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living the dream

Updated: Sep 26, 2022

Photo: living the dream, snowboarding and beautiful scenery, that sort of thing

Feb 2014

I was living the dream.

I had a great little apartment in the chocolate box village of St. Jakob in the Austrian Tyrol. My work was easy, long hours but easy. I spent my leisure time snowboarding or working out. After my Friday shift (midnight), I would hurry to a local bar. It was popular with seasonaires because of the cheap(er) beer. It was crammed, as always, stuffy, smokey, deafeningly noisy and fizzing with manic energy. I took on the unofficial role of glass collector (I was paid free beer). I loved it. For the first time in decades, I had nothing to worry about, no responsibilities or commitments. I was free.

One particularly carcinogenic night I took my bronchi outside for respite. I sat on a small wall and admired the beauty of the moonlit snow-covered mountain above me.

The door crashed open, and five boys burst out, drunk, rowdy, laughing, shouting and ready to partay. I knew all of them. “Hey William, do you want to come to … “ whatever club they were going to. “No, but thanks for the offer” I replied with a big grin … “have a great night” I waved. One of them turned to me and said, ever so quietly, “if you don’t like it here, why don’t you go home”?

If only he had stayed, then I would explain.

Photo: me snowboarding, that sort of thing

If he had stayed, I would have told him I wasn’t going to the club because I was just about to go to my apartment. In the morning, I would have a sleep-in because I could. I would walk to a local shop and use their free wifi to post photo updates on Instagram and FB, me snowboarding amidst beautiful scenery, that sort of thing.

Photo: a double shot coffee with cream and donut for breakfast

I would have a double shot coffee with cream and donut for breakfast and then I would leave my cup and plate on the table because I could.

Photo: part of the two kilometre walk on the cross country track in to town.

I would walk the crunchy snow and tree-lined two-kilometre old cross-country ski route into town. I would spend two hours in the gym on a serious full body workout, cardio and weights. In the afternoon, I will swim, use saunas, and relax in the quiet area while admiring the snow-covered slopes. Later, I will eat pizza and enjoy a single glass of red wine in a fine Italian establishment. Afterwards, I will walk the three kilometres, along barely lit streets back to my apartment. And finally, I will sit on my bed, in the peace and quiet of my little room and I will watch a film of my choice.

If he had stayed, I would have told him I was living the dream.

Oh yes ... living the dream.

There is a difference between solitude and loneliness.

Maggie Smith

#pilgrim #austria #seasonaire

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