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Three Months at the Ranch Turned out to be More than Just an Internship

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Marilen sitting outside with Sophie the dog

Time never flew so fast as in the last 3 months at Chilcotin Holidays. I finished my studies at the end of September and flew directly to Canada to start my internship at Chilcotin Holidays.  My goal for the last 3 years was to spend time at the ranch, I didn’t want to waste my time at home when I could have the opportunity to challenge myself in a new environment. My reasons for coming were always to spend time in nature, surround myself in a new environment that is different than home and full of new people from all over the world and to challenge myself. Now after 3 months, I can truly say that these reasons and goals exceeded my expectations and I didn’t regret choosing this adventure as part of my gap year at any point.

I was looking forward to spending time here so desperately. Before I came, I felt tired and purposeless and although challenges always scared me a bit, I was definitely ready for a change. So, I tried to leave my unproductive habit of choosing the easy way at home. Another issue I struggled with was that I wasn’t the world ’s biggest optimist, and I talked myself down for no reason. The people that know me probably wouldn’t say I am a pessimistic person, because I treated others in an optimistic way, but not myself. My motivation was a bit lost, I guess that’s why I was so ready for a change and challenge.

Usually I plan my life as far ahead as I can and I have goals in mind, but my daily life didn’t fulfill me enough to be truly happy.

Being an organized person has the drawback of not being too flexible and adaptable, so I quickly learned to work on myself during my first weeks at the ranch where everyone is used to quick changes. The hardest struggle for me was to push myself, taking initiative for the opportunities here and to believe in myself that I can do them, but now I can proudly say that I worked on myself and it doesn’t scare me anymore.

Living and working in a community with like-minded people that you must get to know first can be challenging and the best thing at the same time. I naturally avoid conflicts all the time, so I am still working on myself to speak up when I disagree or have to confront other people, but on the other hand being surrounded by so many like-minded positive and supportive people pushes you forward and is a huge motivation.

Besides these struggles, I always kept my goals in mind to connect with nature, test my limits, evolve, learn more about myself and experience things I wouldn’t do at home. After these weeks full of hard work, adventures and many first-time experiences, my mindset is more positive and focused. Quotes that helped me to evolve at the ranch were “Opportunities come with responsibility taken” and “You get out of life what you put into it”.

When I look back at my time here, my main areas in the office were Social Media Marketing, Employment, Sales and the website launch of trails-to-empowerment. I discovered that I have a calm voice to record some of our podcasts which was a lot of fun.

When I needed time out of the office, I enjoyed tasks outside such as chopping wood, using the chainsaw, taking care of the animals or joining logging. Who would have thought I would fall a tree on my own or cook Thanksgiving dinner for 20 people?

Being surrounded by breathtaking nature helps me to be aware of the environment, stay true to myself and leave unnecessary issues at home that I worried too much about. Spending 3 months far from home and civilization had a massive impact on me, because I could focus on myself without distraction.

It might be easy to fall back into old habits when I am back home, but I know that I will find my purpose in life for the long-term, even if it takes more time to figure it out. Experiences that the ranch offers are eye-opening and sometimes I still can’t believe what I did there. Reflecting on my experiences and talking about it with everyone at the ranch makes it easier for sure to make the best out of your time. Although days can be long and busy, you never know which surprise or opportunity arises and that’s what makes the environment so special. I still can’t believe everything I did here: hiking and riding in the most beautiful nature, educating myself through workshops, spending time with horses without any prior experience, cooking and baking for a lot of people and much more.

All those tasks taught me valuable lessons, for example to stay calm in stressful situations, believe in myself, teamwork is dreamwork and that it is up to you how you respond to failures or struggles. 

I am very grateful for everything I could experience during my time here and am excited to see what the future holds for me. Travelling and challenging myself to get out of my comfort zone is the most valuable thing I experienced so far and I am ready for my next adventure, although I hope to come back to the ranch at some point. I can truly recommend Chilcotin Holidays for a transformational experience, whether as a vacation or internship – are you ready for it?

Marilen, 22, Germany.