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Tommo catches the travel bug: a retrospective on my first long term travel experience

Tommo catches the travel bug: a retrospective on my first long term travel experience

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Why Travel? I didn’t know, I’d been on plenty of holidays with my parents as a kid… some lamer than others. I’d been on a few trips into europe independently, which may sound impressive if you are not from Europe I suppose. After finishing University I felt like the rat race was not the sort of lifestyle I would want to look back on in 40 years and feel proud of. Some people get off on it, some people are told they don’t have a choice, some people are willing to take a chance and try and make it outside of the status quo. Fortunately this was me, and I have never looked back!

Standing astride the mountains, at Courchevel in the French Alps.

This is the short story of how i got infected with the travel bug on my first “real” travel experience. I realised from then on life would diverge from the expected path, and hopefully my adventures would lead me to a whole new world and way of looking at things…

Baseado the band: Half English, half Brazillian!

I had landed a job singing with a band on a 3 month tour in the French alps. I’d had a lot of shitty jobs whilst growing up, maybe that is part of what put me off the idea of working in a normal “career” for the rest of my natural life.

We are getting paid to live in the alps and ski everyday?! and in the evening we get to rock out and party hard with the hundreds of Seasonaires (Season workers) and tourists! Everyone is out to have a good time, especially us!

Realising it is actually possible to get paid to travel and live abroad is something of a revelation, especially when you are in you early 20s and had been given the impression by your careers advisor that working in a pharmacy would be the way to go. In my opinion, Careers advisors seem to be the sort of people who started with small dreams and over years of becoming ever more jaded with their lot in life, offer less and less inspiration to young people.

When you first get out there its an endless party of adventures and experiences. As time moves on you start to understand what it is about travelling that is so addictive. Novelty. If you stay in one place too long repetition often sets in, you wake up in the same bed every day and wonder where the last year went? what do you have to look back on? a couple of birthday parties and a one week holiday to the local beach…

Outdoor gigs in the alpine sun are the best!

Some people like that sense of security and familiarity. I’ve realised, I hate it! part of the reason for writing this whole blog is to look back over the last few years at everything I have seen and done, and then to look forward to all the new adventures that are waiting just around the corner!

If you are new to travel then getting a taste for it before you go hardcore backpacker is good way to know if its for you. Working abroad somewhere with a large ex-pat work force is a good way to start. holiday resorts, cruise ships are a good place to get looking for opportunities!

But BEWARE if you catch the travel bug, there is NO cure, and the only way to feed the addiction is to keep travelling.

Skiing the alps

The View from our balcony

My 3 month experience was in the French alps in the three valleys. One of the largest ski areas in Europe it’s actually 3 resorts connected together. We were based in Courchevel which has easy road access to the second valley of Meribel. We needed transport for work, so we had a van! Very handy for getting around in an area that by nightfall is only accessible by taxis and private transport. The roads are kept relatively clear, but snow chains are essential if you get caught in a whiteout you won’t get home without them.

Grabbing your ski helmet and skiing every day certainly gets you fit. Season workers can apply for a season pass that is much cheaper than the tourist one. We were lucky to have an apartment that was on the slopes – ski out from the front door to the lifts and then up into the high mountains!

Courchevel is the rich mans ski resort. Known for celebrities on holiday, the Beckhams were in town whilst we were there. Its not cheap, but if you are working it is affordable.

This was my first experience, and since then I have been honing my budgeting skills, everyone has to start somewhere though, right?

So, this is where the story begins! The Five Dollar Traveller bids you welcome, come on in to our world and let us be the careers advisor you never had, the reckless adventurer waiting to be a “bad” influence on you! You’re gonna love it!