Transformed by the Mountains
By Laura Cuddie
TRANSFORMATIONAL TRAVEL had a big impact on me before I had any idea that TT was a thing. After growing up in a big city (Toronto), and attending university with the goal of becoming a lawyer, my life took an unexpected turn. I decided to spend a season in Park City, Utah to ski, “find myself” and figure out what to do next, assuming next would be law school or business school followed by a successful career, and a conventional life in Toronto. Instead, I immediately fell in love with the mountains, the lifestyle (including a really cute ski bum) and fell into a career in hospitality and property management.
My unexpected career path has blessed me with the opportunity to live, work and play in some of the most beautiful resort communities in North America including Park City, Whistler, Sun Valley and Jackson Hole. I have been fortunate to live a very full life in these incredible places, with a beautiful husband and daughter, incredible friends and a mountain lifestyle that many would envy. However, every so often, I have a brief crisis of conscious and wonder what my life would have been like if I had become a lawyer and was doing important work, fighting for justice and making the world a better place, instead of taking care of other people’s very expensive properties and planning their luxury vacations.
A few years ago, I was living in Jackson Hole at the time, during one of these self-imposed crises, I had what I know believe was a profound realization. Jackson Hole had become home, it’s the place where I married my husband, adopted my first dog, bought my first house, gave birth to my daughter and became truly invested in the community. No matter where I traveled, every time I returned to Jackson, I would feel a sense of calm and peace as soon as I saw the Tetons. It literally transformed me every time. I took that feeling and applied it to my work, recognizing that if I could help bring people to Jackson, or make their lives less complicated while they were here, that they would also experience the power of this place. Maybe they would reconnect with themselves and their loved ones, develop a connection to the environment, challenge themselves in a new activity, disconnect from the hectic pace of life and even become a better version of themselves. The ultimate would be if they also were transformed and inspired to go back to their regular life and make a difference.
More recently, my family had the opportunity to leave Jackson and move to Toronto for an incredible career opportunity. We were somewhat reluctant to leave Jackson, but embraced the opportunity with open arms, and for three years we took advantage of living in a diverse, culturally rich, urban environment. But as each year passed, we felt the tug of the Tetons getting stronger and we knew we would move back some day. At the time, a brilliant film, America Wild, was produced to celebrate one hundred years of National Parks in America. During our second or third screening, both my husband and I were overcome with emotion. Spending time as a family in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks is one of the greatest gifts of being in Jackson Hole. We realized, we are 3 of the people who are fortunate enough to have a home in Jackson Hole, why aren’t we there? Shortly thereafter we moved home to Jackson.
In my current role as Director of Marketing at The Clear Creek Group, I have returned to my roots in luxury property management and hospitality, managing a portfolio of exceptional villas, cabins and homes. My team is passionate about living in Jackson and sharing it with our clients, we create bespoke itineraries for each guest, whether they are adrenaline junkies looking for extreme adventure, multi-generational families wanting to experience the national parks, or a group of friends celebrating a milestone event. Staying in a spacious home while traveling enables guests to gather, relax and celebrate together in a shared space, creating meaningful connections with each other. I am excited to join the TTC movement. I was an early-adopter without even knowing it!