The Camp Suisse recap
I’m not gonna lie, this post has taken me a while to write. I’ve struggled to find the words to encompass just how much this summer has meant for me. Let me explain one thing first: season work is in itself a bit of a dream. I spent my summer working with people who warned me of the dangers of getting trapped in the season work bubble – working in incredible places with like minded people while getting paid a pittance. At the beginning I laughed it off. Sure, it didn’t take me long to see that Camp Suisse was by far the best job I’d ever had, but I had come to Europe for a university exchange, not seeking a job. This part of my year was to be a convenient afterthought, albeit enjoyable.
The more time I spent at Camp Suisse, the more I began to realize how ridiculously content I had become. Anxiety that had plagued me most of 2017 now seemed like a long forgotten bad dream, not to mention the fact that I would stand in complete awe almost daily of how lucky I was to be getting paid to work in the places I did. From excursions like chocolate factories and glaciers to activities like climbing and archery, the job was unreal. Not to mention I got to work with kids again, which I found I had missed since giving up my nannying jobs when I left Sydney. Most importantly, I was surrounded by a group of incredible people, who made the most of every part of living in the Alps. Our days off were spent seeking crags for outdoor climbing, renting boats on Lake Geneva or going on spontaneous hikes just because we could. In the evenings, we set up volleyball nets, versed the campers at soccer or took advantage of the indoor climbing walls on site.
I unplugged from my phone, barely saw my laptop and saw the muscles in my legs grow from hiking expeditions with the kids or late night climbs. I missed being outdoors when we supervised excursions to places like Cailler chocolate factory, and as cool as the excursions were, preferred the activities on or around site to the long bus trips into the valley just so I could stay in the mountains.
About halfway through my summer, I wrote a stack of postcards. In every one, I wrote that I was the most content I had ever been. I was working with kids, spending time outside. I was happy, healthy (save the carb-heavy meals and chocolate bars we got for lunches) and tanned for the first time in my life. Most importantly, somewhere in between all of this I began to get my confidence back. Having already spent a semester in Reims with people who made me feel so loved, this summer was the icing on the cake.
I won’t lie, there were obviously bad days. Stressed and exhausted from dealing with kids or just low on energy and sleep, sometimes the 7:30am wake up was a challenge. On one of my last nights I had the worst anxiety of the entire season (in retrospect it was probably nerves about leaving compounded with exhaustion from pack down week). The worst thing about any low day was how frustrated I would get at myself for not being a 9/10 in what I consider the most beautiful place in the world. How dare my brain be suddenly and irrationally anxious when I was living the most objectively perfect life.
At the end of the day, we’re speaking about 3 low days out of 3 months at Camp Suisse which honestly has to be a record for me. I am calmer, more confident and positive about whatever the future holds. I’ve left Switzerland with amazing memories, an renewed obsession for the outdoors and some very impressive tanlines. But I hope above all of these, which will fade inevitably over time (especially the tan), the mentality that I brought back from this summer lasts.