I was 19. Fresh out of high school (the Danish version). I was leaving a boyfriend and everything else behind – or so it felt. And I was TERRIFIED.
On November 11th 2013 I left small Denmark, to spend half a year skiing in Whistler, Canada.
And it is the best decision I have EVER made.
I have been skiing most of my life, so there was no doubt that come my gap year.
I had to try life out as a ski bum.
Being on my own for the first time
I remember arriving at the airport in Vancouver, after 19 hours of traveling – all by myself.
The flying part of the journey hadn’t been that intimidating. It had all been planned, and I knew exactly what to do.
But when I arrived in Vancouver it was late at night, and I quickly realized that the busses to Whistler had stopped going for the day.
Suddenly I was stuck in Vancouver – and worst of all:
My skis where stuck in Chicago.
It was the first time in my life I have truly had to overcome anything alone. But I managed, with just a tiny bit of panic in my stomach, to figure out that my skis would arrive the next morning, I found a hotel and transportation to said hotel. And I felt more adult than ever before.
The rest of the trip I had to overcome multiple bumps and problems. But every time it happened, I became better at it. It became easier. I stopped panicking, and found confidence in my own capabilities.
And I firmly believe that it has made me more capable of handling everything else that has since happened in my life.
Living with other people
Before going to Canada, I had only ever lived with my parents in their house.
I had figured out a place to stay. But I honestly had no idea what awaited me.
It was a big house, you could see the mountains from the terrace, and the living room was painted a weird nuance of pink. The couches were old and the kitchen was way too small.
But I will always think of it as my second home.
We were 28 people living under the same roof. 28 young people who skied and drank and partied too much.
The house was always busy, always buzzing, always smelly. And the kitchen was so DAMN disgusting.
But that was exactly what made it so incredible.
There were no “adults” to tell us what not to do.
And I learnt a lot about coping with other people. How to cope with their weird habits and their everyday mood swings. And it prepared me for a life with roommates. And made me a hell of a lot more tolerant.
It says – “There’s pee on the cupboard – It’s not a joke!” – in Danish
I know this is a cheesy one. But guys, I really DID find myself in this chaos of vodka, snow, skiing, disgusting plates and mice.
Having the opportunity to be so far away from everything that was normal, made me realize who I am. And that I will always be me, no matter where I go.
I took an instructor’s course while there. Because I simply couldn’t handle the vacation part of my season for that long. Most of my many roommates didn’t get a job. They lived the season to the fullest – skiing and drinking as much as possible. But I guess that’s just not who I am.
So I took an instructors course, and I got a job as a ski instructor for adult beginners.
Which taught me some serious life lessons.
I both hated and loved the job.
It was quite tough for the 19-year old me to be in such an authoritative position.
Having to tell people twice my age what to do was… intimidating.
And the small-talk was exhausting.
But seeing them actually managing to turn, stand up and ski on their 3rd day made it all worth it.
And finding out that I could do it – that I was actually a good teacher was exhilarating!
Just generally having the best time of my life
We did party quite a lot. I met some of the most awesome people on this planet. And waking up every day felt like an adventure.
Swooshing down the slope with 10 other people around you. You feel connected. All of your movements somehow seem to align and it feels more awesome than I will ever be able to put into words.
Like you’re part of the coolest gang on earth.
We were one big family. All of us.
And I consider a lot of my old roommates to be some of my best friends today.
I have never gone more wild, spent more time in a Jacuzzi, played more beerpong, partied harder, danced more crazy or drunk more vodka than I did these six months. And I loved every part of it.
I am seriously considering doing another season someday soon.
Even though I know it will never top my season in Whistler.