This trip has been several years in the making. Ever since I did my season in France I have wanted to go for a season in Canada.
So last year around now I applied for my Visa. The process has changed recently and it's a lot less stressful than it used to be. Create your account, enter into a pool and hope you get picked.
Okay, there is still a little bit of stress, there is no guarantee you will get picked, so apply early. I got picked and by the start of January I had my visa confirmed. Phase 1 complete!
So as I wasn't intending to go until October 17, I relaxed, plenty of time to sort a job and flights.
Around June I started my initial searches. Just checking websites etc. I was originally looking to go to Whistler for the season but worryingly all their winter jobs fairs were coming up soon but in Canada. I couldn't get there that early so I was hit with a bit of panic! They mentioned a fair in the UK but you needed to go through one of their jobs abroad agencies.
So, I did my research and contacted the main one. Panic again, I had set my heart on being a liftie, I love being outside and being active rather than sat at a desk, it seemed perfect for me. But this company had no spots left to interview as a liftie in whistler!
Initially I was gutted but they had another resort though, not far from Whistler as a liftie, so I looked into it. But then it turned out there was a mistake and actually all they had was tubing attendant. This is where you throw kids down a slope in ring. Not my cup of tea.
This company wanted £700 to set up the interview in London and they would guarantee a job but may be not what you wanted. In the end, I backed out. Surely I could get a job without having to pay for the privilege.
Looking around none of the resorts were advertising yet, apparently I was a bit too quick off the mark.
So I waited, waited some more and then a bit more, eventually in August the jobs started appearing on the resort websites.So rather than going through a company I applied directly with the resorts. I applied for 10 jobs in total over a 4 week period. I got four interview offers, one I turned down. Out of the three interviews I did, I got all three jobs. So it just came down to choosing where I wanted to be in the winter.
In the end I have chosen to go to the Kicking Horse Resort. It had the work pattern I was looking for and it is based in the Rockies where there is plenty of ice climbing as well as good back country.
With a job secure it was just a case of deciding when to go, to sort accommodation and insurance. I feel I sound very calm in this blog post. I did not feel this way, I'm a very focused person and when I think something needs to be done it can sometimes to consume me until it is sorted. So for the next number weeks I was on the internet, looking at flights, trying to sort accommodation and reading soo many insurance documents it was insane!
I was/am travelling out to Canada with my good friend Caoimhe (pronounced Ceeva). So I wasn't just booking flights for one. Caoimhe got her Visa before me so she needed to be in the country earlier as well. My partner is in the process of getting a Visa, did I wait for him before I booked flights? Do I need to go out earlier if I can't organise a room on-line? So many questions!!
In the end I wanted to fly out with my friend so I booked the flights so we could go out together. My partner got into the final stages of his Visa just before I flew out, so that was a big weight off my mind. I managed to secure some accommodation, hopefully it's nice, looks good in the photos and the person I have organised it through seems great. I highly recommend reading insurance documents before you go with a company, so many I looked at claimed to offer what I was looking for but ultimately in the fine print it didn't really deliver.
This whole process has been a bit of a roller-coaster. I have only done two trips before that involved
co-ordinating other people but for no where near this length of time. It is way more complicated when there are three of you. I have left a very good job to make this happen, but what was really hard to leave behind was all the friends I have made over the last five years living in Wales. However I know that I will keep in contact with those that I really want to and the best thing about friends is all the stories you have to share, whether they are together or separate adventures. Family is a given, they are used to my jet setting and have organised to see me in the summer already.
So here is to a new adventure!!! I've not done travelling in this style before, I've always been more of a backpacker than a travelling worker.
This is Caoimhe and I on our flight out to Canada. Stay tuned to find out how the border and setting ourselves up went.