The rewards of travelling outside your comfort zone

Most people go on at least one holiday every year to a variety of different countries. People go on holiday for a variety of reasons; to get away from work for a bit, to spend time with family, have a party, do an activity or just even get a bit of sun.

Whatever the reason, deciding where to take a holiday is influenced by a large number of factors including the best value for money, the time of year, availability, deals, economic state of the country or the country’s reputation.

You may think you decide where you want to go on holiday but in actual fact travel companies have a major influence on the type of holiday you take. The majority of people look for package deals to certain countries, which is fine if that is the type of holiday they want to go on, but that’s not really exploring the place or immersing yourself in the culture. For example a large number of people may take an all inclusive trip to Mexico which is very nice- I have done it before. However, after visiting a number of different destinations in Mexico last year I realised my all inclusive resort holiday could have been anywhere in the world as nothing about the holiday was Mexican. The sad thing is, for many people, this will be the only way they see Mexico so they miss out on so many amazing things. Another example of this is when people go on holiday to Florida, there are other things to do in Orlando except Disney. I feel sorry for all the people who go on holiday to Orlando and stay in a Disney resort- they travel all that way and don’t even get to see anything in America let alone Orlando. Florida has some of the most amazing beaches in the world but most people never see them. The best way to visit Orlando in my opinion is to rent a villa and a car, there are literally thousands of villas for rent in Orlando for a fraction of the cost to stay in a Disney resort. My Orlando holidays growing up were all about the fancy villas, road trips, walmart trips, beach trips, exploring, malls, theme parks and small local restaurants. Some holiday companies have started to do what they call ‘flydrive’ holidays where you have a package deal but with a flight, rental car and villa which I think is a really good idea.

Airbnb is also an awesome way to travel and find places to stay, some of the most amazing places I have ever stayed in have come from airbnb as you can rent an entire house instead of just staying in a hotel room.

People are slowly starting to change the way they pick their holidays thanks to companies such as airbnb or the ‘flydrive’ idea. There’s still a very long way to go before people move away from the package holiday idea and actually move outside their comfort zone and really experience places.

I recently went to Colombia and there is no travel company who will sell you a package deal to Colombia but it was literally the best trip I have ever been on. There’s nothing better than finding a little local restaurant for dinner or discovering an awesome view whilst hiking up a mountain.

The next time you book a holiday remember to think about what you really want to see and why you want to go to that place. If it’s to visit the country and experience the culture, think about different ways to visit places. Do some research, pinterest is a good place to start then airbnb. You may also find holidays become a lot cheaper if you do them this way.

The rewards of traveling outside your comfort zone

Seasonnaire life: a summer season guide

Obtaining a job abroad can be scary enough without worrying about where you are going to live or what the place is going to be like.

I have created this article to hopefully help you understand what it’s like to live in Greece as living abroad for a long period of time can be very different from visiting a place for a week on holiday.

Greece is a lovely place with beautiful beaches, crystal clear oceans and a year round warm climate.

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You may have visited Greece before on holiday but whilst working a season you have to remember that you are not on holiday, you are there to work and have some fun, but mainly to work. When a resort is in a small town, the town may be relying on the resort to get customers to visit their establishments and each resort may have specific guidelines on where or who, you as an employee should, recommend guests visit (they should let you know this in orientation). Guests will ask you where they should go-many restaurants may offer special deals to employees of the resorts in return for a recommendation. One restaurant, where I did a season, offered all drinks, a meal and starter for €15 whilst others offered discounts. The resorts have long term relationships with the local businesses and they will let you know these offers at orientation. Local businesses like to keep you on their good side but this is a mutual thing, you should be nice to the local people. Local towns in Greece are usually made up of a number of different families who own small businesses, these families may well own a number of businesses. Everyone knows everyone so you may find if you fall out with a local it may come back to be a bad thing on you especially as you maybe there for a six month period.

Your accommodation is usually located around the town or near the resort, you may have to walk a little way to get there from the resort or town depending on where you live. Whilst it is usually safe to walk around the town on your own, always be wary of walking into unlit streets and try where possible to walk with another person, especially at night or in the early morning after a night out. This is same as you would do in any city or town anywhere in the world, there is nothing to worry about safety wise if you are smart.

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It is so easy to spend everyday off just chilling in your room hungover or by the beach or in the local town but there is so much more around to explore. If you are on mainland Greece, get a group of you together and drive somewhere for the day, maybe a deserted beach or a new town-explore because after all you are there to travel and see new places. If you are on a island, hire a car and drive around the island for the day, explore the non tourist places and drive around to find secret places on the island. Whilst it’s okay to have a lazy day, try and do an equal share of exploring and chilling.

So just remember-whilst on a season be nice to the locals and they will do you favours, explore the surrounding areas (don’t just spend all day in bed) an remember to do everything you would do in a normal city, keep safe and smart.

Seasonnaire life: a winter season guide

Obtaining a job abroad can be scary enough without worrying about where you are going to live or what the place is going to be like.

I have created this article to hopefully help you understand what it’s like to live in a snow ski resort as living abroad for a long period of time can be very different from visiting a place for a week on holiday.

Snow ski resorts can be very fun places to live as you are skiing or snowboarding everyday and there’s apes in exclusive and fancy bars. Whilst working in a snow ski resort your company may provide you with meals, accommodation, ski equipment and lift passes which is a bonus but can also be a negative as they may take some of the costs off your wages. Living in ski resorts can be very expensive, drinks in bar and eating out can easily become very expensive and after a few nights out and a couple of drinks and lunches up the mountains, you may have spent your wages for the month.

Some advice from me would be to take food and drink with you up the mountain as many mountain restaurants have picnic eating areas-this can save you a lot of money. Also another tip would be; find the local bars, some ski resorts have seasonnaire bars which tourists may not visit, this can mean cheaper prices and you never know you may meet some fellow seasonnaires from different companies.

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Annys Adventures – Verbier, Switzerland

Ski resort towns are often filled with a large number of companies which own a group of chalets or a hotel. This means there will be a large number of new friends for you to meet and hang out with. Remember as easy as it can be to make friends, it’s pretty easy to fall out with people too and just remember that ski towns can seem small if you have to avoid people for the next 4 months.

Drink, go out and have fun but remember to stay safe, make sure you try where possible to walk home with people especially in the dark. Your accommodation may be a long walk away from the bars so be careful: keep your wits about you and remember a walk home when it’s snowing or when the ground is covered can become a lot more dangerous than it was when you made the outward journey. People get in danger most commonly when they are drunk and walking back in the snow or cold weather.

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Anny’s Adventures – Morzine, France

It’s easy to spend all your time skiing up and down the same runs day in and day out, but most seasonnaire lift passes allow you to ski in different resorts for the day. When and where possible, take advantage of going to different resorts and exploring different runs. In recent times many ski resorts have become connected: in some resorts you can ski in France, Italy and Switzerland in one mountain range. Different ski resorts have different things to offer:some have snow parks, and others have great off piste runs to explore and meet new people.

So remember when you are living in a snow ski resort stay safe, be smart and look out for others. Find local seasonnaire bars to save money and take a packed lunch up the mountain. Go and explore new places, make the most of your time being so close to different places, ski new runs and meet new people. Most of all have fun and make the most of the opportunity you have been given.

Seasonnaire life: a winter season guide

The pressure of adult life

Ever since I can remember I have felt pressure in my life: pressure to fit in, make friends, get good grades and find someone to spend the rest of my life with.

Society indirectly puts pressure on everybody and, whether you realise it or not, society integrates the ideal life into everybody’s minds. This being that you should go to school until you are 16, then go to college and then onto University where you will find your soulmate, get married and at the same time have a career, get promoted and have children. Everybody is aiming for something and has the idea that they could always do better. They compare themselves to other people and, more often than not, no one is content with what they have so no one is happy.

When people fall short of their aims they feel they aren’t good enough, sad and sometimes even depressed.

I encourage everyone to travel; whilst travelling these pressures seem to disappear, you remember what truly matters and you get time to think for yourself and decide what really makes you happy. It allows you to return with a different perspective: a new idea of what you want and knowledge of how others live.

On my travels I have discovered the people who are the happiest and most content are those who come from the poorest countries as they are the ones who make the best of the situations they have been thrown into.

Compare these two ways of living: a man living on a beach in the Caribbean who owns a surf school; he isn’t rich but gets a steady flow of customers who allow him to make a good living. He also gets to surf everyday, meet new people and live in the sunshine. Compare this to an office worker who works 9-5, 5 days a week and earns a decent wage but has been turned down for promotion 3 times and is struggling to find motivation to do the job anymore. Who would you rather be? Who do you think is happier?

I’m not saying either of these ways of life are good or bad as people have their own interests and motivations; for some people working in an office job may be the equivalent of someone else surfing everyday.

I guess the point I’m trying to get across is if your job isn’t your passion, why are you doing it? Why spend the next 50 years unhappy? When you aren’t motivated to wake up in the morning you need to change something. This also refers to a number of different aspects of life such as relationships: if you aren’t happy then get out of it. The most important person in this world is you so you should do what you love. Live without regrets, remember what makes you laugh and remember what makes you happy. If it takes you the cost of a plane ticket to find out what it is: isn’t that worth it?

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Anny’s Adventures Blog, Airport Adventure
The pressure of adult life

Mentally preparing to travel

So you have everything planned: you may have gained a job, booked flights, decided a plan of action, obtained your visas and you are ready to go. Then suddenly it hits you: you are actually going, you may become nervous, anxious, excited and experience a whole number of different emotions. Of course you are going to have mixed emotions; you are about to undertake the trip of a lifetime. You’re going to a different country, a completely different place, where you may not know anyone at all.

It’s perfectly normal to be feeling like this; travelling and leaving home is a big step (maybe even bigger than moving away to University or moving out of home). Not having the comfort factor that your parents or family can drive and get you if you need them can be a scary prospect for some people. Being alone in a country where you don’t know anyone, and you can’t even speak the language, can be daunting. Travelling is a scary thing to do as you can never predict what’s going to happen: you can make plans for your trips, but you will never stick to them. Things will happen which scare you and you will find yourself in situations which you aren’t comfortable with. You can never tell what’s going to happen, but you can prepare for different situations and do your research. Before travelling I would set aside a small amount of time to research the place or places in which you are travelling to. What are the customs/traditions? Where are the places you should avoid? Is it safe to carry personal items or should you keep them hidden? All this research will help you to understand what you need to prepare for. Perhaps you’ll read something which helps you to get out of a situation; you will be grateful that you did some research. Knowledge is key.

Travelling is exciting and you should be happy and looking forward to your trip: it will be unforgettable. Yes you will miss your friends and family, but with social media, wifi and smart phones it’s so easy to communicate no matter where you are. Sending that snapchat from your beach villa or video calling your family whilst skydiving (yes I have seen a video of it) gives your loved ones a way to experience what you are doing.

Annys Adventures – Syvota, Greece

Whilst travelling you will meet a large number of people all in the same position as you are: they will have left home, embarked on an adventure and will sometimes feel lonely. These shared experiences will give you mutual things to talk about. I find that making friends whilst travelling is easier than making friends in a normal situation mainly due to the fact that everyone is in the same position: no one else knows anyone and you can relate to others easily as they are going through or have been through the same things as you.

It’s okay to have a mixed emotions before travelling just as it’s okay to have doubts about going, but I believe life is for living; would you regret not taking the chance to go? How do you know what it will be like if you don’t try? The worst thing you could do is to not take an adventure because you are scared of what may happen. You take risks everyday without even realising: getting in a car, walking and even just getting out of bed; anything could happen to you at anytime. Life is for living: you don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow or around the corner. You also don’t know what’s going to happen if you go travelling, what opportunities it may bring, who you may meet, what you may learn.

In life you only regret the chances you didn’t take!

Mentally preparing to travel