How long have you lived in Canada?
I came to Canada at the end of 2014, so approximately two years and six months. It’s worth noting that I went home to visit for three months at the end of 2016 (which was awesome, I enjoyed it more than I could’ve imagined).
Where do you live and where have you lived?
During this time I’ve lived exclusively in one of the worlds most renowned ski resorts, Whistler. Although my initial plan was to spend only one ski season here then move around to some other resorts, living in this town proved more expensive than I initially thought. That being said this is probably one of the best places in the world to be ‘stuck’ in!
How old are you?
At this moment I’ve completed nearly 26 laps of the Sun.
Throughout my childhood I moved houses, suburbs, even countries multiple times so it’s hard to really give a solid answer here. If I had to choose one I’d say that Noosa Heads in Queensland, Australia would be my home town as I spent the most time there!
What made you decide to make the move to Canada?
It had a lot to do with the head space that I was in at the beginning of 2014. I consistently found myself unhappy and unmotivated and I felt that a change was needed, I wanted to do something for myself. The decision to come to Canada just so happened to be the thing that ended my four year long distance relationship with my German girlfriend. I can’t blame her, we were dwindling anyway. As to why I thought a trip to Canada would provide the relief I sought? I could remember the amazing experience I had when I came here for three months in 2008 as a graduation trip with my best mate at the time. Since then I hadn’t experienced anything similar in terms of internal happiness and I sought to recapture that.
How has the experience been for you?
Lot’s of ups and downs, generally nothing like I anticipated it to be, however I feel that it has in some ways helped me become a stronger person who is more accepting of myself and others. I’ve felt myself mature both physically and mentally whilst I’ve been here, although it’s hard to tell whether that is a result of the natural progression of time, this trip and the new environment I find myself in, the struggles I’ve had with mental health, or a combination of all those factors. Do I think the way I perceive life would’ve been different if I’d stayed at home? Almost undoubtedly yes. I feel that breaking away and living on my own (for the most part), separated from the creature comforts and resoundingly strong social networks of home helped me along the path of defining myself.
What has been the hardest part?
Almost ironically, the trip that I’d idolized in my head as the thing that would be the cure for my inner demons served to only fuel their flames recklessly, it was like someone took a container of gasoline to them. I think only just now am I beginning to realise the fragility of my happiness and well-being, and how changes like the one I made can seriously throw me off. I want to stress that this is likely a personal thing, friends of mine know my quirks, however I barely realised them myself. Nearly every day in high school I came home and did the same routine. I suppose the writing was really on the wall in that regard. That being said I’m glad that I’ve had the opportunity to realize them and challenge them!
Being in an up & down relationship, living with 14 people in a relatively tiny house, being away from family and friends and struggling to make new ones, and financially trying to stay afloat in this town are some of the things I believe contributed to my psychological downfall.
It’s surprisingly hard to make stable long term friends here unless you’re into the party scene, which I am not. People who live and work in Whistler are generally divided into two groups, seasonairs and long term locals. I found that locals don’t put effort into developing relationships with the seasonairs, viewing it as a waste of time as seasonairs are generally only here for six months to a year before they move on or move home. These seasonal workers are the partiers, and it’s almost as if one has to stay here for a certain amount of time before qualifying for the more relaxed, mature, local crowd.
What has been the best part?
With the bad comes the good, and I must say there is quite a lot of good here for those who wish to seek it. Whistler (and moving a long way from home) has provided me an opportunity to really grow up and fend for myself in every sense of the word, and as such I’ve developed a much more justified sense of confidence and self-respect. I’ve also just started to truly understand the importance of friends and family, and it took me going home after a lengthy period away to realise it.
The way of life that I’ve been exposed to here in Whistler is very similar to back home, yet there are some key differences that I’ve taken great positivity from. I can say that Canadians, or at least the people who live in Whistler, are probably the most polite and caring people that I’ve met in the world. Never have I been exposed to a community where one can feel so truly safe (okay yeah, there are bears and cougars, but I’m talking about the people!!). There is a Whistler community Facebook page with around 10,000 members which I belive is vital to the harmonious culture here. One can find fun events to attend, make new ski buddies, be alerted of local emergencies, and get advice on basically any conceivable question regarding the local area. A service that I’ve benefitted from once was when I left my wallet at the bus stop (filled with cash), it was found and posted and within a day I had it back! I could go on for ages about all the awesome things that come with living in arguably one of the most beautiful towns in the world, but you’ll just have to come here and see for yourself.
Have you found any cultural differences that have been hard to adjust to?
Different rules on the pool table (joking, they’re better, it’s playing against Aussies over here who don’t understand them that’s the hardest, two shots for a foul???)
Did you find it difficult to organise things like accommodation, work etc.?
Accommodation is notoriously hard to find in Whistler, whereas work is simple! Businesses struggle to find employees because the employees struggle to find somewhere to live. I could walk around the village for an hour and find 2-3 jobs if I so wished. On the other hand, I could search for 2-3 weeks and have nowhere to live! This is an issue that is a direct result of the latest surge in popularity of short term holiday accomodation. Thanks Air BnB!
Would you recommend the experience to others?
I would definitely recommend this experience to people who have the strength of will to stick to their future plans and not get absorbed into an infinite life of being a ski bum vagabond. As mentioned above, Whistler has quite a large party scene and drugs are cheap and easy to obtain here. All I say is be careful and make sure that you find the right influences, I have seen people who had bright futures be completely derailed here.
How long do you plan on staying in Canada?
As long as possible! I can easily see myself developing a successful career and having a family in this awesome place!
Jordan's Top Tip!
I'd say that getting a car/van when you first get to Canada is the biggest one. Get it before you spend all your money, it's probably the most important tool to enable you to enjoy the vast outdoors this country has to offer.
So! Do you see yourself living it up in the ever growing expat community in Canada? Leave a comment below and be sure to check back soon for more expat stories and advice!
If you want to see more of Jordan's adventures, check out his Instagram, @jordanjurss.
Until next time,