Bonjour, Au Revoir, à plus tard

While we write this, Lillian and Morgan are in Les Granges (FR) and Stephen is visiting family in the south of England. Stephen is out of France for 10 days, he picked up his father in the Netherlands and went to visit Family in Storrington, UK. Four weeks ago, we said goodbye to our last guests in the chalet. As of the first week of January, we had guests and worked 6 day’s a week. Unfortunately, Stephen got Covid again but less bad than the first time. It saved him from having an extra shot of vaccine. Lillian probably also had Covid but did not got sick at all. It was a long time ago we both had to work on a contract. The alarm went off every morning at 7AM, 6 days a week. As you can image– it was an exhausting time!  Hahaha just kidding of course but we had a busy life the last 6 months. When we finished after our morning shift around 11AM, we went up the mountain for skiing or snowboarding. Almost every day we were up the mountains! The evening shift started at 6PM. Normally we finished around 10PM. We welcomed over 200 guests during the season in our chalet. We tried to give all of our guests an incredible time during their holiday. For many, it was over two years since they had been on holiday. This certainly helped on the positive vibe we had in the chalet during the season. I think we are able say that our guests were happy with us as chalet hosts. 🙂 This resulted in some nice tips. 70% of our guests were English and the remaining 30% Dutch. We had a big variety of guests. Student groups, families, former colleagues and groups of friends. For some we were “just” the chalet hosts, but for the big majority we were much more than that. With some guests we had a lot of fun and laughter. They made our weeks going fast and very enjoyable. The time we spend in France gave us inspiration and motivation to start our own company. Last year we bought a second hand SLR camera and a drone and thanks to the help of our dear friend Herman we started to take photos of chalets and campgrounds to provide new content. Stephen practiced a lot with the camera already. Our clients where very positive about the outcome of our pictures and we could take photos of 8 chalets for the company we worked for during the winter season. We also made photos of a hotel in Peisey and we found another chalet which wanted new content. We had a lift-off! Before we came to French, we created a new website including content, SEO etc. for a campground in The Netherlands (www.camperplaatskaleduinen.nl), this included a reservation system which the campground did not had. The website and the new content created much more traffic and reservations. We had happy customers. Pitch on…. *If anybody needs a website, advice about revenue management/marketing or need new content for their website, please do let us know!* Pitch off…. A new chapter in our adventures. We want to life the “free” live and we hope with our own company we are able to do this. Finding a balance between work and freedom. During our travel we will look for extra consultancy jobs in the countries we are in but we hope to create a base with contracted work for longer periods. We learned a lot during this winter when it comes to snowboarding and skiing. We created a decent level with skiing. We are able to come down any blue and red slopes, not quick but we are getting there. We still prefer snowboarding. Especially when there is powder snow! Our great neighbours showed us around and slowly we started to known the good off-piste routes. Going off-piste is what we loved the most. Even Morgan started to show us around (her French teacher knew the best off-piste areas!). We went off black slopes and then she would take us off-piste into the forest. Madame flies down the mountains were we sometimes had to hold our breath seeing her coming down like that. After 5 months being in the snow, we were still not bored of mountains, snowboarding and skiing.  We hope to find work next year in the Dolomite – Italy and do another season in the snow. Our goal then is to learn ski Rando (tour skiing but not before you walked up the mountain on skis…). When we were in Iran, Pakistan or India we did not see friends or family joining us for a holiday. But when we were in the French Alps at a ski resort a lot of friends and family showed up… We loved every minute it! During Christmas Lillian’s parents, sister Wiranda – partner Egbert & kiddies were here. After that we had a lot of friends came and visit us. Han and Cindy, Mark & Wendy, Marty, Randy & kids, Sander/Jasper/Jeffrey/Vincent & friends and finally Hans, Judith & “ kiddies ”. We hope they all come back next year when we are in the Dolomites. At last Morgan had a great time at school but the first weeks were a little bit hard on her. The teacher didn’t spoke a lot of English and neither did the kids in her class. It was difficult to connect with the other kids. Luckily, she made a friend who spoke English during the breaks at the playground. That made her like school much more. Morgan’s level of French grown quite a bit and she is doing really well. Sometimes she starts to talk French towards us and she knows we are not understanding a lot of it. She has her own secret language. The roles are reversed (we always had a secret language for her) and she loves to confront us with that…. Last week was the last time she went to the French school. She got all kind of gifts from all the kids in her class (we don’t think they know we live in a camper!). It was super good that she went to school the last 6 months. Playing with other kids, disagreeing with each other and failing in love with 2 kids from her class. Luckily, if we ask her if she does not mind to go back into the camper and start traveling again, she says no very convinced. As of next week, she will go back the Dutch schoolbooks and she can start complaining again that we are very strict parents when it comes to homework! In the beginning of June, we will leave La Grande D’Alice after 6 months. At the end of April our contract ended and we were able to rent the chalet we lived in for an extra month. We wanted to see more of the surroundings beside the ski area. The French alp region is large and there is much to discover, especially in spring time. Two weeks ago, Lillian’s parents came to visit us. They wanted to see Morgan, and we were the extra benefits … We took them to various places. From mountain walks to sightseeing in the beautiful French town of Annecy. It’s always nice to have them around and luckily, they like to visit us. They like to see how we spend our days. They are really openminded people who believe it’s good we take these adventurous steps in our lives. Sometimes it can be difficult for them, especially because they are missing their granddaughter a lot. Mid-June we will take the boat from Barcelona to Sardinia. Our plan is to discover Italy the next coming year. We will stay in Sardinia for at least 1 month and after that we will go to the main land. We don’t really plan much. We definitely want to find a place to do volunteer work again. We will see if we can find work or assignments for the winter season in Dolomites. When we are writing all this down, we get butterflies in our stomach again for all the beautiful things to come. We still get excited about discovering new places and meeting new people! Last week Stephen went to England to visit his family together with his dad. His father has three brothers. One is living in England, two of them in the USA. Stephen’s father is 83 years old, two of his father’s brothers close to 90 and the “Benjamin” of the family 78. When the four men where young they lost their mother. Stephen’s grandmother died while giving birth to a fifth child at the age of 40. The unborn child also past away. It certainly made a big impact on the family. Stephen’s grandfather was left alone with four boys just after the war. After a couple of years, two of the boys moved to the USA and Stephen’s father to The Netherlands. To get them all together is hard and it only happened ones after the first brother left England. Last weekend three of them were together and the fourth one connected through Skype. There was a 2-hour meeting online with the four of them. To see so many family together made it very special. It doesn’t happen a lot. During the online meeting Morgan gave us a WhatsApp video call and she was very surprised and impresses about all the family she has. She couldn’t believe that there is about forty plus Fam. Wise, living in the USA. It was a special time being together, big thanks lovely family! We still have three weeks in the Alps before leaving towards Italy and we will enjoy them to the max. We definitely will come back to visit all the nice people/ friends we met in the area and go back to the amazing mountains of Les Arcs. Ella is standing in front of the chalet and she can’t wait to start rolling again. Hope everybody is doing well. All the best and a big hug from us.

3 Replies to “Bonjour, Au Revoir, à plus tard”

  1. Leuk om jullie op deze manier te volgen!m wn het is weg leuk om te lezen. Het geluk straalt van het papier af! Enjoy.

    Like

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