• Ala Grace

New Beginnings In Jasper

We have lived in Jasper Alberta just shy of a month now. We moved here for a working opportunity that would enable us to spend a sunny summer season working and be tourists in the most beautiful of backdrops, when you wake to snow capped mountains paired with lush green trees for as far as the eye can see you really find it quite difficult to complain about really anything. Plus it was not rocket science for us in choosing the most 'Summery' spot possible after living in Winter coldness for 8 months out of the year.

Lake Annette

Our drive to Jasper was quite the trek, an estimated 8.5 hour car drive from Whistler where we were staying at the time. Luckily we were able to swap out drivers so when the expected 8.5 hour drive turned into a full on 12 hour road trip with pit-stops included, we could all still stand one another at the end. Our trusty Pontiac Sports Van got us there in tact!

To any aspiring travellers such as us I would thoroughly recommend looking into your options for transport, particularly if you plan to live abroad for the entirety of your visa. We managed to pick up our mum-van for $500 CAD, mind you it has a few issues and a lot of miles on it already - but it's been nothing but a miracle so far. Especially if you yearn for the freedom to do your our thing and to visit different places, your own mode of transport will help you out dramatically! Just be mindful as to Insurance, it can be quite pricey and was not covered in our travel insurance. Being that we were weary of the cars lifespan we only purchased 6 months insurance, this is also a great amount of time if your plans happen to change. Plus if you don't use it all in the specific time span you just go back and get a refund!

If you are an Aussie and plan to drive around Canada on your own License, think again. After your first 90 days in Canada you are no longer permitted to drive on your Aussie License. So we had to apply for our Canadian drivers license, it sounds quite daunting but don't let it scare you!

Australia and Canada have a reciprocal program so it was quite easy, especially if you have the prior knowledge and do your homework! I had to answer a bunch of theory questions and sit an eye test. You also have to give over your original license, so be prepared for that!

Our trip required a park pass, for those that are unaware of how National Parks work - I will be the first to admit I had no idea - you must have a permit to drive through what looks like border control on your way into Jasper National Park. If you work here like we do, employers will supply you with a letter of employment which will give you your pass for free - although the stickler is that this pass will ONLY allow you to travel for work reasons. Meaning if you wish to explore the Canadian Rockies or really any other natural masterpiece that Jasper holds you have to purchase an additional pass to get around. *insert eye roll here* in the grand scheme of things it really isn't that much of an issue especially given you get to experience scenery like this!

The view from atop of Marmot Basin

Just the normal scenery driving around Jasper

It is said that in the peak of Summer time Jasper is home to thousands of different types of wildlife. So much so that you could be ushering away the Elk from just outside your door, quite like a modern day lolly pop lady not to mention you share your yard with Grizzly Bears! Yes you heard me correctly.. A GRIZZLY BEAR!

On a side note, I haven't seen any just yet but I am certain you will know when I do, for now here is an epic photo of a squirrel Beau took on his phone. These little guys are like flashes of lights the can be seen everywhere but you would be lucky to get as close as he did!

In a bid of honesty I will admit that most of our time has been spent working up a storm but it's just a new routine to get used to and a challenge we have to remain positive about otherwise the homesickness has a tendency to rear its ugly head and that's not good for any of us. These jobs that we obtain whilst travelling are not glamorous one bit, but they do provide a flexibility and sense of freedom. Too often do we take our professional problems home with us and when you do things like Snow lift Operator, Front Desk attendant or Housekeeping ( all of which we have done since travelling around Canada ) they may not be forging a path forward for you but you do get the spare time to learn a new skill and in return figure out what and where you actually want to go in the future. Plus when you are travelling for a greater length of time on a holiday/work visa it is 100x easier to live in staff housing than it is to constantly live from an AirBnB, Hostel or rent a place of your own. For example our current employer gives all our rent back to us - which is $200 a fortnight - at the end of our contract plus a bonus of $2.00 CAD extra for every hour you've worked if you prove yourself and don't burn down the house! That just goes to show that most situations such as staff housing may not be a forever thing but they are a positive one plus it's in no way any different than a University dorm room. Plus if you look around Jasper many of the other Resorts here will offer the same thing. Forced savings for the win!

It is still early days here in our new home but I am eager for the new adventure and look forward to sharing it with you!

Until next time,

- Liz x

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