Words by Lauren Adcock.
It would have been mid- January this year when I went into university to enrol in my second year of Journalism. However, instead of walking out with a new timetable, I walked out with nothing but a letter of deferral in my hand and an inspired mind.
My name is Lauren, and I’m the girl that has goals, passions and desires, but never says in the same place for long. Basically, I’m always on the move, always chasing that next best thing. I just exchanged a near-perfect life in Adelaide, Australia, for a life of travel, spontaneity and stepping into the unknown in Whistler, British Columbia.
Fully aware that this change of lifestyle would set me back a year from fulfilling my own dreams of being a journalist, the girl with the “Just wing it” attitude that half of my brain functions on, got on a plane, blew her life savings and ended up in this small town.
An hour and a half north of Vancouver, is where you can find a quaint, small and ever so charismatic ski village called Whistler which has been a hot-spot for travellers for decades. Not only is it known for picturesque backdrops and home of the Winter Olympics in 2010, but it is where you will find hundreds of ‘Whistralian’s’ which is a name we have all adopted for ourselves. Little did I know then, but this town allows you to step into a world of like-minded young people who all possess similar outlooks on living life to the fullest and stepping outside of our everyday bubbles back home. Mutually, we have one thing that keeps us connected and that’s our desire for wanderlust.
I didn’t have many expectations before coming to Canada, and as daunting as it was, it has always been first nature for me to trust in whatever path lies ahead of me. After spending almost two months prior soaking up the summer rays in Michigan, California and Mexico, I was ready to unpack my suitcase and find somewhere to call home. I signed a rental agreement to lease a bedroom in a beautiful complex of Condo’s in the village before arriving in Canada so that I had an immediate place to call home, I found a job straight away and they started me the next day. It barely took a day for me to recognise the difference between working a 45 hour week in Australia vs. here in Whistler and I quickly took on a second job at the first chance I had. My weeks are jam packed, leaving very little time to embrace Whistler for the beautiful place that it is. But on those rare days that I can run a muck, I do it well. My schedule runs a little like this. Sunday to Friday, I work as a sales associate in a beautiful gift store which attracts thousands of customers every week. Typically, a normal day is 8am until 5pm, but a few days a week I start at 1pm and finish late at night. Then, just to really push the daily coffee limit that i’ve given myself, I work Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights at the local nightclub. Those shifts run from 7:30pm until around 3:30am, which gives me a couple hours of sleep before I have to be up for work the next morning. This isn’t just a personal reflection of my own schedule. Nope, this is all of us. We all work hard to live our Whistler lifestyle, and live it to the fullest.
People think we are crazy, and quite frankly we are. We give up our easy going Aussie lifestyles and say hello to a world filled with nothing but sleep deprivation, living with strangers, weekly grocery lists and working two to three jobs. Everyday we are asked, “what makes us settle for this lifestyle”. Well, I am still trying to figure out that answer. But for now, I can understand that we exchange normality back at home for the adrenaline of the unknown here. There is nothing more exciting than finishing an eight-hour shift on a summers day, jumping into the car with people you met hours before and steering off the main road into a dense forest which leads you to crystal-clear lakes surrounded by the mountains. We listen to songs from the eighties, drink until we start dancing on the docks, swing from man-made ropes which are connected to nothing but tree branches and dive straight into the azure waters that keep continuing to inspire me. We drive back home at early hours of the morning, gain a couple hours of sleep, wake up and do it all over again. Some days, we chose to pump our blood by hiking up glacial mountains to view Canada from the highest peaks and ending it by drinking hot chocolate at the local coffee shop. Or, some nights we absorb ourselves in Whistler’s iconic nightlife and that’s about it because typically, we don’t remember what happens from there. The long days, sometimes long nights and homesickness, is all worth is for these very moments.
Since moving over here, there hasn’t been a day that’s gone by where I don’t look at myself in the mirror and say “what are you doing with your life”. I had it all, I really did, and to give it up for this small town makes me question every motive. But, the truth is, is that everyday is a valuable lesson and one that I will take with me more than a university lecture or more than a drunk deep and meaningful with your best friend on a Friday night. We get the opportunity to learn, I get the opportunity to learn how to be independent, how to be strong and how to be resilient. There is no greater lesson than one that the world can give. Travel is enriching and the days may be long but the months go quickly- so I’m going to love every second while I’m young and fortunate enough to.