As our first week in the Mountains draws to a close we have a day off work to reflect on just how much has happened and changed in the last few weeks.
After 210 days living on our Motorhome we packed everything up. Put the Hymer into winter storage and loaded up a hire car to get us 450 miles across France from the Sunny Dordogne to the Snowy Savoie.
You can find out a little bit of our back story here (linky coming…final draft in progress) should you be interested as to how we ended up here. How & why we ended up saying goodbye to perfectly acceptable careers and all the life trimmings that come with middle management jobs.
The past few years have been leading to this very moment. For now however, I shall focus on today.
This is today:
Effective November 27th 2019 Dan and I are Winter ‘seasonaires’ in the French Ski resort of Meribel.
So what does that actually mean? In short being a “seasonaire” basically means that you work in seasonal role typically linked to a hospitality business (which could be anything from laundry, cooking, cleaning, bars, shop work…) for a short (fixed term) term contract in a holiday resort. In our case a winter holiday resort in the French Alps. The pay will never make us rich but the employers offer something (arguably) far more enticing than the £€$ in you pay slip each month. A great deal of companies will offer accommodation, lift passes, food, transport, insurance, drinks, discounts…the list is practically endless.
Its a very clever concept really. Dan and I could never realistically afford to live a full season in the mountains (even in our motorhome). The lift pass costs and food bills alone would break our respective banks and use up a big percentage of our savings.
Our jobs for the next 5 months come with a one bed apartment, full insurance for on and off the mountain, lift passes, food while on duty, uniforms plus a pay packet at the end of each month to keep up our national insurance contributions.
This approach was a no brainer for us. Getting the type of jobs we have with the perks we did was not at all straight forwards. This is a highly competitive industry. Its not unusual for companies to receive thousands of applications.
Its hardly surprising however. We are being paid, housed, fed & watered plus insured, clothed and treated to as much mountain time (for free) that we can juggle around our working weeks. Its our literal jackpot.
Our first week has been a busy one! The rest of the team are yet to arrive and the guests are still a few weeks away but we are fortunate enough to be in resort a few weeks early to settle in and familiarise ourselves with the area and what it has to offer.
Our training is thorough. Everything from Health and Safety, snow chain driving, fire safety, sales & bookings, dietary requirement management, team development, cleaning, chalet set up, guests expectations, company image…its a lot to take in. Especially when you are brand new to this!
Have I mentioned that we are total seasonaire newbies? Yep. Never done this before so its a bit like turning our career clocks back 20 years and starting from scratch!
How hard can it be though right? Its not like we are brand new to people management or customer facing roles. We do however have 40 year old bodies that may not take so kindly to the typical mountain lifestyle for seasonaires where sleep seems to be the absolute last thing on their minds!
I guess the next few weeks will tell! Hopefully you will stick with us while we find our feet and see how this all pans out.
The snow remains elusive but there is a buzz in the atmosphere that winter is just around the corner and very soon the hills and valleys will be covered with the white stuff and the masses will descend. Until then we shall satiate ourselves with views of the snow capped taller mountains and the clock ticking down to season start.
We are thrilled to be here and are so happy that our new boss took a chance on us this season. Cant want to see how this next chapter goes!
If you want to see what we got up to in week 2 take a look here