OPINION: I seem to get asked all the time about why I moved to Hervey Bay from Sydney.
For me, the answer is always simple - I grew up here, so it's always felt like home no matter how many years I was away.
I lived in Sydney for more than 12 years, but after two years of being back in the Bay, I feel like there is no other place that I want to be. Our kids love it here, the community spirit is wonderful and most of all, it's all about the lifestyle, baby!
If you had asked me two years ago if I would ever move back to Hervey Bay, I would have laughed and told you "you're dreaming".
My darling husband always loved coming to visit my family up here, so when he made the suggestion to have a sea-change, I was really hesitant.
I loved Sydney, but as he pointed out to me at the time, what was the point of working so hard to live in a nice suburb within Sydney but never actually get to enjoy the place because you can't afford anything?
For him to even make the suggestion for a more relaxed lifestyle was out of the ordinary after he had spent 14 years living in New York City before we met in Sydney, so he was the last person I thought would want to live the quiet life.
I held my breath and just went with it, and within a matter of weeks we packed up and rolled out of town.
When we first arrived here, it was reminiscent of the Beverly Hillbillies.
There was me, heavily pregnant, our son, two cats, and a stack of our belongings all crammed into our little car, but we have never looked back.
I was initially warned about the "Hervey Bay hook" that gets you once you've settled in, and I remember even scoffing at the idea.
This was never meant to be anything permanent. It was only going to be for a couple of years to have a breather from the big smoke.
But after being back in Sydney last week for a whirlwind five-day work trip, I can say with absolute certainty that there is nothing better than coming home to our little piece of paradise.
The sea-change has been a change for the better for my family and we feel nothing but blessed to live in such a beautiful town. Hervey Bay, you sure did get your hooks into me - and I love it!
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