My Journey From A Small City Rut to The Rocky Mountains
The year of 2013 began as an anxious-ridden world for me. Though my new year’s eve was lovely and fun, it could not paint over the deep rut that I had fallen into. I spent the last night of 2012 with my sister, my two cousins, and a couple of new friends. It was honestly one of the most perfect new year’s eves I could have hoped for. We had an all-girl pre-teen themed party – we ate candy, played games, watched movies, had a glass of bubbly or two, and then went for an invigorating walk to see the fireworks which ended up being hidden by the trees and the tops of the buildings because we left a few minutes too late. Oops!
We all had a good laugh. When you find humour in the unexpected, magic can happen. :)
New year’s day was the reality check for me. I already knew that I was at the lowest point of my life when I was forced to move back in with my parents a few months prior – and I was still there with no job, no savings, and no real plan. I felt so lost. My last job had been telemarketing for $12 per hour.
Yup. I was once that “bitch” interrupting you at dinner time. Sorry.
Oh, those telemarketing days did a number on me and my creativity. The job location itself was in an industrial part of my city. I started work in the afternoon and it took two buses for me to get there and back home again. Those cold, dark waits at the bus stop in the rough end of town pricked at my sanity’s threshold. Even with my favourite music playing on my ipod, I couldn’t shake that awful feeling of entrapment. I was stuck.
When music can no longer begin to erase hopelessness, you know there’s an issue.
Moving right along…
I needed to leave. Even an increase in modeling gigs with my agency did little to help me feel satisfied or adventurous. The shows were few and far between and they were not enough to make a living on. Maybe if I had of stuck to it for another year, I might have got a big break, but I may have also missed out on travelling. The thought of going somewhere cool trumped the glamour and elite-ness that you could get through modeling. Needless to say, I was over the whole high maintenance city girl thing.
Just before spring arrived, I applied for hospitality jobs everywhere, realising that the hospitality diploma I used to deem as worthless was actually my ticket out of the rut.
I did a telephone interview for the Delta Lodge in Kanaskis and aced it. That call back from the department manager was like a visit from my own Obi-Wan Kenobi. It was my way out from all that was familiar and depressing and stifling. My parents (Probably seeing how restless and irritable I had become) paid for my plane ticket to Calgary, Alberta. I will be forever grateful to them for that.
My head was literally spinning. My sister and I took pictures on her Mac Book, as was our custom ever couple of years. That last good-bye to my sister the night before my flight felt so strange. How do you say good-bye to the person that means the most to you? All you can really do is smile, hug, and say “Good night.” And that was what we did.
My dad took me to the airport and we had one last breakfast together at Tim Hortons. We hugged and told one another, “I love you.” I walked into the area that only ticket holders could go through and it hit me that I was really leaving! I looked back and my dad was still watching me through the glass barrier. It made me cry. He was there, cheering me on, waiting until that last moment where I disappeared around the corner to wait for the plane to take me across the country.
In a time span of just five hours, I went from my home city to Calgary and I was shuttled to the hotel in Kananaskis. My eyes watered at the sight of those rocky mountains, which I had seen for the very first time in my life. The first person to greet me at the hotel was my new supervisor. He showed me around the lodge, spa, and staff accommodation and then quizzed about where to go and what to do if such and such happened, etc. and I just gave him a blank stare. I wanted to say, “I just got here! Give me break.” but I just smiled and asked him to remind me.
Oh, but the mountains and the view. No feeling will ever be the same as the one that I felt as I hiked down the foothill to the valley after my supervisor let me go explore. I stood on the rocks by the river, smiling. I was free. London was far away and I was instead surrounded by the most breathtaking nature I had ever seen. I had never felt so alive.
I often sat on this small cliff that overlooked the valley and sang, looking down at the water or up at the fog-covered mountain tops with misty eyes. My inspiration had finally met its catalyst.
Alas, my position as a spa concierge was far more difficult than I would have imagined. My introverted disposition in combination with a surge in my imagination made it quite difficult to grasp all of the differing duties at work, which included dealing with customers. My anxiety levels spiked when I was not outside and I told my manager that I couldn’t do it anymore. He went into shrink mode, sweet-hearted as he was, and asked me what was causing me the most anxiety. I pointed right away at the cash register and said, “That thing!”
He hugged it and told me that it is just there to help. Then, he went over in detail all of the various interactions I would have to know. This was the moment that I realized that I really had something wrong with me. There is soft, nature-inspired spa music playing, sun is shining down on the pool water, there are only two customers receiving skin treatments, and I was standing there on the brink of freaking out. My manager said not to give up on the job and he seemed to really believe in me, so I gave it another try.
I was not very keen on meeting new people at that point in my life; I was determined to stay single and stay focused on writing my books. Delta had a lot of staff living on the premises and I found it terribly overwhelming. I guess it’s because I came out there to re-charge, write, and explore.
Sometimes, people just need to be alone.
My room mate was a sweetheart and she always asked me to go drinking with everyone, but I declined until one evening I thought it would be nice to actually have a nice time. I had only been drunk once before, so I got way too drunk again and blew off this guy that all the girls thought was “oh so hot” and charming. I just thought he was a rich, workaholic jerk who just wanted to get laid. Apparently when I thought the line, “I don’t want to… you know… force myself on you or anything” was terrible, my coworkers thought I was being too uptight. One of them actually swooned and said that she wished someone would have said that about her.
After that, I reverted back to my reclusive nature. I started jogging outside and then I would dip my feet in the cold water of the creek afterwards. Those Rockies surrounding me were so therapeutic, but the job at the spa was taking its toll on me – as was the pressure to start to fit in with the people that I lived with.
Some of my coworkers were becoming frustrated with my absent-mindedness and they began being nasty toward me.My manager and I often worked the night shifts together. I am terrible with small talk, so when we did talk it was always about heavier topics like the Pope or humanistic death quotes or politics or Game of Thrones characters. I enjoyed those conversations, but I could tell that he could only stand them for so long and then he would retreat back to his computer a few feet away, flashing me the strangest looks every so often. I don’t know if that was in my head or if he was actually unnerved by my strange presence, but it started to weigh on me.
I applied for another job in Canmore – a small town close by. I got another phone interview with them and I accepted the job offer right away. Sadly, I couldn’t find the courage to tell my manager that I was leaving. I felt so bad, but I had this mental block or something that made me incapable of doing it. He ordered me pasta with seafood one evening after I told him about an unfortunate event in my room the other evening and I was so moved by the kind gesture that I decided I would have to just sneak away instead of admit that I was leaving. On the morning that I was to move to Canmore, I called for a cab to pick me up at 6:00 AM.
That morning, I left Kananaskis forever.
It was wrong of me and I felt terrible for doing it. In tears, I called him once I arrived to Canmore. When he answered, he said that he hoped I would never do something like that again because there are ramifications – not just for me, but for the coworkers that I leave behind. I had created quite the mess just so I could escape from my own discomfort… and I just closed the door on the first person that I had met in Alberta. I said sorry again and he told me that he hoped I would have fun in Canmore. Then, he hung up.
Dear readers and bloggers, have you ever been guilty of running away from problems? Do you love to travel? Where have you travelled?