Four years ago, my job quite me, and I had just sold my flat and for the first time had a substantial amount of money in my bank account. I really wasn't happy in the career I had chosen and I had wanted for a while to go traveling. This was a great opportunity to go. My trip had to include surfing as its something that I have loved doing for the last 15 years and i wanted to go places that I would probably not visit on a two week holiday.
So about a week before I was going to book everything up, I was in the pub with an old friend and his new girlfriend. She had done a few winter seasons and she was still working in the travel industry. She asked me 'Why don't you go and do a winter season snowboarding before you go off travelling?' This idea hit me like a spark and grew in my mind instantly. A week later I had somehow landed a job in with the condition that I fly out two days later on the 19th Dec 2008. In a bit of a whirl wind of excitement I excepted.
I had an awesome time in winter 08/09. Europe was boasting the best snow conditions in decades. The snow just kept falling. It was incredible. Being my first season I thought it was normal to have this much snow, but four years later I can tell you the other years haven't come close.
I flew home late April with the remaining staff. It was at Geneva airport that the fun of checking in started and the idea for Stuffa first came to me. Everyone was having to pay the excess bagage fees and all the seasonaires started unpacking all their bags throwing old clothes in bins, stuffing clothes into their pockets, moving as much stuff into their hand luggage and putting on extra layers. It was funny to watch but also frustrating that the airlines where charging so much for something that really is unfair. Nobody weighs the passengers. I mean, I am 6ft tall and weigh almost 100kgs. There was a girl who I had worked with all winter, almost half my weight being asked to pay an extra £120 because she was 6kg's over!!! I thought that there must be a way of avoiding this. Everyone hates paying the fee's. I have had loads of trouble in the past with flying with surfboards which I have hated. I will avoid flying with BA because they wont take surfboards on flights anymore.
So that was it, I started to think about ways you could avoid paying excess bagage fees, and the girl who had the instinctive, instant solution of stuffing her pockets with clothes, was the one I found most interesting.
Anyway after a month back in the UK i headed off for a 6 month trip. It was awesome. Five days in Thailand, three weeks in Oz seeing an old uni friend, China for two months, Mongolia for a month, Vietnam for a month, Cambodia for a short while and back to the UK. Some mind blowing places. Mongolia was the most inspiring landscape i have ever seen. Rolling hills with thousands of miles of land without fences. It felt so open.
I few back to the UK just in time to start my 2nd winter season. One and a half years of little responsibility. It was beautiful!
Well four years on and, and after loads of thinking, designing and setting it all up. I am now launching the Stuffa Jacket. I love talking about it because its something that I am going to be wearing when I'm off surfing and snowboarding at weekends. It was born from taking a step out of my working life and seeing what was out there. The Journey so far has been a ride. I love it.
Oh I only went surfing twice while traveling. I just somehow found other things to do.
Hope you enjoy the little film I put together.