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A Season on the Slopes Abroad

An experienced traveler, Natalie tries to convince herself that she's made the right decision to work abroad.

I've spent the past two years of my life in and out of hostels in different cities in 12 different countries on three different continents. Hostels have come to feel like home.

But although I've spent a lot of time in foreign countries, I've never worked in any of them. However, during my last backpacking trip around South America I met a group of Swedish guys while I was snowboarding in Argentina. They took little to no time to convince me to head to Austria for the upcoming ski season. I have done two previous seasons teaching snowboarding back in Canada so I thought this would be a great opportunity to head to Europe to "shred the gnar" and an even better excuse to travel some more.

But the week leading up to my departure, I couldn't help but wonder if I was making the right decision. What if I couldn't find a job? What if I couldn't find housing? Or what about the fact that I don't speak German? All these questions raced through my mind, and I second-guessed my decision to give up the comfort of home and my job teaching at Grouse Mountain.

On the plane to London, where I spent five nights catching up with friends before heading to Austria, these doubts were still circulating rapidly in the back of my mind. This was the first time I had ever experienced getting cold feet before a trip. The thought of having to create a life for myself was what made me nervous. It was all backwards from what I was used to doing when backpacking. I had left with a big suitcase and board bag, as opposed to my normal 70L backpack strapped on my shoulders. It was too late to change my mind and comfort myself back at home in my own bed.        

I am now in London doing all the typical touristy sight seeing one might do while in the legendary city; nervous to hop on my flight to the city I will soon call home for the next six months. I’m a believer that everything will work out in the end, but the stress of handing out resumes, getting an Austrian bank account and cell phone number are not lost.

I am lucky to have a friend who I worked with at Grouse Mountain spending the season in Mayrhofen as well, so both of us are in the same position. If things don't work out, c'est la vie, but at least I will have had the experience of trying it out. On the contrary, it could all work out and I could fall in love with Austria and never return home—but I'll never know if I don't try.

The unknown is my biggest fear in life, but the adrenalin I get from not knowing what lies ahead is why I do it all. For now, I'm going to continue to enjoy my time in London. I’ll worry about the real world once I arrive in the ski town and all familiarity is left behind at St. Christopher’s hostel in London, England.

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Published in Work Abroad Blogs
Natalie Segovia

Natalie Segovia, 23, is originally from Vancouver, BC. You can find her on the mountain or at a hostel somewhere in the world. She's currently residing in Mayrhofen, Austria, teaching snowboarding. Follow Natalie’s ventures!

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