All text and photography © Tess McLennan

This photo is from December 2015, and was taken less than an hour after I arrived in Whistler, Canada. It took two long flights from Australia, one of which I boarded with minutes to spare, and a lengthy bus trip to get up into the heart of the mountains. The travel time was long, indeed. Having travelled extensively before, I know the drill. The airports, lines, bus transfers… painful, but necessary.

But to be greeted with a sight like this, something so magical, it made every minute I spent in transit so worth it. Whistler had welcomed me with open arms. I can still remember pulling on my snow boots, and hearing the first crunch of white powder beneath my feet, the feel of falling snow on my face, and the chill on my cheeks as we walked down the slippery hill to have dinner in Whistler Village. The town was buzzing with energy that night, and I knew that the next day being Sunday, the place would soon be packed with keen skiers and snowboarders, a collective I was excited to be a part of.

When I look at this photo, I think it is symbolic of the great changes I made to my life in 2015. I ended a long-term relationship, began a new job as a teacher, found love again, published a novel, and most of all, began to know myself again, after many years of being lost. For me, new snow holds the promise of new beginnings, and I remember thinking as I walked down that hill to the village, that I started the year as one person, and ended as a newer, better version of myself. Like my trip to Whistler, which involved many hours of travelling, transfers and waiting, my 2015 took many similar twists and turns. But finally, standing in that falling snow, I had arrived at my destination. And it was glorious.

But the one thing I remember most from this moment was the feeling of pure joy. I was with my family (who live all around the world), we had six weeks of travelling planned together, and Christmas was just around the corner… I can’t remember ever being happier in my life. And there is no feeling that can top that.

Submitted as an entry to become a Cathay Correspondent. Fingers crossed for a good outcome! 🙂


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