Banff is a tourist town. It is not just the customers in the stores, hostels and hotels, but those that look after them when they come. The majority of staff in Banff and its surrounding areas are tourists also, with jobs to allow them have an extended holiday in the middle of the mountains. Since being in my job for 9 weeks now in a store of 8 to 10 people, 6 people have left, most moving into their winter season jobs or back to university. Between now and Christmas, another few are leaving. Last night, we dropped into the leaving party of one of our darling colleagues as he moves on to pastures new. It feels like Banff is the ultimate transition town.
The downside to this is of course the oft endured goodbyes as friends head of. The upside is one meets new people quite often. Bounding into the store and staff accommodation with fresh energy and a new perspective come the newbies. It is surprising how quickly the newbies become the oldies. With the coming and going, you listen to how each is working on a dream, a plan, and here it is usually different from the norm. Why else would they give up their “normal” lives to come here?
For some, it is time out. It could be between school and university to figure out what to study rather than throwing themselves into a course they don’t like, and the resulting fees, or saving to get into law school. Then there are the people who are seeing the world, taking the time out of their lives to do something different. They are in Banff because of the availability of casual jobs or the snow season or the peacefulness of the place. They may travel further or travel home and while their overall plan of life may not change, their perspective on it and knowledge of themselves probably will. From these people, I have learned how to look at life from a different perspective. They are stepping off the path for a little time, so that they can be certain of the path, and the way they want to walk it. As they reflect, they share their wisdom generously.
For others right now, Banff is about skiing and snow-boarding. These are either coming back from all over the world now just as the slopes opened or settled here for the summer waiting for the snow. They itch at the collar, waiting to get back out there. Some of these will work evening shifts every day and get on the slopes first thing every morning. Others work as instructors and the like so as to build their entire day on the slopes. Snow is their passion. Watching them is inspiring. To build their lives around that which they love teaches me the importance of following your heart. It reinforces in me the notion that if you do what you love every day, you will be smiling.
Some people come into our lives and make themselves comfortable for a long time. Others walk in, blast you with their energy and go. As I say goodbye to another new friend, I realise I have learned from him a fun approach to life, work and happiness. He has showered us in laughter and love and as he heads onto his new adventure, I wonder where his footprints will wander next. I hope he walks more confidently in them from his time in Banff.