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!