A new adventure is afoot as I make my move from France’s chalets to France’s super-yachts.
Here’s the long over-due story…
The end of my Ski Season
..Was a thoroughly depressing affair. I actually shed a tear when the plane touched down at Stansted, such was my enjoyment of life during my time in the Alps. I can’t remember a time when I’ve done something I loved more- I loved the job, the people, the skiing, the mountains, the lifestyle… I just loved every second!
But all good things must come to an end right… and we saw it off with an awesome last week!
First off, with all the guests removed from resort, we all moved out of our separate staff apartments and into one of our chalets together.
This meant space to chill out, which our previous apartments were all massively lacking.
For the first time it was us enjoying some relaxation around the fire
And we could cook something NOT on the Ski France menu, joy of joys.
Oh yes, the leftover beef meant for beef borg WAS put in a STIR FRY. Rebels or what.
I’m making out all we did was sit around a fire and cook for each other, which, along with using all the hot water to have several bath for the first time all season, is true.
However, it would be a disappointment if we didn’t give one last push on the partying front. We had a LOT of leftover alcohol.
Not many glasses left though apparently.
So, of course, we partied too!
One last chance for those flugels
One last time to abuse Pete
One last time for Will to go a little bit weird
One last time for Claire to demonstrate her incredible management technique
And one last night with my partner in crime!
Who even made it to Tignes with me the next day to visit my old school chums Jamie and John!
The final night out was quite literally ‘drink the bar dry’. Jagerbombs were half price, which of course spelt disaster. But also lots of fun and spontaneity.
‘Well there’s no way we’re going to walk UP the piste when we could walk DOWN’
As usual when Paula and I make decisions together, much hilarity ensued.
Meanwhile, Will is just still confused…
But partying aside, perhaps the highlight of our last week was… THE SNOW!!
Oh yes, the heavens opened and the temperature dropped again, and the meltage of the previous few weeks became a thing of the past.
This meant, aside from more onesie spotting…
…lots of POWDER DAYS!
It was all about the fresh tracks
We were like kids in a sweet shop
It wasnt the first time Paula took snowballs to the face
The white-outs were pretty intense
But we still found some sweet spots to hike up to for that sweet sweet powder
What a brilliant end to a brilliant five months
Even if the tan did suffer.
Not that I had to worry, because it would soon be time for a new adventure in the sun. That is, after…
A short stint back home
…which was even more hectic than my last few weeks of season. I thought I would get to rest up… but I actually ended up partying more and sleeping less!
(That was me busting out the moves in one of Reading’s finest establishments)
Anyway, straight from the slopes, I got a coach from Stansted to see my awesome little sister in her pad at uni.
It was so good to catch up and hang out!
I do believe you could use some hosting skills though Amanda- it’s just not the done thing to make a tired traveller sleep in a ‘nest’ on the floor while you sleep in your comfy bed under the pretence of ‘having a 9am lecture’.
FYI… I naturally climbed into her bed the moment she walked out the door, and relished the moment she came home and found me there, up to my eyeballs in drool and demanding a sausage sandwich.
Anyway, I eventually made it back to Tadley… aka the land that time forgot. Nothing ever changes here except a few new traffic lights and a reduction in the already anorexic bus service.
My time in Tadley therefore had to consist of several nights out…
One with the girls….
One with everyone…
Which ended in a classy trip to MacDonald’s with John and Gary
And one in Clapham with the uni girls…
Which lived up to its usual Bournemouth standards: lots of dancing, laughing, and what my mum would call ‘acting the goat’.
Just so I didn’t feel depressed to be back in the UK, Sammy got all cultural for me
There were many other fun social engagements, but basically I saw as many people as I could, I crammed in as many nights out as possible, and I did a lot less organising for my yacht stuff than I should have done.
I also spent a week on the Isle of Wight getting my STCW95 (basic safety training for working at sea).
Each of these babies cost me about £250, but you gotta do what you gotta do.
A main part of the course is the ‘Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting’, which included some pretty hands on training… I got to play dress up!
Then they set this big box on fire and we went inside in teams to complete some room searching drills and put the fire out.
Obviously I was too busy sweating like a pig and carrying a freaking heavy hose in the real thing to take any pictures, but this is us practising the day before…
And here I am in my element playing with a hose.
Funnily enough, I REALLY did NOT enjoy the experience of being locked in several conjoined metal bunkers with fire inside them. It was horribly hot. I had my face covered with a mask and breathing equipment. I had a heavy air tank on my back. I was carrying a RIDICULOUSLY heavy hose. I couldn’t see a THING because of the smoke and the fact it was pitch black in there anyway. I may have freaked out a bit.
But I did it!
And it was… a unique experience.
So despite me using up nearly all my air with a girly panic which went ‘I cant see anything… I need to get this thing off my face… I need to get out… omg let me out!!’ I managed everything we needed to, and passed. We all did, yay!
The week flew by. Still smelling like sweaty bacon, I went straight from the ferry to another night out, and straight from that to more catching up with more friends. Phew! But I LOVE to keep busy!
To the South of France to get that yachting job!
Due to all this hectic-ness both before and after the Isle of Wight, before I knew it it was 2am on the morning of my flight back to France, and I was still packing.
My Dad drove me to the airport. We left the house at 3am in the pouring rain.
This was it.
A backpack full of CVs, and belly full of nerves.
The adventure begins
So I’m sat in Gatwick airport questioning my sanity. Literally having a menopausal flush as I wonder, not for the first time, if I’m taking my ‘avoiding the office job’ thing a little too far. Is this is some kind of quarter life crisis?
Have I really just spanked my entire overdraft on a yachting qualification when I’ve never sailed before in my life and have no guarantee of a job? I’m actually insane, I think to myself.
But im buzzing too, nervously excited for this next adventure. Who will I meet? What job will I find? Where will I stay tonight? Will I be home in two weeks empty handed?
But life is nothing without a challenge, and apparently I’m about to walk up to gigantic multi-million-pound super yachts in places like Monte Carlo and Cannes and ask for work. Just like that. I have no sea miles and know nothing (except what Google tells me) about the industry.
Well, six months ago I couldn’t ski and I couldn’t cook, but I learnt. And if other people can do it, why can’t I?
Arriving in Antibes
If you want to get a job on a super-yacht…. you get your STCW95, then you fly out to Antibes (THE yachting Mecca in the South Of France).
My first impression from the plane into Nice was a good one- the gorgeous coastline bathed in morning sunlight…
I looked down at all the yachts lining the harbour. Somewhere down there is my dream job, I thought.
We land. I meet a guy on the bus and join him in his hunt for accommodation, as I literally have NO IDEA where I am going or staying.
We wander for a loooooong time. Everywhere is full.
We eventually luck out and manage to find somewhere- albeit for a ridiculous sum of 220 euros per week- apparently because the owners assumed we were a couple so gave us the last room… haha!
It was a sweet ass apartment…
And it came with great people! Which meant ‘family meals’… yaaaaay!
I moved around a fair amount the eight days I was in Antibes. A bed came up a few days later in the ‘Grapevine crew house’ so, for pretty much just the job board, I moved to this cute back alley
But still too pricey… so a couple nights later I got some friends together and moved into this apartment… for 75 euros each! Result!
Now maybe I’m not supposed to admit this… but I quite enjoyed life in Antibes on the old job hunt!
It’s a gorgeous part of the world…
Everyone is in the same situation, and so the social scene is pretty fun…
And there are sexy yachts to lust after everywhere you look…
Yet despite this, Antibes is not somewhere that can be described as pretentious. Expensive, yes. Touristy, yes. But it I found it quite a chilled out place, with quite a down to earth atmosphere.
I had a blast.
And what does one do to acquire one of these jobs while in Antibes?
You put on your glad rags and you pound the pavement. You do the dreaded ‘dockwalk’.
Quite literally, you go to the dock at about 7:45 every morning and ask for day work / any jobs going.
You take a stack of CVs, a big smile, and bags of confidence. You walk up to yachts and make conversation with the deckies; you try and win them over with some personality, and try to blag yourself a job essentially.
Its… cringey. Let’s call it character building.
These docks line the entire south coast, there are loads you can go to. So you buy a week rail pass for about thirty euros, and you dockwalk everywhere you can. And these are awesome places- I saw all the Grand Prix shizzle in Monte Carlo, as well as the Film Festival stuff in Cannes.
All pretty enjoyable in its own right!
So you go sightseeing dockwalking everyday until you get a job! You also sign up with all the agencies and you NETWORK your ass off. Eventually, your hard work and persistence pays off and you get a job.
Unfortunately, a lot of people are JUST there to party, or that’s the impression I got. Sure, Daddy’s money is funding you, but at some point you will have to do a day’s work in your life darling. Whilst the concept of work seemed odd to some people I encountered, there are no doubts in my mind that they will last all of five minutes when it comes down to it.
Indeed, I am a massive believer in work hard, THEN party hard… so I utilised every possible opportunity and really did work hard at the dock walking and the agency thing… and THEN, of course, the drinking networking.
Any excuse to have a box of wine in the fridge right? Well, im just trying to be good with money by not buying so many drinks when I’m out…
As was my reward system. Give out lots of CVs that day, buy ice cream!
But wow, you do a LOT of walking, so its good to enjoy life too when you’ve done all you can for the day…
Be this with some down time with a sea view and your favourite tunes, a trip to the cinema to see American Pie (which is hilarious by the way), some sunbathing on one of the beaches, some well deserved food, a few beers…
Yeah, I really enjoyed my time in Antibes, and I met so many incredible people!
Part of me is actually sad I had to leave so soon, which is ridiculous, but I only managed two nights in my new apartment and I was just getting to know people…!
But when I got that call… wow I was buzzing… 8 days on the job hunt and I had done it!!
So at the time of writing (not uploading), I am currently sat in Istanbul airport awaiting my connection to Bodrum (my boat is currently in Turkey). I left my flat at 8:30am, and I probably won’t arrive at my boat until about midnight tonight. Loooong day!
I am to be thrown in at the deep end as one of three crew on a 20 metre yacht. It’s a privately owned yacht and I will be helping to look after the family by assisting with cleaning, cooking and deck stuff. It’s a small boat, and this will be perfect for me as I love to be hands on, have the opportunity to employ some initiative and really learn on the job!
They asked… can you hit the ground running? I said… yes please!
Another perk for me is the itinerary… Turkey, Greece, Italy. Beautiful! I fell in love with the Greek Islands when I backpacked round them last year… the food in Italy is immense… and I have wanted to check out Turkey for a long time!
Let’s just hope I can prove myself and hack the pace. I’m back to being a beginner, a learner, a novice. I HATE that, so I’ll be trying my hardest to get up to speed as quick as possible. I want to be an expert at my job by season’s end in October, make no mistake.
Time to employ that ‘strong drive to succeed’ that I witter on about on my CV. Well, it’s not just jargon- when I want something, I really do work hard at it.
Bring. It. On.
Another adventure!!! Here we go!!!
p.s… now at the time of uploading this post, I have completed my first days work and all is going well! Tales to come soon (including the loss of all my underwear, shoes and bikinis somewhere in Istanbul airport)!