I believe that doctors had been wrong. Sure, it may not have been the best idea to go straight to the highest resort in Europe only a month later – but being at altitude again forced my lungs back into action. Yes, I felt like I’d run four marathons after one flight of stairs, but a few weeks later I was back on top form. I think being in the mountains was the best thing for me, and I have no regrets about returning. The mountains cured me physically and mentally, and my heart will always stay in Val Thorens.
Anyway, just after my 22nd birthday I was on a coach home, new best pals in tow, wondering if life would ever be good again (yes, I can tend to get a little over-dramatic). I promised my parents (particularly my dad) that it would be the one season, then I would get a job. A real job with some sort of wage. However after one week at home I had been trawling the internet, looking for summer season jobs. Not repping in Ibiza or bar work in Malia – not that kind of season. I was looking at beachclubs in Turkey and Greece – sailing holidays like I’d done as a child. Before I knew it I had a telephone interview to be working as a teenage activity rep in Turkey – sounds like the dream ey?
With no experience with kids whatsoever I headed off, 3 weeks after coming home from France. It’s fair to say my mum was pretty heartbroken.
Turkey was every bit as great as I imagined. In fact it was better. The job was a dream – I worked with teenagers from 16 to 18-years-old, so they weren’t far off my own age. We’d spend the day surfing, sailing, swimming, with a bit of volleyball and tennis thrown in. Evenings would be spent down at the picturesque beach bar (ok, so he was also a drug dealer but let’s not ruin the image) and days off would be day trips to explore the local towns and markets (and drink of course). And the people were even better than the job.
So anyway. I may be viewing summer with some rose-tinted glasses, but I’m ok with that. It was fabulous. And I wanted to repeat it. But before I knew it, I was off on my next adventure.
I started off in Alps D’Huez (beautiful French mountains, you get the picture), but shortly after Christmas I relocated to Val d’Isere (more beautiful French mountains), chasing my heart (a boy) – always a good reason to make major life decisions may I add.
But it turned out to be a great reason to make major life decisions, and after teaching him to cook and clean and be a chalet host, we were off again to Greece. (Yes, we said we wouldn’t do another; yes, we were bribed into it; yes, seasons are addictive.)
Another glorious summer followed, filled with more grumpy teenagers, dramatic nannies, impressive storms and weekends of Somersbys.
Now it’s January. We have promised this was our last and final season, and it was time for real life. So here I am, working in London in a 9-6 office job, commuting in every day (damn you, Southern Rail) and on the house hunt.
I started this blog more for my own sake – to write things down, memories from all my seasons, and the transition into the real world. Who knew I could hold down a ‘real’ job, wear heels to work and wash my hair on a regular basis (not in the sea or pool…)! So here goes nothing…