Ferda Girls

Oh my god I love bikes. Like, a ridiculous amount. Like, silly giggling when I hit jumps and land them smoothly.

I smile when I load my bike onto the lift and sit down on the chair, ready to “climb” the mountain.
I laugh out loud when Katie cracks a joke, breaking any nervous tension our group may have.
I cheer when Bee conquers her latest obstacle without falling.
I beam when I watch Dani head into any technical trail, without fear.
I grin when Mel hits the trail C-more and enjoys it, breaking through her mental block.

These four girls have changed the way I feel about riding. I have fallen so deeply in love with it and them this year, and for that I am so goddam happy that I made the decision to stay in Whistler.

20246492_829196333633_3665411994360012889_n

I can’t speak highly enough about the Women’s Night program that Whistler Bike Park has established. Giving girls all over the world (locals and visitors alike) a chance to be coached through some of the biggest and best trails of the world is something incredible. We also get to team up with the girls at the same level and feel comfortable in each lesson, which helps a great deal.

IMG_2387

IMG_2330

To our coach, Jeremy, I am so stoked I forced myself into your group. You taught me confidence, which has changed everything about the way I ride. I have managed to get myself down some trails that I would have never imagined I could a year ago. Not only do I make it down, I do it well and I have a damn good time doing it.

IMG_2388

This year, thanks to Jer and these amazing gals, I accomplished my season goals – hitting A-Line and making our way down Top of the World. TOTW was something else, a 5,000ft descent from the peak of Whistler Mountain with any kind of trail you could imagine included.

IMG_2333

IMG_2331

On nights when we couldn’t make it to the park, we still got together for shenanigans. Trail riding, frisbee golf, drinks and figuring out the Escape Room are extracurricular activities we also enjoy… in case you were wondering.

20374662_10155617013819044_3342064787466110762_n20374216_829196393513_1806058131008514203_n

The banter, the laughter, the jokes, the snack stops, the adoration and joy in this group is something I’ll always remember from summer ’17. Bring on next year!

IMG_2389IMG_2386

Love you crazy kids, my silly sock wearing team.
Hanbel.
x

 

Advertisements

Aloha-mora

After an absolute whirlwind three week trip away, we have returned to our humble abode. It feels damn good to be back you guys, even though it’s rained a lot and there’s not a lot happening in this little town. Anyway, I digress, the point of this post was to tell you all about our pitstop in Hawaii!

After quite an early start, our last Qantas lounge layover (GOD I will miss these, damn Andrew and his Gold status expiring!), minimal sleep, a lovely taxi driver and early check in, we settled into our hotel in Honolulu. Side note: we flew out of Perth at 7am and landed in Honolulu at 6am… on the same day.

Safe to say the first day was long and full of naps. The next few were more eventful, although not exactly the holiday we were after…

img_1369img_1370img_1376img_1377

Other than napping, day one essentially consisted of eating and walking. We grabbed a pitaya bowl and french toast, bought Andrew a new phone, visited our favourite American institution Buffalo Wild Wings, and wandered back for a bedtime my grandmother would be proud of.

First impressions of the city left us a little underwhelmed, I had been warned that Waikiki could be compared to Surfer’s Paradise and I’m afraid to say that I could see those similarities. Nonetheless, we set our alarms for the next morning to prepare us for our North Shore tour.

img_1380

The Surf Bus picked us up in town and set off in a northerly direction, and like any good tour guide gave us little tidbits of information along the way. He explained how our day would run, giving us options of activities in the morning (bike riding, a walk to the waterfall in the national park, snorkelling, surfing) and again in the afternoon (SUP or kayak, hanging out in the town of Haleiwa town).

img_1382img_1385

We opted to hire bikes, ride to the waterfall for an incredibly refreshing swim and head back along the coast, checking out famous surf spots such as Pipeline and Sunset.

The Waimea Valley National Park was gorgeous and much more like the tropical Hawaii I was expecting. The humidity settled in as we walked towards the waterfall and diving into the tiny lake provided some much needed relief.

We popped by a taco truck for lunch, before being picked up by the bus and driven to our new spot for some stand up paddle boarding. Goddam, I forget how much of a workout this sport is. It’s incredible for improving your balance, exercising your core and working your arms. Our reward came in the form of giant sea turtles gliding underneath us and we pushed back to shore.

img_1392

For those who didn’t share our experience, the bus made a stop on the way back at a beach renowned for basking sea turtles. You have to stay 6 feet away and are absolutely not allowed to touch them, but that works for us nature fans as we got to observe this dude from afar.

The Surf Bus provided an awesome day for us, I am quite the fan of the North Shore. We could have done with a little more action, but at the same time we both slept very well after this little adventure.

img_1396

We’d previously walked past a little carpark hiring out mopeds and trikes, and after a long sleep in and third consecutive Acai bowl breakfast, we picked one up to explore the coast a bit more.

img_1398img_1400

Leaving Andrew in charge of the driving (I know what I’m good at, and driving ain’t that!) I got to point in the general direction of where we wanted to go. As our trike chugged along at a measly speed of 35km/hr we stuck our heads out and caught glimpses of the incredible coastline.

img_1410
I’m a backpack kinda gal now, thanks to Whistler. 

img_1413

We got chatting to another couple of tourists from the US (also on embarrassingly small mopeds) who told us to head back and check out the cliff jumping at the China Walls, in Hawaii Kai. By the time we made it the swell had set in and there was no chance of us taking a dip, but it was still a pretty sweet little spot. So thought teenage boy who was taking a series of modeling-esque photos of his girlfriend while we were there…

img_1415

A cocktail (I say one, because we basically sculled the drinks so we could leave the overcrowded bar) for sunset, take-away dinner, a much regretted Haagen-Daaz sundae and “The Jungle Book” on DVD concluded our third day on the island.

For our final morning we woke early to take the bus up to Diamond Head Crater. Already heaving with tourists at 7am, we joined the ranks and climbed our way to the top. The hike is set up very well, the climb is never too hard and there are plenty of break spots for those struggling. The view from the top is spectacular, and if you tune out the loud music some people play and the endless selfies being taken, it was rather serene.

img_1428img_1429img_1433

I hate to judge a place after only three days, but I’m going to anyway. While the people of Hawaii are just lovely, and the North Shore is something special, I left feeling a little disappointed. I’m sure our experience in Waikiki can’t be compared to other islands and even smaller towns, but this is not what we were expecting. We struggled to find anything resembling authentic food, we struggled to even find restaurants that could seat us. We were overwhelmed with the amount of tourists and the high end shopping metres from the beach. When I pictured Hawaii, I wasn’t thinking of Chanel on the beach and Tiffany’s after a swim.

I’m glad we went, at least to break up the long trip home and get over some jet lag before jumping back into work. I’d like to visit again (although perhaps Maui or Kauai), but there are a lot of other places I’d head to first.

I don’t want to discourage anyone from flying over though, if you’re after a holiday of lying on the beach, endless shopping opportunities and hearty American cocktails and food, then this is your jam. I think ours a geared a little more towards the adventurous and rustic way of life (thanks again Whis!).

We are happy to be home though, and if nothing else this holiday has taught us that this is the place we are meant to be. Now bring on the snow!!

Much love,
Hanbel.
x

How to Have a Lovely Day

Oh man, I’ve been a bit of a mess this week. It’s been a couple of emotional days; struggling at work, missing home, falling out of love with the bike park. BUT things are happening, and it’s changing around for me (I promise to give more details very soon).

In light of the last couple of days, I woke up today ready to change my mindset. I’ve started the day the best way I know how: went for a run, did some yoga, had a big coffee and, of course, peanut butter.

I also wanted to shed some light on some of the amazing things about this town that we have been loving over the last two months. There’s always a silver lining, and whistler has plenty!

  1. Peak 2 Peak

IMG_0800IMG_4939

One lazy Sunday morning, we took ourselves up on the Peak 2 Peak and it was phenomenal!

I’m not even sure what path we went on, but we were attempting to find the snow walls. After half an hour or more of walking up hill in high altitude (safe to say our lungs were in struggle town!), we made it to the summit. Next time, we’ll go the right way and have a proper look and play around.

IMG_0827IMG_0843.jpg

Harley, you can pay me for advertising any time πŸ˜‰

IMG_4965

This was a good day.

2. Splitz Grill, beeeeeessssttttt burgers!

IMG_0849

3. Callaghan Valley

IMG_0944.jpg

This was part of the Jeep tour I got to do last week, I felt like a very lucky gal to be taken out here and shown some more views of this incredible slice’o’heaven – at sunset no less!

IMG_0958

4. Cheap drinks πŸ™‚

IMG_0911

While the food can be stupidly expensive, it is teaching us how to shop economically and not to waste anything. We had a very lucky life in Perth, but I do think we were a little greedy and spoilt.

Having said that – alcohol is much cheaper. With all of the happy hours in town, drink specials and cheap liquor stores, we are never short of a good drop πŸ˜‰

5. The cuddly bears

IMG_0933

Jokes, do not cuddle a bear. They will kill you. But they are super cute, and I’m still not sick of seeing them around the mountain!

6. Beavertails

IMG_0929

I really wanted to dislike these. I was hoping they would be far too sweet and gross. I was right, but if you go halves with a mate it’s a fun little treat! Once every six months will do though…

There’s plenty more to love about Whistler, like when the sun finally comes out and you grab a six pack and picnic, ride down to a lake (there are many options), bask in the sunshine and stare at the mountains. Or when you and a mate from home go on a hike through the most luscious green forests, talking non-stop for two hours straight. Or when you come home from a long day at work and your loft is toasty warm, you’ve discovered another season of Archer on Netflix and you settle in with a glass of wine or cup of tea.

I also love that I get to share it all with this amazing dude, one of the most patient and positive people I know. He’s constantly trying to see the best in any situation and motivates me to do the same. Love ya kiddo!

IMG_0836

Hanbel.
x

 

Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah

Okay, best thing about my job: Fam Tours.
A fam tour, or familiarisation tour, is a chance for all local businesses to get front desk staff of whistler to experience their tours. FOR FREE.

Essentially, as we are the face of the company, and the staff who spend the most time interacting with guests, it’s important for us to understand the activities that we are recommending to them. If we have a great experience, then we are much more likely to encourage every guest who checks in to go to that particular business.

Works for me, I get to see and do whistler for very, very cheap πŸ˜‰

Last Thursday kick-started my week of awesome, in the most intense way: theΒ Sasquatch Ziptrek. Spanning from midstation on Blackcomb mountain to midstation on Whistler mountain, this zipline spans over 2km and can reach speeds of over 100km/hr. It was pretty sweeeeeeeeeeet!

IMG_0794

I really should have saved that one until last, because going to do the TAG Superfly a few days later was a mistake. Although the company seemed more organised, and we got a chance to do four ziplines out at Cougar mountain, everything seemed so slow!

It did give me a chance to take more photos though, and the lack of rain helped me out a bunch.

IMG_0862IMG_0865IMG_0867

We were taken up to Cougar Mountain via ZRZ, because Whistler doesn’t do anything half-arsed.

IMG_0871IMG_0873IMG_0875IMG_0881IMG_0884

One bonus was getting to hold hands with the lady ziplining next to me on our last run. She was so cute, and it made her day to do that.

It doesn’t end with the ziplining though… Just yesterday, Crina and I also got to take part in one of the coolest activities in Whistler – bobsledding!

IMG_0897

So many helmets, so little time!

IMG_0894IMG_0896

The tour started with a walk down one section of the course, which was such a privilege. As the fastest course in the world (a fact which will never change by the way), it was insane to even see it, let alone get up, close and personal.

We were given our team, our gear, safety instructions and away we went! (With a driver on the back of course..)

IMG_0909IMG_0902

This experience was absolutely breathtaking. Like, literally. Getting up to a top speed of 88km/hr, feeling almost 3 g-force and finishing the course in 51 seconds was enough to take your breath away.

IMG_0906IMG_0904IMG_0908

I can’t wait to give this a go in the winter, but for now… summer is making me super happy!

Hanbel.
x

 

 

 

 

I Choo Choo Choose You

Hellooooo friends and family! Still alive over here, kicking life goals and generally enjoying every moment. #sorrynotsorry

I’ve been working for a couple of weeks now, and absolutely loving it. There’s tonnes to learn and so many different processes that I’m not used to (not to mention that Whistler is still unfamiliar to me), but it feels so good to get the brain working again. It’s a great team to work with, our boss is one of the kindest and funniest people I’ve met and I’ve also had the pleasure of training with two other girls around my age.

On on of our days off, one of my co-worker gals, Crina, and I decided to make use of the beautiful weather and head off on a little hike.

IMG_0734

We made our way down to Function Junction in search of the train wreck. Following the trails through intense greenery and beautiful trees, we found our way to the train line.

IMG_0737

Where we played around, because why not?

IMG_0742IMG_0743IMG_0744

Nailed it.

The trail was super easy, and only around 5km long – a nice introduction for us both.

IMG_0740

Time for a little back story about the wreck… In 1956 a train came off it’s tracks trying to make up time and speeding along an area in repair. The nearby families and community decided to leave the boxcars there and subsequently set it up as an authorised graffiti zone.

IMG_0763IMG_0746IMG_0747IMG_0755

Every boxcar is covered inside and out with artwork, with many incredible faces staring back at you.

IMG_0756IMG_0760IMG_0761

You’re also in the middle of a forrest, clamouring over roots and around trees to take it all in. It was pretty spectacular and such a unique set up.

Forgoing the train tracks, we took the trail back to discover Cheakamus River and it’s gorgeous waterfall. Seriously, this place does not get any better!

IMG_0764IMG_0768IMG_0770

This is life for me these days; working with some cool cats, finally making money instead of spending it all, and getting out biking or hiking in my spare time.

Andrew updates:
He has started coaching in the park, and can’t wipe the smile off his face. He has started to discover the fun side to tipping, and even got tipped in beer yesterday. I’m super proud of the effort he’s been putting in over the last couple of weeks.

Whistler is the kind of town that doesn’t open until 10am, doesn’t get going until the afternoon and parties late into the night. It’s also the kind of place where nothing happens unless you make it happen. Andrew has been down at the base of the mountain most mornings, organising lessons for other coaches, shadowing their classes and now getting his own gigs. He’s consistent and reliable and I think the senior staff are starting to notice and reward him for it.

Happy happy days over here! Much love,
Hanbel.
x

Lights Will Guide You Home

You guys, doesn’t it feel a million years ago that I wrote this post?

Almost two years later, I’m having dΓ©jΓ  vu like crazy. Moving into a home has been the biggest excitement and relief. Being able to actually unpack my backpack after 6 weeks on the road was such a privilege. I blasted some Beyonce, made myself a cuppa and felt right at home almost instantaneously.

Andrew finished up his course yesterday and MOVED IN. I was starting to go a little stir crazy and had definitely had enough of my own company, so yesterday was a really good day.

A couple of you have been asking for snaps of the new crib, and I always deliver. So, without further adieu;

IMG_0710

The spot is studio style, all in one big room. I’m assuming it used to be the basement or lower floor of this HUGE house, which the owners have converted into a small home with the addition of a kitchen and bathroom. Above is the bedroom/lounge room with a TV unit and plenty of floor space calling for more furniture.

The sheets and duvet cover provided had seen better days, but luckily Blake and Tash dragged me along to Walmart in Squamish for some necessities!

IMG_0711

This be the rest of our place. I love that the kitchen and dining area are a little separate from the bedroom. It’s a decent size and works for us! Our communication skills could do with some work though, we’ve somehow ended up with two packets of paprika and three of cumin. Baby steps…

IMG_0712

Scoping the Pique newspaper has turned into my favourite hobby. Reading the upcoming events has turned me onto free yoga at Lululemon, ladies nights in the park and a plant sale in the village. I picked up these babies for cheap and find that they’re helping us make this place a little happier.

IMG_0713

The owners of this place actually live in the same house as us (we have a separate entry and hardly ever see them), and are the nicest little family. They’re looking after us really well so far, by installing a new lock on the shed (so all our bikes have a home) and letting us use this table on our front patio.

IMG_0708

This is essentially the view from our driveway, and I’m not mad about it all. From certain angles you can see Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb, this place is insane.

IMG_0721IMG_0722

I’m even getting used to filter coffee, mainly because I haven’t been paid yet and life is expensive in Whistler. Kicking back with a cup, reading blogs with Spotify on the go is making me one happy gal.

IMG_0718

Life in Whistler ain’t so bad, especially when this is the view riding home from an awesome ladies’ night. I’ve started work too, and I promise to give you details soon. For now though, just know that I already love it and am getting goooooood feelings about this place. Hope you’re all well!

Hanbel.
x

 

Home Sweet Home

Well, this is home. I’m not mad about it at all.

Whistler is a pretty speculator place. Yes, it’s touristy, and yes, Australians flock here, but it’s for good reason. No matter where you turn, you are greeted by mountains, creeks and astonishing views.

IMG_0609

We’ve hit the ground running here, Andrew went straight into his course from the moment we arrived (he’s training to be a mountain bike coach, for those who don’t know). I’ve been lucky enough to crash with Tash and Blake (friends from home), which has made life so much easier.

I have also been lucky enough to score a job in Whistler already, working for a company who organise holiday rentals, activities, restaurant bookings etc. for higher-end travellers. I start in a couple of weeks and am actually pumped to get back into full time work.

IMG_0612

In the meantime, I’m taking myself on small hikes and rides, checking out the village and just hanging out with my new besties!

IMG_0614

Being a tourist town, life is a little more pricey up here. Groceries in particular, are really making me a sad panda. Though, we have found one perk. 1.5L of red wine for $15. So we might just live off potatoes and wine from now on…

IMG_0632

Why do I always pull this face?

The mountain bike park opened up this weekend, and the village has been flooded with riders in all shapes and sizes. We’ve enjoyed a couple of afternoons in the sunshine watching them all come down the hill. The kids who ride with no fear, flying down the trail, are so incredible to watch!

On Andrew’s day off we took the bikes out to a smaller, cross country style area. Even though my lungs got a huge shock, it felt sooooo good to be back on the bike!

IMG_0628IMG_0631

Just this morning I took myself off to Lululemon’s free yoga session, and later today we’re going to hit up a Farmer’s Market down the hill. There’s always something happening or something new to discover, which is helping us all stay positive while performing the arduous task of finding somewhere to live. Whistler housing is insane, there are not enough houses to go round, and we’re struggling a little at the moment. Finger’s crossed something pops up soon!

IMG_0635
Just gotta keep that zen πŸ˜‰

Happy yoga vibes,
Hanbel.
x