From Banker To Snowboard Instructor
I used to be a banker, not the perfect job, a lot of stress and not so much to look forward to. But I was earning good money, my job offered me medical insurance, housing allowance… well for sure the most important thing is having quite a good pay. Good enough for me to purchase my first apartment when I was just 25 years old.
I thought that would be it: Keep working in the banking world for the rest of my life, get promoted every two to three years, pursue a law degree, obtain my master degree, get married, move into a bigger apartment, get a nice car, have kids, send them to a private school, retired by my 50s, then go for a trip around the world.
But then, I discovered snowboarding. Everything has changed ever since.
In Hong Kong
I was born in Hong Kong, a place with no snow. One summer, my friend asked if I wanted to join her to go snowboarding at an indoor snowboarding school. There has been an indoor ski resort in Hong Kong and I had no idea! I was curious, so I went there and have a look. To my disappointment, there was no snow, not even ice. It’s basically a giant machine with slopes and that how you learn to snowboard.
From my reaction, you may assume I had a terrible time. And yet, I fell for this sport immediately. I was a size 18 person and I had never imagined I could balance on the board, but I did it. The excitement and freedom, it hit me so hard.
Since then I started a new holiday pattern. I started saving up all my holiday and day offs for my winter. Everybody at work asked me if I can take their weekend shift from Spring to Autumn and of course I did. I was saving up my holidays for one thing and thing only: “my snowboard trip.”
It was very difficult for a full-time banker in Hong Kong to spend like a whole month on the mountain area in Japan, but I managed to do so during those previous years. I stopped buying brand name shoes, dresses and bags. Instead, I bought loads of snowboarding gears, such as snowboarding boots and goggles.
On weekends, I seldom went clubbing with my girls. Most of the time, we gathered up at the indoor ski school, practised a bit, then go for dinner and a little drink. I started heading to the gym and joined spinning lessons. Every single day I worked at the bank but dreamed of the mountains.
Finally, I made the decision!
It was the fourth Christmas since I started snowboarding, for sure I was on the mountain. One of my snowboard instructor friends asked if I could assist them to teach some beginners for two days since one of their instructors was sick. I said okay, and that was the most remarkable moment of my life.
I helped them for two weeks instead of two days. When my holiday ended and got back to Hong Kong by January, I started to feel like I have may just found my dream job. So, I waited for another 11 months, went for one more snowboard holiday, got my snowboard instructor licence and helped my friend to teach for another week.
Then I went home, quit my job, pack my bag and head back to the mountain again. Since then, I’ve been a snowboard instructor. Well, sometimes I teach skiing as well.
The Hardest Part
For sure, it’s the financial part. Not just the pay cut but from a stable paycheque to nothing for two months, because during the summer we could teach in Australia or New Zealand, but very likely from April till the end of June. And from the end of September to early December there would be nothing.
So, I started to teach swimming again. Thanks to my mum, I used to train to be a professional swimmer when I was a kid. I never liked swimming because I pushed way too hard at that time. But yeah, I won several competitions and became a swimming instructor at the age of 16. In fact, I earned quite a good sum of money out of it when I was still in university.
Since I spend so much time on the mountains, I started a blog called SnowboardHow.com, to provide snowboarders advice on planning trips and unbiased gears reviews for my readers. Hopefully, this could be my new career!
I Work Like I Am On Holiday
Honestly, I may not earn as much as I used to, but the good part is that the situation is improving. I really want to make a career out of this!
So, here I am today, as a snowboard instructor. In the past, I worked hard to save up for my holiday. Today, I work like I am on holiday (from a size 18 to size 14-16 girl too)! The most important part is: Every single day, I feel so alive and I look forward to work.
Lorraine Lam is a snowboard and ski instructor, and the founder of SnowboardHow.com.
She has been spending all her winters at different ski resorts in the world, from Europe, North America, Japan to China.
She loves helping snowsports lovers by sharing her knowledge on gears and tips on planning trips.
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