Thursday, 13 March 2014

The thrills and spills of Winter :)

Winter slowly gained momentum in British Colombia, and before I knew it we were full speed, hurtling towards Spring. We journeyed from what can only be described as a snow drought, to a full-on blizzard overload :) well, not quite, but you get the idea.

Now, don't get me wrong, i'm not complaining about the sudden influx of snow at the start of February. Au contrare my friends, I welcomed it! I, along with the majority of residents in Whistler were the very image of children on Christmas morning. (please excuse the overused metaphor, but this time it is so very apt!) we stood, gazing upwards, trying to catch the largest snowflakes I have ever seen in our mouths and getting beyond excited about the fresh powder we were going to shred the next day.

The few weeks that followed the first BIG snowfall of the season were a blur of early morning line ups, floating on this magical snow down untouched runs and collapsing into a heap at the end of the day on the sofa with a grin plastered onto our exhausted faces. This was living, and this was why we were here.

Of course this time was interspersed with work (boo!) family visits (more snow-themed activities) and illness (double boo!) but it also very quickly suppressed any ill feelings we had developed in the snow-famine of early season. It also justified my recent purchase of some very pretty powder skis the previous month!

So with all our adrenaline and snow-related cravings covered, another demon, our travel-bugs, had space to squeeze itself into our psyche and pose the the question, 'Where are we going next?'

Although ever-present, I have to admit, the urge to travel beyond Whistler had quelled in the last 17 months. Life was everything I wanted here. I had a group of friends, who had such a similar mind set to my own, I was completely comfortable with them. I had a good job, and my back garden was the most epic set of mountains and beautiful little village. I spent my days off skiing and exploring the outdoors, relaxing with my friends and, to be honest, not having much regard to if or when I was going to leave this place. It just didn't really occur to me that this type of living might not satisfy me forever. Blasphemy!

Yet, alas, that very thought caught up with me recently. It tapped me on the shoulder one day, whispered in my ear and simply said 'Hey, lets do something else.' And that was it. It was time to move on to new adventures.

I always knew that I had to go home after this winter for my sister's wedding in May, but I had never given much thought to what was happening after that. Was I coming back to Whistler? Travel some more? I guess it was time to get the the proverbial thinking cap on, and figure this shit out! Luckily I wasn't alone in these thoughts. My new-found partner in crime, Brad, was also feeling the travel itch and was keen to strike up a new adventure else where. So along with Tom, our comrade from Winter 12/13, we set about making plans for life, post-Whistler.

We tossed around ideas, Central America...Europe...South America...All we knew was that we were ending up in Melbourne, Australia. Where we would work a while to replenish our depleting funds! This was planned for late September time, 2014. So in between, we finally decided, we would embark on our own, drawn out exploration of the Trans-Mongolian Railway. A 3 month voyage through Russia, Mongolia and China, stopping off throughout the journey at every little town and village in the aforementioned countries. An new adventure to say the least.

So now, between draining the last dregs of our ski-bum lifestyle and saving every penny we can earn, we are devoting our spare minutes to planes, trains and automobiles...oh, and visas! Turns out we need a few of those for the communist and ex-communist countries we intend to visit. No easy task when neither Brad, nor I, are currently in our home country or can be without our passports for any length of time. But, alas, we shall figure it out. It really is just a life of 1st world problems, 'I'm travelling one awesome country, so I'm having trouble planning visas for the next amazing ones'.

I found myself with another well-know 1st world/Whistler problem yesterday, which made me chuckle when I realised how ridiculous it really was. I actually found myself uttering the sentence 'I can't carry my skis and my beer at the same time!' Really? Seriously? I had to roll my eyes and remind myself that there were indeed problems in this world much greater than the fact that I couldn't manage alcohol and skis in two hands.

I guess life in 'The Bubble' just got too comfortable. And I certainly don't mean in the financial sense! More so in the sense that I find myself complaining about things like the snow being sticky, or there being a line up at the gondy/bar/grocery store/coffee shop, and that's not OK. This place is a paradise, and when one gets to a point where they fail to acknowledge this fact on a regular basis and float through each day not appreciating the tiny, yet perfect, moments, well then its time to go. Start afresh, experience the new and marvel at another nirvana this world has to offer.

So now its time to knuckle down and gather the coins that will fund these big plans, but also cherish every last ski day, snowfall and apres, because we will soon bit a very emotional farewell to our 2nd home. The countdown is on, Ireland...see you soon!

Sunday, 2 February 2014

And so it was Summer...

I'm definitely getting into a habit of leaving heaps of time between these blog posts. oops.

Aw well, as long as get around to it at some point eh?

An entire season has passed since I last sat down and put pen to paper, or fingers to keys as the case may be. I previously promised to be much more frequent with posting on here, but alas I'm just crap. I'm not going to make anymore promises, but perhaps with the colder weather quickly approaching I will have find more time to sit down and write. Although, as the saying goes, 'there is no time in Whistler...'

I left you when summer was just about to take off in Whistler, and take off it did. Although summer was most certainly a more chilled out, slower paced way of life than winter, it was also pretty jam-packed with new activities and people.

We didn't have one day of rain for all of July, and temperatures soared (well in my books they soared, the Aussies insisted that it was just 'warm') In between working and bbq's, we spent our time lying by the lakes and hiking. Oh and perhaps a few tequilas thrown in there for good measure!
One of these hikes was our trek to Joffre Lakes, a beautiful spot north of Whistler, outside Pemberton. The views were breathtaking and the lakes themselves were so blue from the glacier water that they seemed fake.

What I did learn from all this outdoor activity is that I don't actually like hiking. As much as I long to be the female equivalent of Ray Mears, it turns out its never going to happen. I would be so keen, suggesting all kinds of hikes and trails and once we set of the thoughts in my head would go from 'Oh, this is going to fun. Look how pretty it is here' to 'I f***ing hate this, why did I suggest this? I cant breathe. Why is everyone walking so fast?' I was hot, sweaty and there were bugs EVERYWHERE. Not fun. I mean the picnic at the end is always nice, and the views of course, but lets just say I wont be attempting Everest anytime soon!

Summer also saw us attempt to tackle the world's number 1 downhill bike park. I took the challenge, faced it head on with great determination and bad-assery, and I ran away shit scared and vowing never to return! Not for me.

Now don't get me wrong, I can see the attraction, and if I wasn't such a chicken shit maybe it would have been a lot more fun, but alas, a chicken shit is what I am. I gave the park two goes, the first time I hated it. Too much adrenaline for a prolonged period of time in my opinion. The second time I went because Loris was back in town for a week and wanted to try it. After a few epic spills from her and her bike unceremoniously throwing her over the handle bars, she had had enough of it as well! No amount of persuasion from the beautiful bike guide could get the two of us back on those bikes again. It was the bar for us, to claim a well deserved drink!

Some others took to the park much more like ducks to water. Brad, Dan and Ashley were all up there dropping cliffs and doing all sorts of crazy stuff on a daily basis. And of course Meg and Andrew were old hands at this kind of stuff. As the season rolled on, so did the injuries. From scrapes and bruises to broken limbs and concussions, it was almost worse than winter. I'm glad all this silly bike business is now behind us, and the white stuff is on its way back!

As summer drew to a close, and work became less and less frequent, boredom set it, and subsequently the urge to travel crept up on us all. So out came the laptops and the planning began. We needed out of the bubble! The good thing about living in a place like Whistler, is that the people are all on the same wave lenght, reading from the same page so to speak. We were all bitten by the travel bug at some point in our respective past. You would never be without a travel buddy in Whistler! So after much deliberation of where to go, we decided on New York, Washington DC and Philadelphia.

It was a crazy 10 days of fitting in all the sights, eating the as much fast food as possible (20 nuggets in McDonald's for $5?? The boys could never resist!) and drunkenly making friends with homeless people. (If you have no cash, its OK to give them gum right?) It was an awesome trip, and also  great way to finish off a great year. We flew back into Canada a year to the day that I originally flew in. :)

Its hard to believe over a year has gone by already! So much as happened, so many amazing friends have been made and I have experienced so much. Its not over yet, in fact far from it. I really feel like this year has just been the beginning in a long journey, which will hopefully keep going for a long time.

So now its November and the cold weather has hit B.C again. The snow is slowly working its way down the mountain and into the village and everyone is getting ready for a new ski season. We have been watching ski movies, buying new gear and dusting off the old stuff in preparation. So within the next few weeks we will back sliding on the white stuff. Old friends are arriving back in town and we have all migrated back to staff housing, (which is already proving disastrous for my liver!)

So here's to another winter in The Whis. I know this year is going to be different, new faces and new challenges, but i say 'bring it on'. This winter season is all about tackling skiing with a whole new attitude, facing the two giants that are Whistler and Blackcomb with a new found gusto but also with a reassuring familiarity and comfort.

Until next time :)

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Playing Catch up.

So, yet again I have fallen behind on this blogging stuff. Damn life getting in the way again! So where to start? I guess where I left off would be the ideal place. Hawaii.

Hawaii seems like a lifetime ago! I guess a mountain of things have happened since then. What can I say; it’s a beautiful place that I got to explore with great friends. There were plenty of little adventures, such as driving across the entire island to find ‘THE Lighthouse’ (which apparently I spoke about incessantly the night before when drunk) only to find it was basically some scaffolding at the end of a dirt track!  Let’s just say the others were not too happy with me.  Ashley found it funny, but only in a ‘if I don’t laugh I will cry’ kind of way. Oops!

We spent our days lazing the time away on secluded beaches, snorkeling with sea turtles and tropical fish and exploring the active volcanoes of the island. One of which is the most active in the world at the moment. Very impressive, I must say! J

With fresh seafood being so readily available I figured it would be the ideal time to try lobster.  It was on the bucket list! So after a morning at the beach, Ryan and I ventured to the local fish market and I purchased a freshly caught lobster tail. After googling the best way to prepare this foul-smelling crustacean I was excited to get stuck in. Surely this was going to be epic. Emm…No. Boke. It was as foul-tasting as it smelled. Disaster! I guess I still got to strike it off the list, but I was severely disappointed. 

On my return to Whistler there were quite a few comments along the lines of ‘I thought you were going on holidays? Where is your tan?’ I really did think I was pretty brown. L I was reassured that this was not the case at all in Seattle en route home. We stopped over for a night and got to spend a bit of time with Tristan and Brad, before they set off on their USA road trip.  I missed both of them immensely, so of course I was super excited to see them again. I don’t know why, because within about 30 seconds of being back in their company, the abuse I was so accustomed to,  started again! Alongside the onslaught of abuse from Tristan, Brad had his input in, confirming that I was still a pasty Irish girl, and that no amount of Hawaiian sunshine was going to change this. Such charmers!

The next big event was my sister’s arrival to Canada.  The entire two weeks was spent doing all the touristy activities Whistler has to offer. After living here for 8 months I still had not ventured to the suspension bridge, or other such delights. I have no time in Whistler! J So we went on the Peak to Peak, hiked the forests, lay on the docks of the lake and, most memorably, canoed (or attempted to canoe with a horrid hangover) down the River of Golden Dreams.  I believe I spent most of the time doubled over laughing at Ashley and Sinead, rather than doing any actual paddling! After spending most of their time in the middle of the lake and Jamie, our ever-so-patient guide, shouting ‘DRAW, DRAW!’ at them, we decided it might be better to swap canoes and for me to go with Ashley. Turned out not to be the case at all. We were probably just as bad a team, if not worse.  We spend the majority of the time in the bushes; subsequently we ended the day with multiple bruises and scratches. A lot of fun all the same, thanks Whistler Eco Tours! J

Sinead’s trip also coincided with Brad’s return to Whistler. After a few weeks travelling the US he came to his good senses and realized that Whistler really is the place to be! So of course with him back, Sinead here on her holidays and Ashley…well Ashley just being her usual self, messy times were had. I had to work while Sinead was here, so I would finish my shift to find the terrible trio on the patio of The Longhorn Saloon, 3 drinks down and willing me to play ‘catch up’. Of course it was always a challenge I was ready and willing to accept. Apparently they were just introducing Sinead to Whistler life; I can’t really argue with that portrayal!

Brad wasn’t the only Whistler Fam member who made their way back to this beautiful, albeit rain-soaked, mountain-side paradise. Alex decided that lovely Manchester really wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, and after a grand total of 2 months at home he quit his job and booked a flight. J Slowly we are re-grouping! Now all we need is for the others to get their act together and get their asses back here.

The only downside to June in this region of Canada is the weather. Its pissy, to say the least. I am hoping much more from July and August. After a few sunny and warm spells in April and May, we have been left with rain, rain, thunderstorms and, emm, rain. Feels just like a good old Irish summer.

Otherwise, we have been having fun with BBQ’s and parties in our new house in Creekside and spending evenings walking by the lakes.  New houses are fun, but hard work on the same note. Getting to know peoples different ways and habits is always interesting. Also, living in a room that one cannot quite stand up straight in can prove a challenge, especially when you are a lanky 5”9! Putting that aside though, the new house has been great. Probably too much tequila involved in everything that is done (not on my behalf for once, ahem… Ashley and Meg!), and avocados being stolen left, right and centre, still, these are the joys of shared living. J The house also has an ever-changing list of tenants and visitors, which always keeps us on our toes. From sisters and parents, friends arriving back unexpectedly and of course various late night visitors, it certainly does make for some varied conversations and banter.

Speaking of interesting banter, I think Mr. Bradley Cooke has finally met his match when it comes to inappropriate, ridiculous, piss-taking banter. Although they knew each other during the winter season, Ashley and Brad were only really friends through association, so when they were forced to spend some real quality time together (tour guiding Sinead around Whistler) their true colours began to shine; much to my despair. The two of them, as horrifically crude as they are, keep us all in fits of giggles, as well as keeping a constant blush on my face as the jokes are usually at my expense. I can’t complain though, at least there is never a dull moment with the two of them around. What more could you want, 2 raging alcoholics. One of them is a giant, Aussie one, the other a tiny Scottish one. Both mouths as foul as their minds, but the two of them can strike up a rally of banter like I have never quite experienced before.  J
Pub Golf for Meggles Birthday...Messy to say the least! Dont we look the part?

So on top of the above mentioned drunkards, we have Meg. i.e Meggles, Steggles, Meg-a-tron. A Crazy, Ontario girl who has a secret love of the ‘Dutty Wine’ and likes a glass of red as much as me. Really, could you ask for anything more in a house mate?? Apart from the fact that she also wants to give me a movie and music education this summer (apparently it’s a sin that I haven’t seen ‘Kill Bill’?) she also gives in to my need for massages and tickles. Golden.

The we have Andrew, the older (more mature? Questionable) sibling of Meg. Although he spends the majority if his time in the same spot in the lounge, he does have his uses. For one, he knows how to work the playstation. That’s always a plus. He also taught me how to cut an onion. The guy is a genuine wealth of knowledge! And then of course in July we will have Mr. Dan Baskett joining the ranks, what a busy little house it will be.

So, from here on in I shall try and be a little more prompt with the blogging, and thus give you a reason to ‘stay tuned’.

Peace out.


Saturday, 4 May 2013

Spring has Sprung!

Aloha from Kona Island, Hawaii.

Picture it, i'm sitting on our balcony, coffee in hand, sunglasses on and Foster the People serenading me through the speakers. my view is golf course as far as i can see, and wandering on the greens are an astonishing amount of wild turkey and geese, who are ridiculously frisky. It must be mating season!

These turkeys and their attempts to woo the females have been the source of much amusement, and the spark to a very in-depth conversation about how their mating habits are just like ours. According to one Ryan Mcleod, the male turkeys are at the beck and call of the females, and no matter how much the puff their feathers and ruff themselves up, at the end of the day, the female can take or leave it. Yet, all the female has to do is give her approval and that seals the deal. I have to say he makes a point. All one has to do is take a look around The Longhorn in Whistler, or any bar for that matter!

I'd like to say that this ramble about turkeys has a purpose and some kind of relevance to this blog post, but it doesn't. I shall move on!

The weather is slightly overcast today and I had one too many glasses of shiraz last night, so I'm taking this time to catch up on the past few weeks. For myself, as well as on this blog!

Before we left for Hawaii summer arrived in whistler, and with the sun came adventures. Mainly ones that involved sunglasses and rum, but also a few beautiful days basking by waterfalls, hiking the forests and lying by lakes. Its the insight that I needed, showing me what a summer consists of in Whistler, it confirmed I have made the right decision by staying.

After some crazy birthday celebrations in mid April, it was great to have some time to just chill with friends, particularly with those that were leaving in the subsequent weeks. First came a day trip to Vancouver with Ashley.

After fracturing her spine on some ice and being bed ridden for a few weeks Ash was coming down with a severe case of cabin fever, and being the great friend that I am I agreed to a trip out of the 'bubble' (I was also in desperate need of some new underwear!) So, off we set on the 8am greyhound to Vancouver for a day of retail therapy. Now, when it comes to shopping I may as well be a man. my main priority is 'does it fit?' and 'is it comfortable?' This was always much to this despair of my mother and sisters and, now, it seemed to Ashley too.

We always knew that we had very different taste in things; music, men, food... the list goes on, and now we can firmly put clothes and fashion on to that list! We had such a giggle rolling our eyes at the others choices in clothes. Ashley's main response to my question of 'do you like this?' was 'yeah...for you'. It was a successful day all the same, both of our bank balances took a severe battering!

It also took a strange turn when we ended up in a tattoo and piercing parlour, Ash getting her inner ear pierced and me deciding, spur of the moment, to get a ring put in my nose! I would like to think this is some kind of new, bad-ass me, but I highly doubt I can pull that off!

In the following days the sun came out to allow us to wear the new summer purchases from Vancouver. We spent days lying on the grass of staff housing, sipping mojitos and soaking up the much needed rays after a Whistler winter.

As flat 201 was soon to be disbanded we decided a fam day out was in order, so we took off to discover the train wreck of Whistler. It was yet another beautiful day and as we walked along the train tracks to the forest it really began to dawn on me how much I was in love with this place, and all the people who come with it.

On our search for the train wreck we came across a beautiful waterfall that will definitely be re-visited during summer. It was like something from a post card, so serene and picturesque. We ended up spending quite a few hours there, mulling over the events of the past few months and planning the future.

From there we ventured on to the amazing Creekbread restaurant in Creekside. For someone who isn't a pizza lover, I can easily say that Creekbread does epic pizzas! We stuffed our faces and laughed over everything and anything, good times.

The day was perfectly rounded off with a trip to Alta lake to watch the meteor shower. Lying on the docks with some awesome people and watching the night sky for meteors sounds like something out of a cheesy American movie, but it really was something special. That will certainly be a day that sticks in my memory for all the right reasons.

The following week was spent doing very mundane tasks like cleaning the flat, packing to move and for Hawaii and surprise surprise, saying more goodbyes. Loris left first which was as horrific as expected. I will miss that girl! I have never met anyone that can make people laugh so unintentionally. Such a sweetheart that really does look after me. I am ever so worried that Ashley and Meg (my new housemates) will be nowhere near as soft on me as Lauren, i'm pretty sure her replacements wont take anywhere near as much of my crap! uh oh.

Saying bye to Sarah Fam and Matt wasn't much easier, but at least it was me leaving this time, rather than them. When I get back to Whistler I will officially be the only Fam member left!

So after checking out of staff housing :( and packing up 'the bang bus' with the ridiculous amount of things I have accumulated over the last six months (including 2 sets of skis, 2 snowboards and a guitar) we were ready to head for Seattle and Hawaii.

Stay tuned for all things Sun, Sea and Sand.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Time to say goodbye

So Long, Farewell…
Being a seasonal village, Whistler has one major downfall. People leave. L
Some people are like me, intending to come for six months and then decide not to leave. Half of said people also end up being lifers here. Come for a season, stay for life. 
The rest move on from the bubble that is Whistler. Sometimes they head back home, other times it’s on to more adventures in far flung corners of the globe.  Regardless of which it is, it is inevitable that the time will come to say goodbye to all those people who have snuggled their way into your life.
Nobody likes goodbyes. They are horrible. I, especially, did not even come close to coping with the huge wave of farewells that have come crashing to the shores of Whistler in the last few weeks.  I was the emotional wreck you often see sniveling at the bus stop who you are completely embarrassed for. You really hope this person pulls themselves together, and for a moment you think they will, until they start a fresh batch of tears and you give up all hope that they will ever stop. Yup, that has been my life for at least 3 weeks now.
Now, let’s get one thing straight. I’m not really a crier. Some of my best friends at home haven’t seen me cry. So, it shocked me as much as everyone around me, when I completely broke down when the first of our friends left. Thomas Carr. He started it all. He opened the gates and I’m still struggling to close them! Probably because there is still more people to leave, but let’s not think about that!
Winnie the Pooh once said "How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard"- and that is how I’m trying to look at all of this.  I’m also focusing on the fact that I now have friends across the globe that I can go and visit!
So, to celebrate the time spent with some of my favorite people I have compiled a list of some of the more golden moments.
1-      Meeting Lewis for the first time. Its 5.30am in Gatwick airport and I am very clearly struggling with my backpack. The true gentleman that he is, Lewis approaches, taps me on the shoulder and asks in his ever-so-polite Oxford accent ‘Hi, do you need a hand with that?’ From then on he was part of the fam. He is the perfect height and dimensions for an epic hug and really is a wee sweetheart.
2-      Meeting Alex about an hour after meeting Lewis. J Apparently he could hear my accent all the way across the departure lounge and figured I must be the Irish girl from the Whistler Facebook page. J
3-      Meeting my first ever friend in Whistler, Ashley MacKissack. In the Irish bar of all places.  Now my partner in crime for summer.
4-      Fam trip to Vancouver for the hockey. Such a great day at the start of the season. Although I’m sure Matt spent most of his day trying to explain hockey rules, I think we all enjoyed it. I fondly remember the sing along with Alex friend, Slow Loris, Matt and Melissa en route to Van. Good times. It also concluded with us arriving back to the first snow of the season. Cue snow gear on and snowball fight/snow angel making!
5-      Christmas day with the entire fam. A day I was dreading, having never been away from home for it before, but between an amazing dinner, secret Santa and plenty of red wine it was a great day. It also included a game of charades which produced some of the funniest reenactments and stories, in particular Brad’s portrayal of Melissa’s encounter another female. Enough said.
6-      2am disco to aqua with the flat mates. Totally random and spur of the moment. Don’t think I have ever danced as hard in my life!
7-      Our wine and cheese party. We should have known it would be far too sophisticated for the likes of us! It started out so well and quickly digressed into the consumption of copious amounts of wine and a very revealing game of ‘Never have I ever’. Which revealed stories that shocked and horrified, none of which will be shared outside the walls of flat 211!
8-      Fam ride days. Never a huge amount of actual riding done on these days but they were such a good laugh all the same. Some of the highlights included me completely face planting at symphony and taking Tom out on my way down.  Matt sliding on his backside the majority of the way down Peak to Creek and Alex getting his ass stuck in a tree-well and expecting me to pull him out. No chance mate…here, grab my pole.

9-      Skiing while totally pissed on St.Patricks Day. I was surprisingly much better at it, but damn was it cold!

10-   Visiting the Hemloft with both Brad and Lauren on separate occasions. Such a cool structure which is being taken down soon, so it was great to see it before it’s gone.

11-   Story telling time with Tom. The time most of us looked forward to each evening. When Tom would arrive home from the Four Seasons ski concierge to tell us all scandal of the rich and famous clients he had the joy of serving that day. Or even more enjoyable was Tom’s run down of the previous night’s antics after a big night on the tiles. Priceless!
12-   The infamous ‘Mojito Mondays.’ Where my love of the Minty, Lime and Rum beverage reached new and dizzying heights, and though I haven’t quite mastered the creation of this treat the taste of it will always take me to a happy place J

This is just a select few highlight of the season, and although many of these guys have foolishly left Whistler I genuinely hope to create many more memories with them. 
On a new and brighter note, summer is almost here in B.C and there is so much on the horizon.  A new house to move into with a fab trio of friends, trips to Vancouver, Seattle, Hawaii and God knows where else. There is also the arrival of the younger and even more mental Mullan sister. God Help Whistler for those two weeks! And who really knows what else the summer will hold?
So as sentimental as this post was (apologies) I guess it just reflects how great friendships can be formed anywhere in the world. Some of the aforementioned people have given me the best advise ever, which will forever be cherished and I wish them all the best in their respective journeys.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Lets try this again...

So I guess I never got very far with the blog eh?

I suppose a few things got in the way, mainly life.  But here it goes! I’m going to try and bring this blog back to life. It feels right.

Although I’m almost six months into the adventure and the season is nearly over…the journey feels like it’s only just beginning.

So let’s catch up!

My current location is Whistler, Canada and will be for some of the foreseeable future. I have scarily started referring to this place as home.  From the lifestyle of a ski bum to the ‘Whsitler Fam’ it feels so natural to call this place home. Of course I miss my real ‘fam’ and friends, and Newcastle will always be home, but Whistler has well and truly found a spot in my heart.

I have worked almost six months for Whistler Blackcomb ski resort and learnt how to ski in my spare time…well, perhaps a more apt phrase is that I attempted to ski. With the help of my trusty, Aussie instructor friend* I was soon shredding. Albeit in a not so graceful manner. My main problem according to him, ‘Paula, you just need to grow a set of balls.’  I guess someone with my dexterity and coordination problems was just not designed to slide.  Maybe, as my other Aussie instructor friend (#RH**) has mentioned, boarders are cooler. Perhaps I have missed my calling.

That’s one thing I should mention about Whistler, it’s full of Australians, who are ever so fondly referred to as JAFA’s, Just Another Fucking Australian. They are definitely a different breed altogether, then again so are the Canadians!

I hate to admit that the rest of my spare time has been spent fulfilling the grand old Irish stereotype of being a ridiculous drunk.  I feel like I’m 17 again, although the hangovers are significantly worse. Is it possible to be ‘too old for this’ at 23? I think it is, or at least my liver does. I have promised my mother I will calm down, so I am banking on the summer to reveal a more sober, healthy me. Hmmmm….time will tell.

Apart from being the aforementioned disgrace, one of the biggest parts of my life in the last six months has been my Whistler fam.  Possibly the most lovable  crude, ridiculous bunch of people I have ever met, who have put up with more than their fair share of alcohol induced messiness, killer hangovers and life drama. They have been the source of so many laughs, stories and life lessons and who are all, whether I like it or not, friends for life.

They will always be my friends; they know too much.

There are post-it notes on our wall with all the fun quotes from the last few months, and no matter how foul a mood I’m in, I can sit on the sofa, read the wall and instantly have a smile on my face. That’s how I feel about this bunch of people; I can’t help but have a cheesy grin plastered on my face when I think of any of them.

Even Matt.**

The main thing that changed since being here is that it’s no longer a six month trip. I have gone from travelling to Whistler for one winter season, to this trip having no completion date. I have also come to the conclusion that this may not be a ‘trip’ as much as this is ‘life’.  This is the dream that I dreamt of living and I finally feel like I’m ready and willing to throw myself completely into living it.  To soaking up everything that life has to offer me, saying yes to all the opportunities that are thrown my way and exploring every inch of everything. Funds permitting of course!

So, now that the world is my oyster its time to be selfish and ‘do me’.  So that’s the plan, and you’re more than welcome to join me on my adventures of self-discovery. That sounds a bit cliche and tacky, but I’m going to use it anyway because it is so entirely true.  This blog is going to chronicle where I go, who I meet and probably most importantly, what I learn.  I imagine it will also be some kind of outlet for frustrations, over-spilling emotions and all sorts of thoughts and musings.  If that’s your kinda thing, stay tuned!

Until next time….

*The oh so lovely Tristan Cleary. Aussie. 30 years old. ex-lawyer turned ski instructor.
**Raging Heterosexual i.e Bradley Cooke. Typical Bogan Aussie. 29 years old, Ex-accountant turned snowboard instructor.
***Matthew Maich. Canadian Room-mate. 23 years old, Boyfriend to Lauren (a.k.a Loris) Maturity level of a 4year old but lovable all the same.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Paula Mullan-Whistler Blackcomb-Guest Relations Host- Start Date 29th October 2012-Lets Get it Started!

So, I have been sitting here with my hands hovering over the keyboard, wondering what in God's name to write. Where do I start? Ok, so, here we go…
-My name is Paula
-Im 23
 -I'm from Ireland (see the video below)

-I talk incessantly, usually pure nonsense
I look like this…..

-I will listen to pretty much any music, but have a serious guilty pleasure of country music J
-I love cheese
-and in 3 weeks' time I'm going to embark on the biggest adventure of my life to date!
I have always been a keen traveller, and for as long as I can remember I have watched travel programmes on TV and said the same thing every time, 'I'm going to do that.' So, that’s the plan, to go and do 'it'. I'm going to go and live the dream. My dream.
My list of dreams is almost endless, my 'Bucket List' currently has 97 things to do! About 7 have been crossed off in the last year or two. Among these were to visit the Sahara Desert, ride on a camel and learn to drive. The latter was the biggest task of all, it took five attempts at the test before I finally convinced the examiner to pass me!
This year I can cross out four in one swoop.
1-      Work a Ski Season
2-      Learn to Snowboard
3-      Visit Canada
4-      Work in a foreign country
While browsing the internet at lunch time at my boring 9-5, I came across The Holiday Working Club, one look at their website ( told me everything I needed to know. There was only one question, where do I sign up?
I think I was one of the 1st onto the UK waiting list, and my IEC (International Experience Canada) visa application was signed, sealed and delivered at the 1st opportunity. Don’t get me wrong, there were aspects that scared the life out of me, (and to an extent still do!)
1-Going by myself, half-way across the world.
2-Leaving my family, friends and boyfriend of 6 years behind.
3-Suriving -30 temperatures, I know Ireland is cold, but to use a common Belfast phrase 'That is Baltic!'
I was soon reassured by Andy at The Working Holiday Club (thanks Andy) that this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, that I would make lifelong friends and it would all be worth it. So that was it, my money was paid, I had signed the dotted line and I was going…
Looking back on it, the application process seems so long ago. It started in February and by August I had my job offer and flights booked. I had so much support from Andy along the way, even when things got a bit difficult and my visa application was rejected TWICE by the Canadian government, he kept me calm and his wealth of knowledge meant it was all sorted out pronto!
After my interview in Dublin with the representatives from Whistler Blackcomb Resort in British Colombia, Canada, I knew I had made the right decision. The people were so friendly and made me feel comfortable right away.
Initially I was interviewing for a retail position, but after realising that not only had I kissed the Blarney stone, I may as well have snogged the life out of itm they decided I was suited to a different role. Apparently with my talking skills I was 'wasted in retail' and was given the position of Guest Relations Host.

Now all that is left to do is wait until the 24th October and then I'm off! Excitement has well and truly set in, my endless lists of 'things to do before Canada' have been reduced to 'Pack' and 'say goodbye'!
I think I have well and truly talked the ears off my family and friends about this trip and I'm sure they can't wait to see the back of me. At least now have a new outlet for my excitement on here!
I hope you can live my adventure on here with me J