Bears & snakes cross your way in Whistler and I got out of balance

My next job waited in Whistler in British Columbia (BC) where I worked for 3 weeks in a lodge. My host Geoff wrote to me on Workaway when I was in Spain. It suited perfect because lots of people on my journey recommended to me to go to BC because it should be beautiful.

They were right! Whistler was beautiful with lots of nature, lots of activities to do, very clean and very touristic... Actually I felt a bit like riding through a vast adventure park with perfect trails and perfect cut grass and happy stuff in every shop and bar who love to serve you.

There I used my opportunities and tried out downhill mountain bike, kayaking, basket ball in the swimming pool, shooting with a pump-gun (yes, with real bullets!), sailing... I met a very cool and nice friend from Switzerland with whom I did the most of those activities together.

I had also a reunion with the guys I met in Vancouver. 

And I got out of balance. Literally and mental... I didn't know anymore what I really wanted. I had the feeling I lost myself and my needs again and soaked everything from outside. To put it simple: I almost forgot about everything I learnt in the last 8 month.
Whistler! Where bears and snakes cross your way. 
So perfect clean, lots of activities to do and also quite expensive...
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Working in a Japanese and Scottish-Canadian culture mixture

I had no clue about Whistler and I didn't check anything out before I went there. I never do that by the way. I just knew that my job is housekeeping in a lodge and that Goeff has three children and speaks English and Japanese.

His wife was Japanese and his heritage was Scottish. Their three children (9, 15 and 17 years) were very nice and his three dogs as well :-). I was happy to have my own room and bathroom after a couple of month.

Geoff was very easy going and let me do my tasks. I had already experience in housekeeping due to my former jobs in Ireland and Spain which helped me a lot.

When I was finish I could discover Whistler and its surroundings by bicycle which Geoff provided me. It was a bit small for me but quite fast!

Here are some impressions of Whistler. Unfortunately I didn't see any bears but snakes... I tried to take a picture of them but they were too fast...
I didn't see any :-(. Just bloody snakes... 
Like my friend Ania said: "They follow you...". 
But they stand in some cultures for rebirth. 
A kind of mental rebirth I got in the end of my stay.
I almost stepped on this little fellow...
Relaxing at Lost Lake on the nude dock. There it was very relaxed.
Upcoming storm at Lost Lake.
Didn't miss the leg day ;-). 
I don't know who it is but he is fitting pretty well in the environment.
Red Bull Joyride in Whistler - quite an event where the best mountain biker 
in the world show their talent in the fun park.
I had fun when the poor guy lost the control of the water pipe. 
Thanks to the people in front of me I stayed dry :-).
Immigrants from Ruhrpott
During my stay Geoff had some barbecues where I helped out and also could have some burgers as well.

At one barbecue Geoff introduced me to a German couple which immigrated 7 years ago from Gelsenkirchen to Canada. They were in the same age like me and it was fun to talk with them because of our same slang.

Cool was that a Canadian guy said to me that I lost my German accent when I speak English and that my English would be very good. That was quite a compliment for me! Well, hard work pays off in the end :-).

Interesting was that the German couple said: "Canada is great, the people are very nice but..." ;-)

They missed proper toilet paper (here it is very thin...), proper tissues (also very thin), proper cheese (here it is very expensive like 10 $ for a small piece of Gouda), proper bread... etc. They told me that their "Mutta" sent toilet paper to them but after using it the pipes were clogged... They also said that Canada is based on consumption and for us Germans almost unbelievable for what the Canadians have to spent money like the entrance for the German Christmas Market in Vancouver.

"But we don't want to go back!" ;-) I really liked them. Funny guys who have their heart on their tongue.

Redneck fun
One day I came back from a tour with my Swiss friend when Geoff and his buddy said that they wanted to go shooting and I should join them. OK!

We drove in a big 4x4 pick up in a forest to a place which was an open secret that everyone shot there around. The place was surrounded by trees and mountains. On the ground laid lots of empty bullet shells.

Geoff passed me a shotgun over and explained to me how to use it. There you go. I was very excited but I found the imagination quite strange to shot with real bullets. I placed the end of the weapon against my shoulder, stopped breathing to prevent my arms from shaking and pulled the trigger... BAEM! My goodness that was loud and the blow-back was very hard on my shoulder... But I hit the aim!

I started a hilarious and nervous laughter and Geoff and his friend as well. Then I placed an empty beer bottle on the ground and shot. BAEM! There was nothing at all anymore! Just the bottom. Well, if I think what happened to a living aim... Scary.

So we had some laughter for around an hour before we headed back. I actually had some bruises on my right shoulder on the next day. It was an interesting experience but also scary to held a real gun.

"Go there where the white thing is. I will pick you up later."
With those words Geoff pushed the kayak he lent to me and I was kayaking on the Alta Lake. After I found my balance in the shaky kayak I felt quite confident.
The Alta Lake from another point of view. My meditation place.
Maybe too confident. I was in between quite fast. So fast that I kayaked into some trees and bushes :-). Sometimes I had to go over some beaver dams. Actually I feared they could attack me... My tour lasted 2 hours, which was due to Geoff quite fast.

I enjoyed being in the nature surrounded by flowers, grass and trees...

Downhill for the ladies
I also did a mountain bike course for ladies which was quite cool. I got a bike and the protection clothes. The teacher was a young ginger head who was very kind and patient.

Actually I was the oldest one in the course. Probably 10 years difference compared to the other girls. But therefore I did it quite well and I didn't need to set myself under pressure.

That is the great thing when you are getting older. You don't need to compete with the young wild ones because you already know how that will end up :-).
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Vancouver reunion

In Whistler I had a reunion with the guys I met in the hostel in Vancouver. The guy from Wales, the French-Canadian and my tomboy partner :-).

We went together in a supermarket when the Wales guy asked me: "Are you vegetarian?" "No, but I have no problems with vegetables...".

We had a very nice dinner together with nice wine and beer. Later we tried to play billiard but it wasn't successful but funny :-).
Nice dinner in a hostel.
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Swiss cheese and German bread matches perfect

On my first workday I took after work my bicycle and discovered Whistler. I stopped at the Alta Lake in the Meadow Park which became also my meditation place.

 I placed the bicycle on the grass and took some photos when suddenly a tall guy with shoulder long dark hair and three days beard came over and said: "It is a great place for taking pictures. Isn't it?" "Yes! It is! I am just arrived and was impressed about it, hence I stopped."

It turned out that he was from Switzerland. So we talked in German. He was in Whistler for vacation and lived here before for around one year. We said that we could do something together during his stay.

It was the beginning of a very funny time during my stay in Whistler. I had tons of laughter with my Swiss friend. Especially because the people around us couldn't understand us.

Never miss leg day and being active
Once we went in the swimming pool and played basket ball in the water which was cool. When we went home - he lives just a couple of houses away from mine - we were so tired that we had really problems to take a small hill on our way.

We also made lot of fun about guys who missed the so-called leg day.

What does that mean?

Well, imagine an football on two toothpicks. There you go! That is a guy who missed the leg day... Unfortunately the word "leg day" is something which the people around us could understand but my Swiss friend didn't really care :-).

A funny moment was when we laid at the Alta Lake and we got hungry. We saw a baby sat in a small chair and got feed. I suggested that I could distract the mum and he takes the baby and seated himself in the chair and put its sunhat on his head. We couldn't stop laughing about this imagination.

We also went into a pub together and played billiard. He showed me some tricks and I played better after it...

"I'm sailing...I'm not sailing...!"
One day we were laying at the Alta Lake when he had the idea to rent a sailboat because he had a licence. OK! Lets go.

So we went to the rental, got a sailboat for 2 hours and started... Me: "Do you have a watch?" "Ahhh, 2 hours..." So I took my watch with me just in case ;-).

Well, we tried to start our trip. It turned out that he always sailed on big boats but never on small ones. OK... It was quite windy by the way.

We tried to find our balance and were already in the middle of the lake when we suddenly capsized in slow motion... The boat was completely turned. I was laughing, hung in my life vest on the water surface and just said: "OK and now?" "No idea..."

A woman came in a motor boat laughing and explained what was do to. We climbed on one side of the boat and it turned slowly back. But I was very exhausted after it.

We had almost one hour and decided to head back because we had no fun at all anymore. But the sail boat rental guy came with a motorboat and said we should turn and try it again. Well, not a good idea...

We capsized again but this time very fast and I was under the sail... I got in panic because I couldn't proper dive due to my life vest. But I managed to come up, still my sunglasses on my nose but totally exhausted. The sail boat rental guy pull my out the water and gave me a woolen blanket.

That was the end of our sail trip :-). On the whole we had lots of fun.
After our sailing trip :-). Still my sunglasses and a smile!
Bye bye... on Facebook
My Swiss friend left one week before me but unfortunately I couldn't say Goodbye in person to him.

We wanted to have a beer before he would leave but he just sent a photo to me with a big cast around his arm... He broke his finger during a mountain bike trip. What a pity and what a poor guy... Not nice during a long flight back home but at least it happened on his last day in Whistler...

On the whole I had a great time and I loved that it was very easy going and spontaneous. Without thinking to much and just did what we felt like.
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Out of balance and losing myself

After my Swiss friend left I was a bit bored and started to lose myself. I talked with people around me who came recently to Whistler and worked their ass off to live here.

Most of our chats were about how to make money etc. I also started to think like that and not what I really wanted to do. But I was in two minds all the time until I hang in the middle and didn't know anymore what I should do...

The good thing was that a very nice young girl from Belgium visited my host because she stayed there a year ago as students exchange. She was very mature for her age. We spent some time together and talked a lot about life etc. But I slowly got more and more out of my balance...

What is what I want?!
I felt not good at that time. But it was a slow development which already started in Toronto. For some reason I thought it must be great to work in a winter resort...

But after 3 weeks in Whistler I remembered that I didn't like winter vacation anymore. I like the diversity between city sightseeing and a bit snowboarding but one week or longer just on the snowboard is kind of boring for me.

How could I forget about that? Because I didn't listen to myself. I just listen to everyone else and went slowly into the rat race again... I was looking for security and structure. That what I wanted to get rid of...

When I arrived in Toronto I started to send application to lots of winter resorts because the nice Canadian girl I met through Roberto said I had to start right now otherwise it will be to late.

Well, my agency in Vancouver actually told me that I was too early... So I wasted my time in Toronto to write lots of applications to places I actually don't want to work instead of discovering the city more and give myself some time to settle in.

Well, but judging myself is not a solution. I just didn't know it better at that time.

Should I stay or should I go?
The people around me told me I should stay in Whistler because it was "so nice" and "the place to be" like the French-Canadian guy from my Vancouver hostel said who lived now in Whistler and was looking for a job and accommodation.

But I didn't like Whistler that much. Of course it was beautiful but it was not MY place to be.

But even though I applied for a job at five star resort there... I had an interview and I got a confirmation for a job. But I was absolutely not convinced. It was not my world. Actually they let my wait for an hour and the secretary who picked me up at the entrance was not really nice to me.

So should I really stay in Whistler just to work my ass off that I can live here even I don't feel it is my place to be?

I also got a confirmation in another winter resort. It described itself as family like. Also the woman I talked to on the phone seemed to be kind and also a bit confused in sense of planning. That I found sympathetic.

Therefore I took the offer in the family like resort. I could start in September and the offer accommodation for a small price... Doesn't sound great?!

I was still not convinced if I really want to work in a winter resort but I want to earn some money and it seemed to be a secure way for me, or?!

Living in the future but not in the moment
I still felt totally out of balance and not very good. I started to think that I need to make a lot of money here in Canada to extend my travels but it is so expensive here and what if... All my fears came back or rather I let them come back.

I got in panic and checked out different job offers where I could earn more money etc. Even though I had the job in the winter resort already save...

On my last day in Whistler I looked like a zombie with dark rings under my eyes and acted like one. I had strong head ache and my stomach felt closed and hurt. I had fears and lots of worries... I couldn't remember when I felt the last time like that.

I bought at that day some toy animals for Geoff's youngest daughter Justine. A meercat, a tiny bat and a rubber duck. She was so happy that was so cute. I got a very cute card from her. I was really touched and very happy about it even though I felt bad.

Getting slowly back in balance
When I sat in the bus to Kelowna which should be a stopover for me before I would go to the winter resort I started to read the book of the Buddhist teacher Sogyal Rinpoche on my phone.

I had the first contact with his teachings in the Buddhism center in Ireland. I found him very modern and easier to understand. His teachings are adapt to the modern Western world in my opinion.

Reading in his book was an eyeopener for me and I brought myself slowly back in balance and to myself. But it needed some further experiences to make a decision which feels right now.
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Some ideas further for my future

The good thing was in Whistler that I was already some steps further with my ideas of what I could do after my travels or during it.

My wish is still to be a trainer like I learnt in Germany and give impulses to people in sense of motivation.

I want to integrate meditation and bodywork as well because it is a holistic way to bring body and mind in balance.

Holistic way to bring body and mind in balance
I started to check out more about Yoga after I did the Yoga class in Toronto and found information about teacher training. The training combines actually everything what would like to use to bring body and mind in balance: meditation, Yoga, anatomy, nutrition etc.

And after the course I am allowed to name myself certified Yoga teacher which allows me to teach it international. That is great for my nomad way of life :-).

Not a new idea
Actually before I did the Professional Business Trainer education in Germany I was considering to do a Pilates trainer class because I do now for 9 years Pilates and since 3 years a combination of Yoga and Pilates I love it. I had a very warm and great trainer in Germany in Muenster. Actually I practice Pilates and Yoga still every second day for around 15 to 30 minutes. I do the exercises I learnt in Germany. That I do for 3 years now. It became a part of my life.

To find out if I should take the Yoga way I took some classes in Whistler at different Yoga teachers. I loved it and my wish got stronger to learn more about it and teach it.

I think I have a great idea now how I could combine my trainer education with the philosophy of Yoga, Pilates and meditation.

At the moment I wait to sign up for a Yoga teacher training until I feel that I am ready for that. I will know when the right moment is there...
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Next time: time for decision-making...

Read next time about my stopovers in Kelowna and Vernon before I should go to my job in the winter resort...

In Kelowna I liked the imperfection and reality compared to touristic Whistler. In Kelowna I met a homeless and drug addicted guy who joined me in a park when I had my lunch. But we were not that long alone... Sounds scary?

It actually let me reflect and think about some things even more...

After Kelowna I took the bus to Vernon where I made a final decision after some strange experience there. This decision changed my plans completely and now it feels right!

Thank you very much for reading my story :-)!
Like the canoe on the Green Lake I needed to bring myself back in balance.

Write a comment

Comments: 6
  • #1

    f (Saturday, 08 November 2014 23:51)

    alain 7 September 2014 09:27
    love to read every time about your discovery . looking forward to the next episode

  • #2

    f (Saturday, 08 November 2014 23:52)

    Jeanine 8 September 2014 06:44
    That is so great to read! Thank you very much Alain. All the best for you :-)

  • #3

    f (Saturday, 08 November 2014 23:52)

    Ania Zielinska 7 September 2014 16:07
    Dear Jeanine, lots of people want to help and show the 'right' and 'verified' way to do things. Even though they undoubtedly have good intentions they project their vision of the world onto you ... and then it's easy to lose one's directions and feel bad.
    I hope you've achieved harmony between how you feel and what you do ... or soon will ;)
    Keep writing! Blonde Hugs!

    Was that little fella on the ground a bat???

  • #4

    f (Saturday, 08 November 2014 23:53)

    Jeanine 8 September 2014 06:50
    Dear lovely Ania! Thank you very much! I was really touched by your nice comment. Yes in between I feel back in balance :-). I think sometimes it's necessary to be down to step back and find out what is going on. Thanks again and I am very happy about your message qnd appreciate it.

    PS : yes the little fellow is a bat :-). It was actually tiny.

  • #5

    f (Saturday, 08 November 2014 23:54)

    Carsten Wendt 8 September 2014 21:36
    Hallo Jeanine, endlich sehe ich mir Deinen Blog an und was soll ich sagen, einfach toll!!! (ich will auch..) Sofort kann man Deine Entscheidung nachvollziehen und wäre gerne dabei. Ich wünsche Dir weiterhin viele
    interessante und intensive Erfahrungen und vor allem viel Spaß auf Deinem Ritt durch die ganz Welt. LG Carsten, einer der Nerds aus der FI :-)

  • #6

    f (Saturday, 08 November 2014 23:54)

    Jeanine 8 September 2014 23:09
    Hi Carsten!!!!
    Das ist ja schoen von dir zu hoeren! Ich habe mich total ueber deinen Kommentar gefreut. Ja das ware witzig wenn wir zusammen durch die Welt ziehen wuerden :-D. Ganz liebe und nerdige Gruesse nach Muenster ;-)