I N T E R L A K E N
At the end of January Matt and I went to Switzerland. We flew from Birmingham to Geneva then caught the train to Interlaken. From there we were driven to the village of Wilderswil. Set between mountains and filled with traditional timber chalet-style homes it looked every bit the picture of an old-fashioned alpine postcard.
Since returning I’ve felt hesitant to upload all the photos I took and share them on here. I think I’ve felt overwhelmed as to where to begin; how to even go about capturing somewhat accurately all the experiences we had. And maybe a small part of me wants to hold onto it a while longer; keeping it just between us. One of those beautiful and bizarre adventures, that binds you to another person through a unique shared experience.
Anyway I think it’s about time I said something. I’ll start at the beginning…
Towards the end of 2018, Matt was offered a short-term, seasonal job as a kayak instructor in Switzerland. It came out the blue and we had a few days to discuss whether or not he was going to take it. Of course, we were shocked and delighted and balled over at the sheer feeling we’d won some kind of life-lottery. But then we became serious; discussing all the things we’d need to do to prepare and whether in taking off like this we were being irresponsible or reckless or self-centred.
In the end, we agreed if we passed up on this opportunity we’d regret it. So we said yes and we began to prepare; buying thermals, downloading travel apps and language apps and researching how ski-resorts work. Yet amongst this excitement, there was a low background hum of disquiet because whatever you say yes to, there are inevitably things you will have to say no to. There are things you have give up in order to make space for the things you really want.
For Switzerland, for me, the thing I was giving up was job security. Whilst I had a bit of freelance work I could take out with me, I knew my workload wouldn’t be what it would be had we stayed in the UK. To make matters trickier I had set myself a goal of “sorting out” my work situation in 2019. I have a long and complicated work-history that requires a blog post of its own to explain. But this year I had wanted to make it feel more secure, established and intentional. And suspending those plans unfurled
On a side note, I did look into getting work out there but found since we were staying during their off-season jobs were few and far between. Plus my options were further limited as I didn’t speak the local language of Swiss-German (a seemingly casual mix of German, French and Italian). Our weeks prior to flying, spent avidly learning regular German (or as they call it High German) were quickly rendered futile.
Still I’m pleased to say we were happy in Interlaken. Stupidly, bashfully, drunk-on-our-luck happy. Matt would cycle to the lake each day and I would work and write from home. Once or twice a week I’d cycle to a small supermarket nearby and on Matt’s days off we’d go skiing, visit other cities or go kayaking on the lake. It was a peaceful, simple life. And it felt at times like someone had cut us a home in another reality and for a short while we had this time and space, to live separate lives, in a quiet snowy village.