My short but very sweet ride with Cariboo Observer has come to an end. I may have only spent the last eight months living and working in Quesnel but that was more than enough time for the community to leave a strong, positive and lasting impression on me. I hope, in my short time here, that I was able to do the same for the community.
I will never forget the day I received a phone call from Observer publisher Tracey Roberts and editor Lindsay Chung, offering me the opportunity to join the team in Quesnel. I was photographing a provincial rugby tournament in a rural Ontario town when I got the call and had to wander around the pitch to get cell service.
If I am being completely honest, I had no clue where in British Columbia Quesnel was when I applied for the job but upon seeing its northern location I became very excited to get out and explore all that the area had to offer. The beauty of the Cariboo region cannot be denied and has certainly surpassed any expectations I had of what it might be before moving here.
One thing I can’t state strongly enough is how kind and welcoming the Quesnel community has been. In my short time here I have met so many amazing people who have shared their stories with me and created memories that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
Certainly if the year 2020 has taught me anything it’s to roll with the punches and unfortunately for me that means leaving Quesnel much sooner than I ever expected. As the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic keeps us socially distant from each other and continues to put our lives in what feels like a never ending limbo, I think many of us and, this is certainly true for me, have focused on our families. The only family I have are my parents, both in their late 70s, one living near Ottawa and the other in Montreal. As the first wave of the pandemic seems to be receding and with the threat of a second not far behind I have decided to head back towards my family so that I can help them in any way possible as we all get through this difficult time together.
While my work at the Observer has come to an end I will keep photographing and documenting the stories of community members from wherever I may be and my work will be stronger for the experiences I have had here.
Thank you for all the memories Quesnel, I hope to see you again soon.