Coming from the UK and taking up snowboarding means at some point your going to have to travel abroad to find the best conditions. I learnt to snowboard indoors when I was about 13/14 and as much as I love the indoor domes they can become boring after a while! Luckily for me my family got involved and learnt to ski & snowboard so we ended up going on family holidays to Lapland. When I started entering competitions at around 15 years old at the time The Brits in Laax, Switzerland was the most popular event of the competition season and I convinced my parents to take us there. It was such a cool experience, packing the car up and setting off on a long road trip to the mountains. We have always been on family holidays most years and I have really fond memories of jumping on planes to new and exciting places so traveling wasn’t something new for me. Maybe travelling as a child helped it seem less scary for me, I knew there was nothing to be afraid of and if anything I was more excited than nervous to visit new places.
I jetted off for my first snowboard season when I had just turned 17, I left high school in September and boarded a plane to Colorado in December! I’m sure my parents were worried about me being such a long way from home but they trusted me and were supportive of my trip.
1 – Planning a trip can be stressful
When you are in charge of renting a house in a country thousands of miles away for you and 5 other people can be extremely stressful. You have to give yourself lots of time to research and find the ideal place for everyone. I made the mistake of renting an apartment that was 3 bus journeys away from the resort which everyone hated me for but the advert made it seem really close! The next year I knew which area to book a house in instead! You have to be confident in your own ability as you can end up being in charge of paying the rent for the group so you need to be strict with your friends or you will end up picking up the slack for them. Luckily I never had an issue with friends paying but I’m sure others have.
2 – Being away from home gets easier
This sounds a little cold and as if I don’t miss home when I’m travelling but it’s not meant in that way. When you find a place that you really love you will find that you don’t miss home as much as you would think. The times I get emotional and start to miss home are usually when something has gone wrong or I’m stressed out about something. It’s not a bad thing to not be homesick, it just means your enjoying yourself and have everything under control. I do find it hard now that I live 4 hours away from home in the Summer and 1000 miles away in the Winter but it just makes me appreciate the time I have with my family more.
3 – You don’t need a lot of money
Most people think that you need a tonne of money to travel and that’s really not true (what are overdrafts for ey!?) If you plan a trip properly and budget while you are away then you don’t need to spend thousands. This Winter me and Simon probably ate out in a restaurant about 5 times in 4 months! Obviously it’s nice to treat yourself when you visit somewhere new but don’t blow the budget in the first week!
4 – Working abroad can be fun
I really enjoyed working this Winter, I had a job at an Apres Ski bar and even though it was only a couple of hours on an evening it was enough to pay the bills and buy food with and it was actually quite fun at times. You don’t necessarily have to speak the local language to get a job abroad, in fact being English can help sometimes because in busy tourist spots you aren’t just dealing with the locals you get a wide range of nationalities visiting.
5 – Age doesn’t matter!
Whether you are 17 or 70 it really doesn’t matter when it comes to travel. The people you meet along the way share the same passion as you which means you will get on with them no matter how old they are. If you are younger don’t pass judgement on older people that you meet, they often party harder than you and know all the cool places to visit that you have never heard of.